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Match Day Preview: New Mexico United Sharpens Axe for Upcoming Timber Sale, Hosts Portland T2

Portland Timbers 2 v New Mexico United

By Seth Biddulph | April 25, 2019 | seekandstrikecollective@gmail.com

No longer undefeated, New Mexico United (3-1-4) are back at Isotopes Park to take on Portland Timbers 2 (4-1-2). The two clubs sit atop the Western Conference standings as they face off for the first time. 

This will be United’s toughest test to date, as they look to get back into the win column. The most important question will be, how does the club respond after their first loss? With a record of 2-0-1 at Isotopes Park, a match at home may be exactly what the club needs. 

In their loss to Reno 1868 FC, United struggled to maintain early momentum against a dangerous club. Reno were able to force United out of their game plan with very quick responses to United’s movements. As a team that prioritizes movement and creating space, United were stifled throughout the match. In a match that featured what was, quite possibly, the strongest lineup of the season, a much better result was expected.

New Mexico will need to be at the top of their game this week. They will need to move the ball from side to side, in order to open up lanes for Santi Moar and Devon Sandoval to take advantage of the Portland defense. United will also need to return to the high press that they’ve shown early in the season. Their ability to put pressure on their opponents and force errors allows the United attack to open up and play with more fluidity. 

Players to watch:

Santi Moar – After being held goalless against Reno, United will need to get back to what was working. The Josh Suggs to Moar connection is one of the biggest pieces of the United attack. 

Rashid Tetteh – Tetteh has been solid defensively for United this season. With nine interceptions, his vision of the field allows him to make plays. 

New Mexico United Team Leaders:

Goals – Santi Moar (7)

Assists – Chris Wehan, Josh Suggs, Manny Padilla (2)

Chances Created – Josh Suggs (14)

Portland’s form in their last three matches has been misleading. Although they are 2-0-1 in that span, they haven’t been without their struggles. In two of those matches, Portland had to come from behind. In the third, Portland only scored off of a penalty kick. Despite a two-man advantage on the field, they were only able to put one shot on target against Sacramento. 

Portland have similar stat lines to United so far this season. With 15 goals scored and 10 conceded, they are near the top of the league in both areas. Both clubs have budding stars on their rosters and this will be a match to watch. Each club has had defensive struggles at times and it may come down to who can make that last stop or put in a late winner. 

Players to Watch:

Foster Langsdorf – Having notched two goals in their past three matches, Foster is a certified scoring threat. With reliable service, Foster will need to be a focal point for the United defense.

Eryk Williamson – Speaking of reliable service, Williamson has been the top creator for Portland. He’s managed 17 chances on the short season and will be looking to hook up with Langsdorf in the final third. 

Portland Timbers 2 Team Leaders:

Goals: Foster Langsdorf (3)

Assists: Eryk Williamson (5)

Chances Created: Eryk Williamson (17)

The match will be streamed live on ESPN+ beginning at 7:30 p.m. (Mountain) on Friday, April 26. International viewers will be able to watch the match live on YouTube. ESPN+ is viewable online via the ESPN app or across a variety of mobile and connected living room devices, including Amazon’s Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and more

Photo Credit: Josh Lane/NM United

Seth Biddulph is a beat writer for Seek & Strike Collective covering the beat on New Mexico United. Follow him on Twitter and join in on the conversation@SethBiddulph

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