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Why the Fall to Republic FC Will Lead to a Rising Tide for United

Match 15, Post-Match Edition: Sacramento Republic FC route New Mexico United 3-0 at The Lab. United no longer unbeaten at home.

By Chris Walker | June 10, 2019  | seekandstrikecollective@gmail.com

(Albuquerque, New Mexico) – Technical Director and Head Coach, Troy Lesesne, does not feel that the change to Saturday’s personnel is the reason for the 3-0 loss outcome of New Mexico United’s match against Sacramento and I agree fully with his statement. I was jaded at first because it’s natural to believe that the lineup was off and that the referees were the reason. It’s possible these things are contributing factors, not solely the reason. The loss at home is an outcome that I saw coming for a while and that’s something Lesesne has never warded off as a possibility. United have held the lead in five matches this season, 3 of which were at home in The Lab. Lesesne has never celebrated a draw but, rather has expressed disappointment in the team’s showing during those outcomes.

A very fresh United team went into both Orange County and Phoenix and played two championship caliber teams to the final moments. In both matches, this new expansion side put up goals and allowed just as many and let the lead slip away. Later into the season, Portland Timbers 2 came to The Lab and United put up 2 goals on them. The momentum shifted, and Timbers 2 was up 3-2 with United scrambling to put together a run in the final minutes. Kevaughn Frater put the goal in the net, captures a Hat Trick, and United’s campaign run for head of the Table began.

Perhaps we were a little naïve. Let me explain. As spectators, we saw a team that could put up 1 to 2 goals a night, clutch. We saw the shot count go from 9 shots a game to 21. United boast a high conversion rate and that fact remains. We saw Moar and Frater go on scoring runs and even accomplish Hat Tricks. We saw goalkeeper Cody Mizell raise to the top of the statistical charts. All these things have led to the clubs’ success. United is an expansion team, heavily loaded at best. Our expectation of this club is that they win every game, by posting up high numbers, and complement our egos as fans so that the rest of the word could never say anything negative about New Mexico. All these things have led to the clubs’ not so successful run these past two games.

Sacramento has achieved 5 clean sheets this year. Yet, as we browse their schedule, we see a team that has scored 1 goal in each of these victories and felt our odds were better than this team. Sacramento protected a lead from clubs that are more than capable of scoring. These clean sheets were against Colorado Springs, Austin Bold, Phoenix Rising, Fresno Foxes, and now, New Mexico United. Lesesne mentioned in the press conference after the OKC match that United must get into winning matches 1-0. At first, this seems as a non-productive attack for those of us who like numerous amounts of goals being scored a game. After all, it’s a secure lead. Though, for a team that has several weapons to aim to score 1 to 2 goals a match and keep their defensive shape long enough to stave off any late runs by the opponent, this is what United must build up towards.

This is the preparation that Lesesne must bring to training each week. Perhaps he has. This is what spectators must witness: United playing to a high standard so that they are never held to the mercy of their opponent. United was not prepared for this matchup with Republic FC. They will learn from this one just as they have from each match prior.

Several times this season, players have mentioned that they draw energy from the fans that come to matches. This became evident as the team started winning on the road. In 3 matches, the roaring crowds were not enough to prevent the team from leaving points on the table. I asked Lesesne at the press conference why the team was not able to thrive upon 14,000 fans being present. My question surrounded if the team missed that energy flow due to the physical altercations with Republic FC or if it was attributed to another factor playing up as a theme throughout the night.

“It’s a good question, I think there was a lot of frustration tonight. I think the fans were frustrated with our performance. They’re frustrated with maybe the lack of rhythm in the game, some of the decisions that happened, and they should be. Because we didn’t do enough to maybe provide, and I always say this, it’s up to us to reciprocate their (the fans) energy. It can’t be all one way all the time. So, when we start creating chances, and Kenny is banging one off of the post, and Santi’s cutting inside, everyone starts to feel alive. So, then the goal goes in potentially and the energy really starts to go through the roof and that’s us doing our job,” Lesesne said. “We didn’t do our job tonight and I think that’s what you saw to have that reciprocal energy happening. Whenever you come to Isotopes park, that’s what you feel. It’s not just the fans doing their job and us sitting back and enjoy seeing all the lights and everything like that. We’re trying to score goals and get wins. Tonight, we didn’t do that, and I don’t know why that was the case, but we got a look at that and make sure that doesn’t happen again,” Lesesne concluded.

Lesesne doesn’t think it’s going to take much for the team to rebound from the loss at home. It might be the extra push the team needs as they face the Colorado Rapids in the Round 4 of the Lamar Hunt Open Cup on Wednesday in Denver at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. This loss drops New Mexico United to 6-2-7 and raises Sacramento Republic FC to 6-5-2. United sit atop the Western Conference with a 2-point lead over Phoenix, Portland, and El Paso.

Photo Credit: Adam Nish/Seek & Strike Collective

Chris Walker is a writer for Seek & Strike Collective covering NM United, Albuquerque Sol FC, and Albuquerque FC. Follow him on Twitter and join in on the conversation. @_ChrisWalker505

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