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UNDER THE SOMBRERO: New Mexico United Focused On Starting Matches Faster

New Mexico United heads back on the road to Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah to battle Real Monarchs SLC.

By Chris Walker

The Monarchs, winless at 0-2-2, were off last week due to their match with Hartford Athletic being postponed due a coveted person of their organization testing positive for Covid-19, as part of weekly testing.

United has the advantage over Real Monarchs with an all-time record of 5-1-0 in 6 matches played, including a 4-1-0 record at Zions Bank.

United will be looking to improve on last week’s performance namely in the first half. They have to hope that their woes with red cards have tapered off because the only thing holding them back from an ideal complete 90 is on-the-pitch discipline. Lesesne spoke to media this week about improvements that he and his team have identified.

“Should we just start the game down a man and then add a player? I’ve never heard of that maybe that’s something we should do,” Lesesne jokes.

“Look I think the consensus from the group which again I love from our group is we have to do our jobs with a more focused, controlled intensity, as well as, start matches faster. We can all agree in the first five matches, I think we’ve only started one match the way we wanted to and that really was El Paso. We started on the front foot. The rest of the games, yes Austin we scored the first goal, but we didn’t you know in the first 15-20 minutes we kind of were settling into the game. So, we have to start faster and everybody has to focus in on what their individual responsibility is in relationship to the collective effort and really focus on again with that kind of controlled intensity that we want to see and I think we’re doing that cause we see that once we are faced with a little bit of adversity, then we rise to the occasion. So let’s not have to have adversity strike us before we start the match,” Lesesne finishes.

Lesesne feels that he’s closer to knowing the on-pitch product a lot sooner this season than previous seasons. He spoke about this to Seek & Strike Collective a few weeks ago in Colorado Springs.

“You know it’s 6-7 (games) where we know where we’re going. It’s because of the continuity we have been able to keep and then the additions we’ve made. They fit in seemingly, (which) accelerates the process,” Lesesne said.

United, 2-2-1 through five matches sitting in 4th with 7 points, will be led by Assistant Coach Zack Prince. Prince coached two games last season. His first was a loss at Colorado Springs and his second was a victory against Real Monarchs. Lesesne did travel with the team.

The Monarchs are a young team with the average age being 21 years of age. Their roster is comprised of Real Salt Lake (RSL) players, Monarchs, as well as, international players loaned to them for the season.

A Monarchs insider has reported to Seek & Strike Collective that the side has been able to train as a full team recently and integrate guys who haven’t had a ton of time with the group. The Monarchs are lacking a real number 10. Because of that, the team has not been able to be super effective in their attack up to this point.

Players to watch: Ibrahim Bance and Bode Davis are both players emerging for Monarchs.

Some Monarchs players yet to make debuts are Timi Sobowale and Brayan Gomez.

Sobowale has dual citizenship with Nigeria but competes with the Republic of Ireland. Sobowale first broke into the youth system at age 16 when he debuted for the Republic of Ireland U-17s in 2018, the same year he signed with Manchester City. Since then he has worked his way into both the U-18 and the U-19 squads. Most recently Sobowale represented Ireland in the qualifiers for the UEFA European U-19 Championship.

Gomez was part of Colombia’s 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup squad, appearing in all three group stage matches. In the 2017 U-17 South American Championships, he logged two assists in five appearances to help Colombia to a fourth-place finish.

Lesesne has said repeatedly this season that he is not motivated by a team’s results on the pitch due to the respect he has for his opponents. He realizes anyone can show up if his side is absent.

“We’re so early in the season so you know a team can get a win. You know we’ve gotten results so far versus Austin Colorado Springs and you have to really dissect our game in both of those because the circumstances were quite different. Personnel was a little bit different and so yeah I do feel that way with the Real Monarchs. They’ve had some different personnel in. They’re only four matches into the season cause they had one of their matches postponed. So I think everyone is still trying to gauge exactly where they are right now. Um, so you know they have the ability to pull guys down from Real Salt Lake and that’s something that we’ve talked about and are prepared for. But ultimately you know again, as much as, we’re trying to understand what the opponent is trying to do we still are trying to make sure that we’re in the right place with what we want to do in the game. As I said the last few weeks and that’s going to continue to be the case this week versus Real Monarchs, ” Lesesne said.

Kickoff is slated for 8:00 pm MT.

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