On the road again! New Mexico United travels up I-25 to take on Mountain Division foe Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
By Sombrero Man | Credit: DosPhoto
After what seemed like an eternity, New Mexico United is back on the pitch at Weidner Field on Friday night. The last time these squads met, United played spoiler for the stadium opener with a 3-1 victory. The two clubs have gone in different directions since the last meeting, with Colorado Springs going undefeated in four straight matches (2-2-0) picking up eight points while United has gone 2-1-1 picking up seven points.
In the Switchbacks’ last match against Austin Bold, Colorado Springs fought back from down 2-1 to win 3-2. A win that put them in fourth place in the Mountain division, right behind New Mexico United. The Switchbacks went down 2-1 after 30 minutes and went down a man with a 27th-minute red card to Lamar Batista. At the half, the score remained 2-1, but in the 56th minute, Hadji Barry struck again, making the score 2-2. In the 90th minute, as the extra time banner came up, Dantouma Toure found the back of the net to put the Switchbacks up 3-2 for good.
United fared well in their last match as they finally found the back of the net not just once but twice, in a 2-0 shutout win over San Antonio FC at The Lab. Goals by El Captain Josh Suggs and goal of the week winner Austin Yearwood sent the black and yellow faithful home happy. Alex Tambakis got his third consecutive shutout last Wednesday, solidifying him in the gold glove race early.
Players to watch for Colorado Springs Switchback are Barry, Sean Melvin, and Darren Yapi. First up is Barry. Though it’s early in the season, Barry has put the USL Championship on notice. Barry leads the league with eight goals and has been the Switchbacks, main guy. Melvin is still one of the USL’s best goalkeepers and has not forgotten United’s 3-1 win in their last meeting. Finally Yapi. The 16-year-old is extremely impressive. In March of 2021, he signed a first-team contract with the MLS’ Colorado Rapids, making him the youngest player ever to be signed to the Rapids organization. If given space, he will make the United defenders pay with his quick feet.
Players to watch for United are Brian Brown, Tambakis, and Yearwood. Brown has shown flashes of grace this year, scoring his first goal with the club in United’s home opener. Brown has a strong boot and can strike from afar. Tambakis, feeling confident in his abilities, has shown he is a force to be reckoned with. Tambakis has pitched a shutout in three consecutive games and has not allowed a goal since the 40th minute of the Louden United game. Lastly, Yearwood who is fresh off a goal of the week win with his incredible strike that sent the Curse into a frenzy. Yearwood has proven he is one of the league’s best defenders and isn’t afraid to take on anyone.
Sombrero’s Spin: With the week off, expect United to come out a little slow. No need to panic, they will still win this one 2-0 with both goals by Brown and Tambakis keeping his shutout streak going.