United takes on the Colorado Springs Switchbacks Friday night in Albuquerque
By Sombrero Man | Photo: DosPhoto
After a devastating road trip, New Mexico United is back home Friday night against Switchbacks FC. New Mexico United played Colorado Springs on June 25th at Widener Field. Switchbacks fell 1-0 to United early just to come back and take all three points away from New Mexico. A trend that unfortunately continued the entire road trip. In a press conference, United Defender Sam Hamilton stated, “I think the tough part of those three games was to be winning than walk away with a loss.”
The focus for United this week is to finish off those matches in which they have a lead. United head coach Troy Lesesne put it simply this week, “We have to play a complete match”. United forward Brian Brown stated, “Like Troy said we have to play ninety minutes. Not 45 or 30 we have to play 90 minutes.” United in all three road matches seemed to falter in the second 45 minutes every time losing 3-1 to Switchbacks, 3-2 to Real Monarchs, and probably most painfully 2-1 to El Paso, a game in which they allowed the equalizer and the go-ahead goal find the back of the net in just 90 seconds.
So what’s the mindset in the locker room? According to Brown it’s one of focus and wanting to get the job done in front of the hometown fans. “We are up for it now being back home with the fans and everything we look forward to it,” said Brown. The black and yellow faithful of United nation have waited three weeks for a home match back at The Lab. “Any time we are home there’s always an edge..to have the focus of our fans behind us there’s always a little more comfort.” Hamilton stated. With all capacity restrictions lifted in New Mexico as of July 1st, The Lab will be rocking once again.
Players to watch for Colorado Springs Switchbacks are Michee Ngalina, Deshane Beckford, and Hadji Berry my early choice for MVP. Berry now leads the USL with 11 goals in 10 games. He is extremely dangerous if given an inch of space. Ngalina is another part of the three-headed monster of the Switchbacks front line along with Beckord. “We have to see how we control Berry, Beckford, and Ngalina. They have a talented team in general beyond those three so it’s gonna be a tough match-up. Third time around we have to figure out what the right look is and to secure three points against them.” Troy Lesesne stated. Sam Hamiton also weighed in on the three, “All three of their front runners are dangerous. The quality of their front three we have to respect that as a backline. To talk to each other and communicate. It’s good to be respectful of their strengths and what they are gonna try and do. There were a couple of things we learned from them from the last game that we are gonna try and add in this game. If we finish that game out like we started they don’t get a sniff of our goal,” Hamilton said.
Players to watch for United will be the backline of Hamilton, Ryden, and Yearwood. All of the backline this week will have their hands full with the Switchbacks attack. Expect more physical play from Ryden than usual as well as with Hamilton and Yearwood. “I think there were two things we took away. One is that we’re one hundred percent capable of winning those games and that being said you’ve got to win them. That’s where we are at the groups, confident, hungry, and ready to get three points on Friday,” Hamilton said. The defense is ready to lock down this week.
Sombrero’s Spin: This match will have many chances but will end in a 1-1 draw with the UNited defense staying strong as well as Switchbacks’ goalkeeper Sean Melvin. United gets the point and prepares for Charleston Battery on Monday Night Futbol.
Side note for this week. Saturday is the ESPYs and United’s own David Estrada is up for an ESPY. When asked this week about that honor Lesesne said, “David Estrada was one of my first calls when I joined New Mexico United not only because he’s an incredible player but more importantly than that he’s an ambassador for the game. When I think of New Mexico United I think of our ethos I think about David Estrada. For him to be nominated for an award like this I’m happy his work is being brought to the forefront like this.”
Good luck to David Estrada and the other two New Mexicans up for ESPYs this year.