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UNDER THE SOMBRERO: San Antonio FC Hosts New Mexico United First Time Since 2020 Quarterfinals

The lights of national TV will be on Wednesday as visiting New Mexico United takes on San Antonio FC

By Sombrero Man | Photo: Dos Photo

    After nine much-needed days off New Mexico United is back in action against San Antonio FC. United is coming off a 2-1 victory of the Charleston Battery on July 12th. Despite the long break head coach Troy Lesesne said, “ We’re ready to go,”. With the nine days off United still sits at third in the table with 20 points just 4 behind El Paso and RGV for first in the mountain. 

    United won the last matchup against San Antonio FC 2-0 at The Lab. “They [San Antonio FC] have more of an expansive attack now and I think it makes them more dangerous,” said Troy Lesesne this week. San Antonio currently sits at 6th in the Mountain but is only 5 points behind United. San Antonio got their first road win of 2021 on Saturday defeating Colorado Springs 3-2. “It was a very important win for us, as well as to score three goals against a very good and organized team who has some of the best attackers,” San Antonio head coach Alan Marcina said. “Scoring three goals is good against a strong opponent, but we also created a number of opportunities on which we have to be more clinical.” With more of San Antonio’s team coming back from injury and the addition of former DC United midfielder Mohammed Abu. 

    Players to watch for San Antonio FC will be Matthew Cardone, PC, and Emil Cuello. Goalkeeper Matthew Cardone had 8 saves in his last match which is the second-most he has ever had in his career. (He had 9 in 2016 against Sporting KC II). Cardone has seemed to have some problems with United however has only allowed one goal at Toyota field against United. (Chris Wehan’s go-ahead goal in the 2020 USL Playoffs). PC is back from injury and scored his first goal against Colorado Springs on a 24th minute penalty kick. PC is one of the USL’s best scorers but is always under the radar. Lastly, Emil Cuello leads the team with three assists. The table setter can send a ball into the box for a header at any time.

    Players to watch for United will be Kalen Ryden, Sergio Rivas, and Chelo Martinez. United is still down four men with Brian Brown and Harry Swartz still battling lower-body injuries, Sam Hamiton out for the season, and  Amando Moreno who is still on International duty with El Salvador. Ryden, who earned USL player of the week, is riding high after a great rebound game. The big man in the back is ready to win aerial battles. Sergio Rivas leads United with three goals this season. With Brown and Moreno still out Sergio will get more chances at goal. Finally, Chelo Martinez has come up big for United in crunch time. Two corner kicks that led to two late goals against Colorado Springs earned Chelo team of the week honors. Just like Cuello, Chelo can send a ball into the box for a goal. 

Sombrero’s spin: United is well rested but San Antonio is riding the momentum wave. United will win 1-0 in a dog fight. Three points before heading home to play El Paso on Saturday in Albuquerque.

Side note: Just a reminder tonight’s match will not be on ESPN+ but national TV on ESPN 2.

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