New Mexico United enter a must-win match with Rio Grande Valley FC in order to keep the playoff hunt alive
By Chris Walker | Photo: Alvarado Photo Team
United released their New Mexico Chiles Retro Jersey on Friday ahead of New Mexico True Night. The jersey pays homage to the 1990s professional soccer club that went by New Mexico Chiles. It came in a red or green colorway and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Somos Unidos Foundation with the purpose of continuing to keep the Academy players under full scholarship.
The Lab will be smothered in red and green, aka Christmas, as United (10-8-9) take the pitch against Rio Grande Valley FC (10-7-10) as their push for the playoffs continues.
Currently, Austin Bold FC are holding onto the final playoff spot with 39 points through 26 matches. The Toros and United have played 27 matches, but United has one more point than them with 38 points.
On paper, these two sides are nearly equal in terms of goals per match, goals conceded, and other areas. The Toros attempt more shots and have a high-conversion rate on getting their shots on goal. United take fewer shots taken and have even fewer shots on goal. United pass more in their own half and overall.
It comes down to goals scored though. United have outscored the Toros 2-1 in this series and each team has won a match.
United had 55% possession in the 1-0 loss with 2 of their 10 shots being on goal. The Toros had 45% possession while having 4 of their 12 shots on goal and they scored. It’s not the best conversion rate.
United had 55% possession in the 2-0 win with 2 of their 8 shots being on goal and they scored two goals. The Toros had 45% and 7 of their 17 shots were on goal. But they didn’t score.
More shots should create more shots on goal and equate to more goals.
The difference in this last match was United goalkeeper Alex Tambakis with 6 saves. United allowed Tambakis to be tested way too often on the night and that has to change.
The Toros had 8 of their 17 shots in the first half. They only had 32% possession compared to United’s 67% and 4 shots.
We expect Head Coach Troy Lesesne to use Daniel Bruce to make runs in behind of the Toros’ backline and create chances. United have to be able to put more shots on goal and score more goals.
Lesesne has put the accountability back on the players and that much was communicated after the last match.
“I thought we did some things incredibly well. I loved the way that we pushed the game throughout the majority of the match. I think the way that we ended the half and started the half has to be better. We know that. We have to correct that going into this weekend. I just told the guys, it’s not the result we wanted. We all know that. We wanted three points. With that said, the things that didn’t go right are things that are staying with you – that are disappointing – correct that on Saturday. We have to correct that on Saturday in a must-win three-point match, and I know we’ll do that. We have to change that energy and that mood of being a little disappointed tonight, and put that energy toward Saturday. And I know that our guys are going to do that.”
Other Matches That Matter:
- Sunday: San Antonio FC vs. Memphis 901
- Sunday: Austin Bold FC vs. OKC Energy FC
Kickoff for Rio Grande Valley FC vs. New Mexico United is 5:05 pm at The Lab, Isotopes Park.