New Mexico United are in action tonight at the UNM Soccer Complex, but it’s not for Western Conference or Open Cup play. The club will be playing host for an international friendly, the first in club history, against Cardiff City F.C.
Unless you’re a follower of the English Premier League and the Football Association, you may have never heard of Cardiff City prior to this trip. Tonight will prove difficult to provide a true preview for since we don’t know what to expect from the Bluebirds. This is the second stop on their pre-season tour through North America, having won the first 1-0 over San Antonio FC. We just don’t know what we’ll see from the Welsh club as they prepare for the upcoming EFL Championship season.
One thing to note about the international friendly, each club is allowed as many subs as they want. This is something that Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock will undoubtedly take advantage of as he evaluates the talent and fitness level of his club. It also provides New Mexico United an opportunity to get some match time for players like Josh Goss and Ben Beaury who haven’t seen much playing time this season.
It’s also a chance for United to test their skills against one of the oldest clubs in the world.
As Cardiff City enters the 2019-20 season, it will be their 121st season in existence. Since the formation of the Premier League, Cardiff City has been a part of the top flight for only two seasons, the most recent being the 2018-19 season.
During the 2018-19 Premier League season, Cardiff City put together a record of 10-24-4, finishing 18th and being relegated to the English second tier, the EFL Championship. The season wasn’t without highlights for the Bluebirds though. On the final day of the season, Cardiff traveled to Old Trafford and picked up their 10th clean sheet of the campaign against Manchester United.
There are some names that US Men’s National Team followers will know on the roster of Cardiff City. Internationals Sol Bamba and Leandro Bacuna should be familiar to many, Bacuna especially as he featured in the 2019 Gold Cup for Curacao. Unfortunately, neither player is part of the traveling roster, but each will have a considerable role for the Bluebirds as they seek to make the jump back to the Premier League.
The match will kick off tonight at 7:45 p.m. (Mountain) from the UNM Soccer Complex. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM, The TEAM app, and will be live-streamed on New Mexico United’s YouTube channel.