New Mexico United’s (6-5-8) slide down the standings continued after a 2-1 loss to Fresno FC (9-2-7) last night.
Short-handed and on short rest, it was always going to be a tough task for United as they went up against one of the hottest clubs in the Western Conference. Without Kevaughn Frater and Juan Pablo Guzman available, Head Coach Troy Lesesne put Chris Wehan up top and gave a start to Ryan Williams in the midfield.
After neither side was able to gain an advantage in the first quarter hour, Lady Luck would swing in the favor of the Foxes. Alex Cooper would draw an extremely soft foul in the box from Sam Hamilton and was awarded a penalty. Although Hamilton’s leg was extended in front of Cooper, there appeared to be no contact from all of the replays shown. Jemal Johnson would convert from the spot, driving the ball into the bottom left corner of the net as Cody Mizell went the opposite direction.
United would pull level in the 40th following a foul from Ramón del Campo. Set near the far touchline, Wehan would deliver the ball into the box for Santi Moar to get a touch. Instead of shooting, Moar laid it off, and Justin Schmidt would finally be credited with his first goal of the season. Now level, it appeared that the momentum would swing into United’s favor.
Less than three minutes into the second half, Manny Padilla would concede a corner to the Foxes. On the cross, Juan Pablo Caffa’s delivery was headed home by Michael Daly to put the hosts up for good.
Despite the loss, some positives came from the match for United. The first positive is that Josh Suggs played the full 90 and looked to be back to his old self. His decision making was excellent, and he was running at the defense of Fresno throughout the match. This is a very good sign for United going forward.
Statistically speaking, United went head to head with Fresno in nearly every category tracked by the USL. One of the biggest takeaways is that United forced a lot of contested shots, while at the same time being efficient with theirs. Fresno only managed an accuracy rating of 33% and United finished the night at 66%.
Without the penalty, the night looks even better for United as they try to get back on track.
Player of the Match
Justin Schmidt – with one tackle, four clearances, two interceptions, and his first career goal, Schmidt was able to put in a solid shift and contributed at both ends of the pitch.
United doesn’t return to league play until July 24 when they finally end this extended road trip. For the finale, they will be taking on Sacramento Republic.
Before that though, United will be hosting the Welsh football club, Cardiff City FC on July 18 at the UNM Soccer Complex. A current member of the EFL Championship, (England 2nd Tier), Cardiff City FC, were relegated at the end of the past season from the Premier League and are in the middle of a preseason tour through North America.