New Mexico United (10-10-12) was once again unable to put together a complete match as they fell on the road to Tulsa Roughnecks FC (8-5-10). United’s struggles when falling behind have been well documented. To date, they are 2-9-5 when failing to score first.
Early successful ball movement looked to be a catalyst for United, but Tulsa didn’t allow that to affect their gameplan. Going against the run of play, Tulsa would take the lead within ten minutes. Failing to deal with a loose ball in the area, Josh Suggs gave the ball back to Tulsa in a dangerous area.
Cyprian Hedrick would head the ball back towards goal, into an area where only Tobenna Uzo could get to it. Boxing out Justin Schmidt, Uzo was able to control a corner of the box and with a bicycle kick an put the ball past Cody Mizell.
Having fallen behind for the second week in a row, United would step up their efforts to try and come from behind. Despite their best efforts, which seemed sluggish, United would dominate possession for the remainder of the half. Even with the lead in possession and shots, United would not pressure Roughnecks keeper Sean Lewis. The two shots that did manage to be on target were quickly dealt with.
After a very ineffective first half, Head Coach Troy Lesesne would turn to his bench, looking for a spark. Daniel Bruce and Kevaughn Frater would enter the pitch at the hour mark, giving United a more attack-minded formation. With Bruce on the right able to draw attention, it opened up room for Santi Moar to get to work on the left.
Moar would finally leave a mark on the match after a cross in the 68th. Drawing the attention of two defenders and Lewis, Moar was able to open up space for Devon Sandoval to make a run into the middle of the box. Moar would place a sharp cross across the face of the goal, where Sandoval would put the finishing touch on it, pulling United level.
Now with real momentum, the sending off of Marlon minutes later, United looked dangerous and ready to take advantage of being up a man. Unfortunately for United and their supporters, they wouldn’t be able to take advantage of it.
Even though they were down a man, Tulsa was up to the challenge. Rodrigo da Costa would start having an impact on the match and was leading the charge for the Roughnecks. With regulation winding down, Tulsa would continue to press, hoping to steal a winner.
In the final minute of the opening six minutes of stoppage time, Janu Silva would put the dagger into the hearts of United. With a penetrating run inside the box, Silva gave himself just enough space to get off a left-footed shot. His shot would force Mizell to go to ground to try and stop it, but there was too much pace on it for Mizell to make the stop. Having buried the ball in the far side of the net, Silva had put the match out of reach.
Player of the Match
Devon Sandoval – in a match where not many positives occurred for United, Devon was able to continue his run of form from September. His most recent goal brings his season total to 11.
Josh Suggs will be suspended for one match due to yellow card accumulation after picking up his 8th yellow card of the season. He will miss the match against Tacoma Defiance on October 16.
Elsewhere in the league, Real Monarchs SLC defeated Phoenix Rising FC by a final of 2-1. The Monarchs victory secures their spot as the winners of the inaugural Four Corners Cup competition.
United returns home for the final two matches of the regular season. Both matches will take place this week, the first taking place on Wednesday, October 16, when the club welcomes Tacoma Defiance to The Lab. Still, with a match in hand, United still has a chance to make the playoffs. Any results other than a win in either match and United will need favorable results from around the league to reach the playoffs.