After a thirteen-day break, New Mexico United traversed the multiverse on Meow Wolf night and dragged El Paso Locomotive FC along with them. With The Lab decked out and the supporter’s section rocking, United was hopeful that they would put an end to Locomotive’s eight-match unbeaten run. Shortly before kickoff, the news came down that Kalen Ryden would miss the match with back issues. In his absence, Troy Lesesne set a back three of Austin Yearwood, Justin Schmidt, and Rashid Tetteh.
Through the first twenty minutes of play, neither team was able to sniff out a chance in the final third. Only two shots were credited to the clubs as both appeared to be contemplating their options in the final third.
A switch flipped after the twentieth minute, and the play on the pitch intensified. More fouls were beginning to be called, and the attack for both sides started to have some teeth to it. Both clubs made mistakes in their own defensive third, Logan Ketterer playing the ball directly to Andrew Tinari and Rashid Tetteh with a poor back pass. Neither of those mistakes came back to haunt the clubs, but it wasn’t long after that United was able to break through.
In the 33rd, Sergio Rivas and Amando Moreno finally found a way through the back four of El Paso. With a through ball, Rivas played Moreno behind the defense. With a couple of steps, Moreno drove past Yuma and put a left-footed shot into the back of the net to grab the lead.
Much like the first half, the second began with a slow build-up in action on the pitch. Despite play opening up prior to the end of the half, both clubs seemed content to try and feel each other out again. El Paso continued their high line, but it had little to no effect on United’s play.
The tension that had been mounting broke in the 77th as a foul led to a skirmish between the clubs. In the fracas, Diego Luna threw an elbow and was shown a red card for his efforts. Multiple yellows were also shown, and on the receiving end were Daniel Bruce, Andrew Tinari, and Leandro Carrijo, who was on the bench.
Although they were down to ten men, El Paso remained aggressive and was able to put multiple shots off the posts as they looked for an equalizer. As the match wore on, United struggled to put together possession in the closing minutes and keep the visitors off the ball.
At the close of regular time, the referee added six minutes of stoppage time. After the added minutes passed, the referee checked his watch but allowed play to continue. As a result of that, El Paso was allowed to continue attacking and won a corner. With the last kick of the game, the ball was delivered into the box, and Matt Bahner was able to put a foot to it and pushed the ball past Alex Tambakis for the equalizer.
Player of the Match
Austin Yearwood – Austin was easily the best of the back three tonight against the division leaders. Not only did Austin win every duel, but he also contributed 2 tackles, 7 clearances, and 2 interceptions.
United is back in action on Wednesday night as they welcome the expansion club Oakland Roots to The Lab. This is the first meeting between the two clubs. Wednesday night’s match is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. (MST)