New Mexico United’s first foray into the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup got off to a flying start and they never looked back en route to a 6 – 0 victory. UDA was no match for United in the first-ever matchup between two New Mexican clubs in the tournament.
With freezing temperatures and a stiff wind blowing into the stands at Rio Rancho High School, Daniel Bruce wasted no time putting the ball into the area for Jose Sosa inside two minutes. His low, driving cross skipped past the UDA defenders and into the path of the debutant. Sosa calmly slid the ball past UDA keeper Mario Castillo to open the scoring at the home of the Rams.
UDA’s energy and effort kept the match close score-wise over the next thirty minutes. Just when it seemed like the academy might start gaining some traction, Mattias Cavallo conceded a penalty by fouling Kyle Colonna in the goal area. Justin Portillo stepped to the mark in the 39th minute and drove home the spot kick, extending the lead to 2-0.
At halftime, Head Coach and Technical Director Zach Prince made the first two changes of the match. Andres Robles came in for the first minutes of his career and had an immediate impact. Robles’ pressure on Castillo forced him into a mistake inside of his own box, allowing Robles to poke the ball to Josh Dolling, setting up the first of his three goals. Up 3-0, there was no looking back for United. Dolling would later add one from the penalty spot in the 61st and complete the hat trick in the 74th, nutmegging Castillo.
The fourth goal of the evening would come by way of a Brucey Banger. Once again, Robles was invaluable in the lead-up to the goal. The pass from the young man set up Bruce, who, as is his tradition, hit a thunderous strike and buried the ball into the back of the net from near the top of the area.
Player of the Match
Josh Dolling – Dolling seemed to be in the right place at the right time all night long. As evidenced by his three-goal performance, Josh looks poised to be a contributing factor to the success of United throughout the season.
With the win over UDA, New Mexico United moves on to the third round of the Open Cup. They won’t know their opponent until Thursday when the draw is held. Once that draw is held, United will look ahead to their next Open Cup match on either April 18 or April 19.