After a dominating performance over UDA at NMSU in the Open Cup on Tuesday, New Mexico United gets back to their west coast swing in league play. The last of their three-match road trip to start the season is this weekend when they face Monterey Bay FC.
In two prior meetings, United picked up four points while limiting one of the newer USL clubs to only one goal. In more recent action, Monterey comes into the weekend winless in their previous three outings. Their most recent league result saw them lose to San Antonio FC, 2-1. The lone goal scorer for Monterey on that night was Albuquerque Sol veteran Sam Gleadle. After an offensive explosion in the season opener, Monterey has struggled to get off the mark.
Defensively, Monterey doesn’t seem to have figured things out yet, either. With seven goals conceded through four matches, the quality of the defense has come into question. The inability to shut down any opponent thus far has left lots of worries for the supporters.
Player to Watch
Alex Dixon – The long-time USL veteran has been the best player early on for Monterey. Dixon is a big-time threat in the attacking third and opens up a lot of opportunities for the rest of his side. Kalen Ryden will have his hands full controlling Dixon on Saturday night.
United comes into the weekend on the heels of a much-needed offensive burst. Granted, it was against a lower division club, but it could be the spark that United needs. With one goal in league play to the club’s credit, it was beginning to be a concern among the faithful. Although the attempts on goal appeared to improve against Oakland, they weren’t good enough to pull out a win. Against UDA however, the Black & Yellow peppered the goal with attempts and ended up putting a six spot on the board. The night saw the emergence of Josh Dolling as a true threat for United.
Defensively, United had some issues against the counterattack of Oakland, but when unpressured they looked solid. Will Seymore and Ryden have both looked good early on this year and should have a strong showing against Monterey. If they can keep Dixon out of the area, United has a very good chance to come out with a win, even without Justin Portillo.
Player to Watch
Will Seymore – Seymore has become one of the top players on United’s roster since joining the club. His defensive ability helps pick up some of the deficiencies that pop up at times and he makes good decisions on and off the ball. Will can force Dixon and the other forwards from Monterey into bad positions and keep their backs to goal.
Saturday night’s match between New Mexico and Monterey is set to kickoff at 8 p.m. (MT) from Cardinale Stadium. The match will be streamed live on ESPN+ domestically and YouTube internationally. Locally the match will also be broadcast on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM, via The TEAM app, and The TEAM website.