It took three entries into the U.S. Open Cup, but New Mexico United finally gets to host a match at The Lab. It should come as no surprise though that the opponent is once again Phoenix Rising FC. For the third consecutive edition of the tournament, the two rivals will face each other.
Although the two sides haven’t met in league play this season, the match on Wednesday night shouldn’t have any less intensity on the pitch. Rising came into the season with a roster that had undergone a significant overhaul. With a remade attack, Danny Trejo and Jackson Conway looked as though they might lead Rising back to the right side of the playoff line in the West. Instead, the club has seven points through six matches and narrowly got by USL League One side Greenville Triumph in the second round of the Open Cup.
Rising is anchored at the back by another newcomer, Rocco Rios Novo. Rios Novo came to the desert after a split season between Atlanta United and Atlanta United 2. Though he was impressive at times, the youngster still has a lot of room for improvement. On the season he has conceded nine goals and may prove to be a tough test for United, even on their home turf.
Player to Watch
Danny Trejo – Trejo garnered the attention of the MLS last season but he couldn’t find a home with LAFC. Now, he’s at a rebuilding Rising FC. With the right pieces around him, Trejo can propel Rising into the fourth round.
Despite another loss at the weekend, United shouldn’t come into the match feeling overmatched. Rising hasn’t been blowing away the competition in league play and United has shown glimmers of good things. Against Colorado Springs the Black & Yellow were a bit more aggressive and it turned into a goal in the second half. Zach Prince still has a lot to figure out tactically in order to unlock the club’s attack.
Defensively, United has a chance to build on some strong showings already this season. While there have been some lapses and some unlucky moments, the defense has played pretty consistently. They have looked better over the recent run of games and against Trejo, United has played well in the past.
Player to Watch
Will Seymore – The last time Seymore played against Trejo, he was able to put the forward in his pocket and keep him from making any sort of impact on the match. With an opportunity to do the same thing on Wednesday, Seymore is a player to keep an eye on.
Wednesday night’s Open Cup match is set to kickoff at 7 p.m. (MT) from The Lab. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM, via The TEAM app, and TEAM website.