For 88 minutes, New Mexico United was played off the pitch. Rio Grande Valley was poised to pick up a convincing win until a pair of stoppage-time goals rescued a point for United with a 2-2 final.
The Toros found the opener early with some one-two play between Christiano Francois and Juan Cabezas. Both members of the home side streaked toward goal as Francois played the ball ahead to Cabezas. One backheel later, Francois was back in possession and cooly slotted home in the bottom right corner, 1-0 only seven minutes in.
Less than two minutes later, United forward Greg Hurst appeared to be played in behind the defense of RGV by Josh Suggs. Suggs’ ball was just ahead of Hurst but the RGV keeper, Tyler Deric, had other ideas in mind. Coming off of his line, Deric attempted to play the ball, but completely missed. In the process, the keeper launched into Hurst, clearing him out completely. No whistle was heard as play went back the other way.
Aside from a handful of moments, United looked uninspired during the evening. Poor touches and far too many turnovers cost the Black & Yellow opportunities throughout the evening. Defensive rotations were slow, which was a key factor in the second goal for RGV. In the 74th the Toros had an opportunity to play the advantage after a foul. Finding themselves in a three-on-three situation, RGV charged toward goal. Taylor Davila took the center channel with Wilmer Cabrera Jr. off to his left. All three United defenders closed on Davila, leaving Cabrera wide open to receive a pass and bury the ball for a 2-0 lead.
With United’s hopes dwindling, the final few moments proved to be something of a miracle. In the first minute of stoppage time, Alex Waggoner got a slight touch on a cross into the area and forced a save out of Deric. The deflected ball fell to Harry Swartz who tapped the ball into the net to cut the lead to 2-1.
Ninety seconds later, Andres Robles put a perfect cross into the area, seeking out Kalen Ryden at the far post. Elevating above Deric, Ryden headed the ball back to an unmarked Sergio Rivas at the top of the six-yard box. Without any pressure, Rivas hit the back of the net, squaring the score line, 2-2.
Player of the Match
Sergio Rivas – With the dramatic goal at the end of the night, Rivas earns the man of the match honors. A solid performance for much of the match kept putting Rivas in a position to make a difference.
United returns to play on Wednesday, May 10 against Austin FC in the U.S. Open Cup Round of 32. That match will take place in Austin at Q2 Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MT). Due to broadcast rights restrictions, the match will not be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM. All round of 32 matches can be streamed via the Bleacher Report app.