United has eyes on 5th in San Antonio

United has eyes on 5th in San Antonio

It’s still relatively early in the USL Championship campaign and New Mexico United still has matches in hand against the entire Western Conference. In an ideal world, those matches in hand would amount to three points each and have United sitting in the top four.

The problem with that is that United is running into a San Antonio FC side this weekend that is coming off an inexplicable loss to bottom-dwelling Detroit City FC and is hungry to get back on track.

San Antonio has been one of the more intriguing sides in the USL this season. Although their early season has been marred by injuries across the club, Manager Alen Marcina has the defending champions playing well enough to hold onto one of the top spots in the West. Looking back just two weeks, the San Antonio attack put seven goals up against the top club in the East, Charleston Battery. Which makes the loss to Detroit all the more confusing. Aside from the offensive outburst against Charleston, San Antonio hasn’t lit up the scoreboard, instead grinding out wins with strong defensive efforts.

As they’ve done in previous seasons, San Antonio relies on a physical style of defense, inviting contact from opposing players and over-matching them. Their size limits what opponents can do inside the goal area, forcing them to try and find opportunities from distance or create from the outside. As a result of how they’ve played at the back, they’re unbeaten at home this season, allowing only three goals on their home pitch.

Player to Watch

Jordan Farr – Farr has come a long way over the past few seasons with San Antonio. He’s developed into one of the top goalkeepers in the league. Near the top in saves and clean sheets, Farr will be a tough player to crack for United.

United comes into the match on a four-match unbeaten run in league play and is looking like what people were expecting coming out of the preseason. The club has continued to gel and despite some early season injuries to some of the key midfielders heading into the year, Zach Prince’s club is looking to make some moves. They face one of their toughest tests of the season by far in San Antonio with an opportunity to leapfrog up the table. With the size they face in the attacking third, watch for United to look for shots from distance to try and negate that advantage. Another opportunity for United to break through could come from the resurgent Sergio Rivas.

“Sergio is leading the team in goals right now,” said Peter Trevisani on his weekly segment on TEAM Talk on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM. “He’s one of the guys from New Mexico that wanted to be here to play and helps showcase the level of talent we have in New Mexico.”

Defensively, United may have its work cut out for them. With Kalen Ryden missing due to a red card received against Monterey Bay, Prince will have to put together a bit of a patchwork line. While the club has players that are versatile enough to play in the back line instead of their regular positions. With the change, expect to see Will Seymore and potentially a start for Kyle Colonna against San Antonio to help with the size disparity.

Player to Watch

Kyle Colonna – One of the newer players to the club, Colonna comes to the club from San Diego State University. With the absence of Kalen Ryden, Colonna could see major minutes against San Antonio. His size and physicality will be a big help to United with what they want to do defensively.

Saturday night’s match is set to take place at Toyota Field in San Antonio, Texas. ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM will have coverage starting at 5:30 p.m. (MT) with Scott Galetti and Andy Hageman on the pre-game show, followed by kickoff at 6:30 p.m. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM, via The TEAM app, and The TEAM website. The match will also be streamed live on ESPN+ domestically.