Loaded San Antonio could dampen playoff hopes for United

Loaded San Antonio could dampen playoff hopes for United

After New Mexico United concluded a two-match road trip with a pair of losses, they are returning to The Lab for eight of their final thirteen matches of the season. The playoffs are within sight, but the back end of the schedule is full of playoff-caliber clubs.

The pre-season favorites to win the west, San Antonio FC has somewhat quietly put together one of the best seasons in the league. They aren’t flashy on the pitch and they’ve had to grind out quite a few wins to get to where they are now. But, Alen Marcina has his club playing at a high level and the quality of talent continues to grow as the season wears on.

Not resting on their laurels with the earlier results of the year, San Antonio brought back fan favorite Santiago Patino. Patino, who was the Championship Final MVP in 2022, notched 11 goals in 28 appearances for the club over two seasons. He brings another dynamic presence to the pitch and one that United can’t ignore. Even with the threat of Tani Oluwaseyi looming large, Patino will be ever-present. The visitors will present a number of threats that United will have to deal with, and the midfielders will have their hands full.

Player to Watch

Tani Oluwaseyi – One of the best goalscorers in the league this year, Oluwaseyi has more than shown what he is capable of. After being named player of the week for his performance against Phoenix Rising, he could be in line for a big night against United if they are unable to step to him and slow him down.

“It was really disappointing. At the We just weren’t tough enough.”

Those were the words of United President and CEO Peter Trevisani during his exclusive weekly segment on ESPN Radio 101.7 FM The TEAM when asked about the match against Hartford Athletic.

“This is a team that had struggled on the field, but they didn’t struggle against us. They got one banger then came right back and scored again right after. It was really disappointing.”

After two consecutive losses, there are definitely some questions about the performance and the tactics that United had been employing over the prior two matches. Late substitutions didn’t help matters in either match after United fell behind and a lack of general urgency, particularly early in the second half against Hartford doomed United. They did pick up the effort later in the affair, but it wasn’t enough to pull a point back.

United does have Sam Hamilton set to return after his suspension, but even that may not be enough to stop San Antonio. It will take probably the defensive effort of the year from the Black & Yellow to slow down the visitors on Saturday. The series between these two clubs has always been physical and although the matches in Albuquerque have always been tight, United just doesn’t seem to have San Antonio’s number at home. The leadership of Hamilton and Kalen Ryden will need to shine through on Saturday as United’s defense tries to slow down the many weapons that San Antonio can throw at them.

Player to Watch

Kalen Ryden – One of the more vocal players on the pitch, Ryden’s vision of the field and feel for the flow of the game make him one of the top centerbacks in the league. He’ll need to command the defensive unit on Saturday and keep the line compact to keep their opponents from getting through the interior channels.

The match between New Mexico United and San Antonio FC will be Saturday night August 11 at Isotopes Park. Coverage of the match will begin at 6 p.m. with the pregame show with Adam Diehl and Andy Hageman on ESPN Radio 101.7 FM The TEAM, The TEAM website, and The TEAM apps. Following the pregame show, the coverage continues with every minute of every play starting at 7 p.m.