United gets boost after 0-1 win over Rising

United gets boost after 0-1 win over Rising

On a blustery spring night in Phoenix, the rivalry between New Mexico United and Phoenix Rising FC was renewed once again. The rivalry match did not disappoint and the two sides fought against the conditions and each other, before United earned all three points on the road in a 0-1 win.

After word broke that captain Kalen Ryden would miss another match due to injury, United supporters would be treated to a teamsheet that featured a change to a four-back system with Talen Maples and Anthony Herbert anchoring the center. In the early minutes of the match, United appeared to be more comfortable than they were the week prior against Charleston Battery. The return of Alex Tambakis also seemed to calm the nerves not only of the players but those of the traveling United faithful as well.

While both clubs had to deal with the weather conditions, it was United who had the worst of it in the first half. With the wind gusting in the faces at speeds up to 35 miles per hour, the ball would do funny things, forcing both sides to have to adjust. It made for some iffy moments in the defensive third as they ball would get pushed towards goal sooner than anyone could anticipate. Fortunately, Tambakis was up to the task and kept Rising out of the net early on.

United appeared to adapt to the conditions better, as they often face the same early spring conditions at The Lab. Outside of goal kicks, United worked to keep the ball low and send driven passes forward. The direct play gave them plenty of confidence and they kept finding holes in the Rising midfield. The run of play felt as though it was with United throughout the half and they would start to see chances open up in front of them just after the ten minute mark.

It was in the 15th that Marco Micaletto was the first to threaten Rocco Rios Novo and his net. Marco’s left footed shot dipped toward the left corner. The keeper was up to the challenge however and parried the ball away. The problem for the hosts was that it fell right back to United. A few quick passes later and Mukwelle Akale sent a low ball back into the area for Dayonn Harris, unmarked, who quickly tapped the ball home to open his United account, 0-1.

In the 36th, Hurst would have a chance inside the area after a fortunate bounce for United. With a quick flick off of his right foot, Hurst turned around the defender and fired from close range. Rios Novo was able to react quick enough to punch the ball away, denying the United forward.

In the 57th, United had a clear opportunity to double the lead after a penalty was awarded to the Black & Yellow. As Akale looked for a way to get the ball to Hurst on a run, he took a chance at goal and the ball went off the outstretched arm of Pape Boye. Hurst was sent to the mark to try and get his second goal of the campaign. He opted to go to the lower left corner, but Rios Novo was quick off the line and made the save to keep the status quo.

As is customary between the rivals, the match got heated the later it got and tempers started to boil over near the end. United, attempting to withstand the last minute attack by Rising, would take some shots, physically. Rising and their bench would take exception to United and even players trying to walk off the pitch after being treated by the physio. What started as seven minutes of stoppage time, turned into thirteen before the final whistle sounded in the favor of United, who walk away with a 0-1 win.

Player of the Match

Alex Tambakis – Despite only being credited with one save on the evening, the return of Tambakis proved to be key for United. His steady hand and ability to control the area kept United in the match early and denied some key moments for Rising late.

Up Next

After a three-match road trip, United finally gets a chance to be back at the friendly confines of The Lab. With the possibility of momentum building after the win on Saturday, United welcomes another rival club, El Paso Locomotive FC. ESPN Radio 101.7 FM The TEAM will have coverage of that match beginning with Adam Diehl and Andy Hageman on the pregame show at 6:00 PM (MT). The pair will also bring you every minute of every game starting with kickoff at 7:00. Hear New Mexico United live all season long on ESPN Radio 101.7 FM The TEAM, The TEAM website, and The TEAM apps.