Season-high 12,147 watch United defeat Orange County 2-0

Season-high 12,147 watch United defeat Orange County 2-0

Defend The Lab. That’s the mission for New Mexico United this season. The Black & Yellow held the visitors to only one shot that forced a save, forced an own goal, and scored from another set piece as they extended their perfect home form and their lead atop the West with a 2-0 win over Orange County SC.

As discussed during TEAM Talk on Tuesday, the visiting Orange County didn’t look like a club that had any real confidence about their play. They looked disjointed throughout the first half as they tried to break down United through the middle.

Without pace on the wings to try and pull United out of shape, they were forced into trying the middle of the park. But United’s central defenders, Talen Maples and Tony Herbert stayed compact and didn’t allow OCSC a chance to even sniff a goal. Orange County managed only one shot on target the entire first half and ended with an xG of 0.04.

To United’s credit, they forced OCSC to play within the confines of the central area for much of the half. When the visitors did drift wide, they weren’t successful in pulling United out of position or creating any semblance of a real threat. Despite the ability to shut down their opponents, United couldn’t find anything of note to help their cause in the attacking third.

They too only managed to get one shot on target despite having an xG of 1.26. They were finding space to cross the ball in from wide areas, mainly off the foot of Chris Gloster and Ayo Flanagan, but the connection in the goal area just wasn’t to be.

After halftime, United looked hungry and found chances to play the ball in behind the defenders. In the 50th minute, Flanagan had an opportunity fall into his lap on the right wing. Driving at the byline, Flanagan looked to cross the ball into the area for Daniel Bruce, but before the cross could reach the forward, Aston Miles stuck out a foot in an attempt to block it, but sent the ball into his own net for an own goal, giving United the lead, 1-0.

From there it was all United. Attack after attack saw them getting into dangerous areas, but at times still struggling to get a quality final touch. Less than a minute after the own goal, Flanagan himself was played through into the final third, and he went one-on-one with Colin Shutler. The OC keeper came up big and shut down the angle just enough that it forced Flanagan’s shot in the 52nd minute to go just wide left of goal.

In the 56th, Flanagan had another chance to extend the lead, but he ended up inches away. Again attacking from the right wing, Flanagan cut across the box and lashed a left-footed shot at goal. Shutler was beaten but the ball clattered off the crossbar and away from danger, keeping the one-goal lead intact. A matter of inches lower and United would have been up by two.

Eric Quill’s team kept attacking throughout the half, not content to leave with just a single goal. In the 72nd minute, United would earn themselves a corner, something they’ve been very good at lately. As it was against San Antonio, Abdi Mohamed was the target man in the box for Marco Micaletto. Left unmarked once again, Mohamed delivered another goal with a shot from close range to seal the win, 2-0.

Player of the Match

Abdi Mohamed – Two goals in two weeks for the man who started with the club on a 25-day contract have Mohamed flying high. In front of a USL season record crowd of 12,147, Mohamed’s play was something that all United supporters can be proud of.

Up Next

United’s next match comes in the US Open Cup on Wednesday, July 10 when they travel to face MLS side LA FC. That match should see the return of the suspended Mukwele Akale and see United at full strength for another MLS opponent. The winner of this match will face the winner of Sacramento Republic FC and the Seattle Sounders in August. ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM will be on-site in Los Angeles for the Open Cup matchup. Catch all of the action live with coverage beginning at 8 PM (MT) with the pregame show featuring Adam Diehl and Andy Hageman. Coverage will continue with kickoff between the two sides slated for 9 PM (MT). Catch every minute of every play all season long on ESPN Radio 101.7 FM The TEAM, The TEAM website, and The TEAM apps.