United look to stay hot in Colorado Springs

United look to stay hot in Colorado Springs

Saturday night at The Lab was a night that no one will ever forget. 

After more than a year and a half between home matches, New Mexico United returned home as conquering heroes. No, there wasn’t a trophy. But on Saturday that didn’t matter. The club, our club, was finally home. Having spent the entire 2020 season on the road, there was no doubt how the club would be welcome home. 

And the club responded in kind. The boys in black dominated Austin Bold FC to pick up their first win of the season by a final of 3-1. It was the kind of performance we had been waiting to see since the regular season began. United finally seemed to find their groove and it paid off for them.

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Homecoming night for New Mexico United

Homecoming night for New Mexico United

They’ve been called the Kings of Chaos.

They’ve been called Road Warriors.

Whatever you call them, our club is finally home. Counting today, it’s been 575 days between matches at The Lab. For supporters and players alike, it’s going to be a memory akin to that first home match back in 2019. 

It’s going to be emotional. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be a homecoming.

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Rivalry between United and El Paso continues tonight

Rivalry between United and El Paso continues tonight

I’ve always contended that United’s primary rivals weren’t El Paso. Since the inaugural season, I thought it was Phoenix despite the fact that many thought otherwise. After COVID-19 forced changes to the USL format both in 2020 and 2021, the additional matches between United and El Paso have gone a long way to cementing the two clubs as the primary rival for each other.

Look, I love the matches against Phoenix. They’re loud, they’re fun, but they aren’t the same as El Paso.

El Paso is one of those clubs you love to hate. From the terrible camera angles and biased commentary on their broadcasts, to their supporters and players. There’s just a lot to not like about this club. Plus, the distance between the two of them makes it easy under normal circumstances for supporters to make the away matches. It makes for one unbelievable atmosphere on match day.

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New faces, new places highlight RGV match

New faces, new places highlight RGV match

To steal a line from the immortal Hank Williams, Jr., Are you ready for some football?

All of us here at Somos Mas NM are, without a doubt. And we know that the rest of the New Mexico United Nation is as well. Sure, we’ve had the preseason to prepare for it, but there’s a different feeling between the few hundred supporters out at Mesa del Sol and the thousands in attendance at The Lab. Yeah, I know, we’re not home this weekend, but the excitement is still there. It’s been 197 days since United last played a competitive match. It’s been even longer since United last faced RGV FC. 595 days to be exact.

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Season Preview Questions: A Look Ahead

Today is the day!!! Let’s look ahead to 2021 and see what we think the new season holds. 

  1. 32 matches. 24 against our group which includes the same 3 from last year plus RGV, SAFC, and Austin Bold. Which of those teams is most likely to start a fight on the pitch? And whose fans are most likely to start a Twitter beef? 
Fans of all sizes came to watch preseason matches at Mesa Del Sol. Photo by: Blue Mountain Images

Seth Biddulph: If we’re sticking to our group then the answer to both is El Paso.

Adriana Cortina: El Paso Locos no doubt. I experienced it myself. They take the rivalry very seriously. On and off the pitch. Followed by Phoenix Rising of course.  

Earl Nieto: I think the Twitter beef continues with El Paso and their “fans” (first shots fired), But of the different names, I don’t really see any beef between the others as they seem more respectable bases both on and off the pitch. 

Andy Hageman: SAFC hands down, they weren’t expecting to be dumped out last year by us and will want to show that.

Jacob Terrell: I think SAFC is the dark horse pick here. Things got chippy on the pitch last season and I could that spilling over. The fan answer has to be El Paso though. There is no love lost between the two fan bases. 

  1. We have 8 matches against non group members. Those include 4 against Eastern Conference opponents. What are your thoughts on that and which EC opponent are you looking forward to the most?  

Seth: I think it’s a huge step for the USL to do this and I don’t see any reason that it can’t continue in the future. It gives the league a chance to mix things up and expose supporters to different teams. Personally I can’t wait to see the guys take on Louisville City FC.

Adriana: Sounds like a great challenge to me. We want to see more. A new style, potential and other  levels of competition.

Earl:  I am looking forward to playing Eastern Conference opponents. It opens the door to recruit more players out of the East to come to New Mexico. But the opponent I most looking forward to playing from the East is Lou City. Lou City has won 2 of the last 3 cups, and will be a GREAT test to see if New Mexico can hold their own against a Cup Caliber squad.

Andy:  Louisville City FC and for no particular reason

Jacob: I’m going with Charleston actually. It’ll be here at the lab. It has a special place in coach Troy’s heart. They are a quality club and will be a good test for us. 

Celebrate! Amando scores in the preseason. Photo by Blue Mountain Images
  1. We travel to Louisville City, Phoenix, and San Diego. How do we fair in those three matches and how important are they to our season? 

Seth: These are going to be tough matches no matter what. It’s extremely important that we come away with at least a point in each one. Three would be better, but I have to try and be realistic. 

Adriana:As I mentioned before, big challenges await. Our players will get out of their comfort zone and  we get to see a new style of play. It is a win win. Hopefully on the pitch too.  

Earl: I think we walk out with 4 or 5 points. I think we beat San Diego, there is not a doubt about that one. But the other two? As much as it pains me to say it, Phoenix is a great team. I do not like their fans or their antics, but the squad on the pitch… incredible. I see us drawing with them, unless it gets chippy then we lose. Lou City… I have faith in New Mexico United, and the squad that is put together, but Lou City is a champion for a reason. But I feel like United can hang with them. I have us drawing with them. 

Andy: Phoenix, the hatred is real and the neighbors are noisy. We can hate the most hated more than anyone!

Jacob: A good showing in those three matches will give us a lot of confidence going in the playoffs. We play one of the tougher non-division schedules but I think we are going to be able to hang with the best of them still. Being on the road shouldn’t hinder us too much but I still see us losing one maybe two. Best case, we go 2-1-0, worst case, 0-3-0, most realistic, case we go 1-1-1. 

  1. We have a lot of great talent up and down the pitch. Who are the offensive and defensive MVPs when all is said and done? 

Seth: Amando and Kalen

Adriana: Defensively, I am going for Kalen Ryden and offensively, Amando Moreno. 

Earl: Offensive: Amando Defensive: Kalen

Andy: Amando will want to fill the boots of Wehan in goal terms if not work rate. The newbies upfront need to fire early but what I saw of ‘Chelo’ makes me wonder whether he might rise up to the crowd and The Curse’ ferver!

Jacob: On defense it’s a pretty easy call. Kalen is one of the best in the league and he will show that again this season. I am banging the Brian Brown drum this offseason and I’m not going to stop now! He will lead the team in goals. He will get plenty of assists. He may even win the golden boot race. 

Sombrero Man watches as Austin Yearwood sends in a cross. Phot by Blue Mountain Images
  1. We talked about the season last year and if it was a disappointment or a success. What has to happen this year for it to be deemed a success and will it happen?

Seth: A return to the playoffs at minimum. With all of the talent that was brought in during the off-season, anything less will likely feel like a disappointment. 

Adriana:Now that our state is partially open.. First, our team having home matches in front of an amazing crowd, second finding the perfect  combination of attack and last, bring La Copa to our state. Which is the ultimate reward. 

Earl: Easy answer for any club fan, winning cups is ”the only success”. More elaborate answer, winning the group is the first successful feat. Deep run in the playoffs. It is a symbol that we belong in playoffs, not a fluke in or a one and done team. But most of all, winning the Cup will signify ULTIMATE success because that is what a season is based on. 

Andy: Improvement year on year, a step forward and eventually a Championship crown. 

Jacob: When I look how last year played out and the acquisitions we made this offseason I think a supporter shield and USL cup are legitimate goals. I think if we don’t win our group and we fail to make the western conference finals then I would be slightly disappointed in the season.