New Mexico United Position Preview: Defenders/Keepers

The back line started off hot last year giving up only 14 goals in the first half of the season (17 matches). They faded down the stretch however, giving up 27 goals in the second half. Alexis Souahy, Rashid Tetteh and Raddy Ovouka have moved on leaving a returning core of Kalen Ryden, William Seymore, Austin Yearwood, Harry Swartz, and Josh Suggs.

Kalen Ryden vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks

Kalen is returning for his 4th season with United. He picked up a knock early last season and never really looked like himself again. In the lone preseason match I was able to attend he looked like he was back and that will go a long way in determining how good this defense is this season.

Austin, who is criminally underrated, might be our best defender. He has been one of the best fullbacks in the league that doesn’t get any recognition outside of New Mexico. If he can perform as well this year as he has the past 2 the league won’t be able to ignore him.

Seymore was looked at as a midfielder by many when joining this team last season. He quickly cemented himself as a defensive stalwart after Ryden went down though. Now he projects as a starting CB for us alongside Kalen.

Harry and Suggs are both players who like to bomb down the wings and really have to cover a lot of ground with the position that they play. Suggs and Austin should split time on the left with Suggs being an elder statesman back there.

Timothie Zali and Kyle Colonna are the lone additions to the back line. Zali is a a 6’5” center back from Sweden who has long dreamed of playing in a big league. He made the move to an American side in hopes of reaching that dream. He adds much needed height to the back line and jumped to the moon to score a header in the preseason. The only concern I have with him is he has a very thin frame that could pose problems against some stronger forwards in this league.

Kyle Colonna is fresh off 4 seasons at San Diego State where he was a captain his senior year. The 6’3” centerback looked solid this preseason and really impressed me in the match that I was able to attend. Between him and Zali we have some depth back there but could use another body. Wyparlo might be able to play in the back as well depending on circumstances.

That just leaves the keepers. Alex Tambakis is back for his 3rd season in black and yellow. He has the ability to be a league best goalie and we will need him stay in the top half of keepers in order to compete. He made some incredible stops but also gave up a few that should have been saved. That’s every keeper aside from Jordan Farr though. Backing up Alex is Alb. native Ford Parker. Ford had to step into action early last season and looked good with Alex injured. He’s a solid backup who can start in a pinch.

Kalen and Alex are going to be the keys to having a great defense. If they can reach their peak levels then we will be well above average. That being said, I have some doubts that they can. If they can’t then we will need the offense to carry us.