New Mexico United Position Preview: Forwards

A ton of changes were made to the front line this off-season. Injuries and mid season accusations were the stories last year. New Mexico finished the season tied for 15th in the USL Championship with 49 goals. That’s not a terrible number but when you factor in the 7 goal outburst against Phoenix and names like Neco Brett, Kevon Frater, Romario Williams and Jerome Kiesewetter it’s a little disappointing.

Cristian Nava training at Media Day 2023

So this off-season Zach Prince and his staff decided to make wholesale changes to the attack. All of the above names are gone, as is Devon Sandoval, retired, and Preston Tabort Etaka, now in Las Vegas. That leaves returning players  Armando Moreno and Cristian Nava. Although midfielders Chris Wehan, and Daniel Bruce could feature in a more forward role returning as well.

To that stable of returning players United added a familiar face, getting Santi Moar in a trade with Phoenix Rising. Santi, coming off a down year last year, had strong underlying numbers and his overall body of work in the USL is fantastic. In 2021 he was top 10 in goals with 16. He added 4 assists while leading the best offense in the league. In a separate deal with Rising, United added Forward Greg Hurst. Hurst joined Phoenix last season after a stellar stint with Union Omaha of USL 1. Hurst, like all of Phoenix, had a down season but showed flashes including scoring in his debut with Phoenix. Him and Santi have linked up this preseason and are 2 pieces that will play a huge role this season.

Joining them is 25 year old Josh Dolling. Josh joins us from St. Louis City 2 where he had 8 goals in 21 appearances. The England native had shown out this preseason scoring 3 goals including a brace against El Paso. One last name that I personally think will play a large role in the attack is academy product Alex Waggoner. Alex won the Golden Boot at the USL academy playoffs in Tampa Bay last November finishing with 6 goals and 2 assists in only 4 matches. The Taos native has looked great this preseason and at 6’2” he has the size to really compete in this league. He has potential to bust out this season and be our first player to be sold on.

The preseason doesn’t always translate to regular season success but United looked very dangerous in the warm up matches. Zach has mentioned multiple times this preseason that the team had better chemistry and that the players have fully bought in to the Team mentality. We have seen that lead to goals so far and it is a theme that should translate to the regular season. Because of that I can see United finishing in the top 10 in goals scored. There is a lot to be excited about going into the season and I can’t wait to see what Hurst, Waggoner, and Dolling can add.