United restart 2020 by defending their territory in Colorado Springs

I don’t know about everyone else, but I don’t think there’s been much to get excited about over the past four months. Yep, that’s right. It’s been four months since New Mexico United last stepped onto the pitch.

After the extended break due to COVID-19, the USL 2020 season is ready to start. Okay, technically it’s a restart, but the only match that United played was so long ago, it just feels like it was a preseason match that unfortunately counts in the standings.

I think we can all agree that the performance in March wasn’t the best we’ve seen from United. We gave away a poor penalty, scuffed more than our fair share of chances, and nearly conceded off a poor touch. The club was also missing a handful of players due to injury. Could the COVID break have helped United in a backwards way?

According to the club, there are no injuries to report ahead of this weekend’s restart. For Head Coach and Technical Director Troy Lesesne, a full battery of players, along with the ability to use five subs, gives him plenty of options to get United on the right track. It also makes it really hard to predict a starting XI, but this is what I think we’ll see tonight.

Predicted XI vs Colorado Springs

Last season United became the unofficial owners of the state of Colorado. With combined wins against Switchbacks FC and Colorado Rapids, United dominated in the thin air of the Rocky Mountains. It’s hard to imagine any result other than a win in the Centennial State.

Normally by this time in the season, we’d have lots of information to pull from when previewing a match. And sure, we have lots to know about United, but very little about Switchbacks FC.

Like United, Switchbacks FC has already played one match this season, a 2-1 win over Oklahoma City Energy FC. They have also made improvements since last fall, both on the sidelines and on the roster. The club added new Head Coach Alan Koch, forward Christian Volesky and midfielder George Lebese. Despite unfavorable results at the end of 2019, the Switchbacks looked better and are hoping to carry that momentum over into the 2020 season.

Players to Watch

New Mexico United

  • Chris Wehan – Beez came into his own last season and put together one of the best seasons of his career. With an uncanny ability to produce chances from inside and outside the box, Switchbacks FC will have to account for him at all times.
  • David Najem – The former Rowdie was brought in uding the off season to help improve a back four that struggled at times during 2019. Najem brings a wealth of experience and has the ability to create from the fullback position.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

  • George Lebese – Lebese was brought in to help one of the worst attacking clubs in all of the USL last season. The winger will bring the ability for Switchbacks to play wide and work their way into the box.
  • Christian Volesky – A proven scorer, Volesky has already made his mark this season, notching his first goal for the club against Energy FC.

Match Predictions

On the podcast this week, Jacob and I gave our predictions for this match and we both have United coming away with yet another win. I believe Jacob had it 2-1 and I have it going 3-1. United just has too much going for them and despite their improvements, Colorado Springs isn’t there quite yet.

Saturday’s match will kickoff at 6:00 pm from Weidner Field in Colorado Springs. The match will be broadcast live on ESPN+ and can be heard locally on ESPN Radio 101.7 The TEAM and via The TEAM app.