The New Mexico men’s soccer team’s resiliency will be tested in a big way Wednesday night.
The Lobos (8-4-2, 3-2-1 Conference USA) host familiar foe Denver University (8-6-0, 3-0-0 Summit) at 7 p.m. at the UNM Soccer Complex. It’s a matchup of two teams that have been ranked earlier this year — Denver as high as No. 4 in September, and the Lobos were just No. 24 last week.
But UNM is coming off a humbling 4-0 defeat at the hands of No. 11 Florida International on Saturday in Miami, a flurry of three second-half goals by the hosts and C-USA leaders subduing UNM. It was just the second time this season that the Lobos were outshot by an opponent and the 16th time they have allowed more than three goals under 16th-year head coach Jeremy Fishbein.
The loss also ended a six-game unbeaten streak that included four-straight wins and against South Carolina and UCLA.
“Still pulling grass and mud from between my teeth,” Fishbein wrote recently, adding that the Lobos “got a good kick in the chops.”
The Pioneers and Lobos are more than familiar with each other. Historically, they used to battle in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Recently, Denver was here in September for the 2017 Grange and Ashwill Invitational, though UNM played two other teams instead that weekend.
UNM leads the all-times series 20-13-3. Denver won last season in overtime as the No. 5-ranked team in double overtime, scoring eight seconds before the game was to be called a tie.
Denver assistant coach and former University of New Mexico standout Levi Rossi (2009-12) returns to face his alma mater.
Rossi was a two-time Academic All-American had 19 points on six goals and seven assists.