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United moves another match out of state, but it will be televised

New Mexico United midfielder Saalih Muhammad, right, celebrates with teammate Juan Pablo Guzman, left, after Muhammad scored a goal in the first half of a July 11 match against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs. (Courtesy Colorado Switchbacks FC)

Playing on New Mexico soil will continue to have to wait for New Mexico United.

But watching one of the team’s matches over New Mexico’s airwaves is on its way.

Due to the state’s public health order, the second-year USL Championship team has yet to play a match in New Mexico this season, and now knows that will extend until at least September.

The team announced Thursday it has moved its Aug. 15 home match against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC from Albuquerque to Colorado Springs, where the two teams played on July 11 when the league restarted its 2020 season. The Aug. 15 match at Weidner Field will kick off at 3 p.m.

Though he was speaking specifically of this weekend’s road opponent, Phoenix Rising FC (another match that was previously scheduled to be played in Albuquerque), United midfielder Daniel Bruce said earlier this week once any match starts, the focus is always the same.

“At the end of the day, when we step onto the Field doesn’t really matter what kit the opposition is wearing, we’re gonna we’re going to attack it in preparation in the game itself and in recovery afterwards in the same way for every single game,” Bruce said. “… When you’re in the battle, and you’re on the field playing at the end of the day, it’s the game that you want to win and just like any other USL Championship game, and we’re going to give it all that we have in the same way we did against OKC last week.”

The Aug. 15 game in Colorado Springs will, for the first time this season, be televised for fans to see free. United announced the game will be broadcast live on KOAT-TV, Albuquerque’s ABC affiliate. All games for the season are also streamed online on ESPN-plus, which requires a subscription.

“We are beyond excited that KOAT has stepped up to the plate to help us bring this match into the homes of so many New Mexicans,” said United owner Peter Trevisani in a news release. “Viewership numbers of streamed matches across the league have seen a huge increase with fans seeking the sense of normalcy that sports can provide. With this partnership, more people across our state will have access to experience this.”

The Journal has requested viewership numbers for USL Championship matches from ESPN, but was told streaming numbers are not made public as a company policy.

United (3-1-1, and unbeaten since the July 11 restart) plays Saturday in Phoenix, a match that was originally scheduled to be played in Albuquerque, but was also moved out of state due to the state’s public health order.

The revamped USL Championship season is 16 games, of which United has now played five on the road and is scheduled to play the next five on the road.

The first scheduled home match, for now, is Sept. 5 against El Paso in a match that would be played, likely without fans, at UNM’s soccer complex. UNM and United have an agreement in place for matches to be played at the university, but only if and when mass gathering and travel quarantine regulations allow.

2020 NM United Schedule/Results

As of Aug. 6, here is the updated New Mexico United 2020 USL Championship schedule:

• L, March 7: Austin Bold FC 1, United 0
• W, July 11: United 2, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC 1
• D, July 15: United 2, El Paso Locomotive FC 2
• W, July 24: United 2, El Paso Locomotive FC 1
• W, Aug. 1: United 3, Oklahoma City Energy FC 0
• Aug. 8 at Phoenix Rising FC
• Aug. 15 at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
• Aug. 19 at Real Monarchs SLC
• Aug. 22 at Real Monarchs SLC
• Aug. 29 at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
• Sept. 5 vs. El Paso Locomotive FC
• Sept. 12 vs. Real Monarchs SLC
• Sept. 19 vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
• Sept. 23 vs. Rio Grande Valley Toros FC
• Sept. 26 vs. El Paso Locomotive FC
• Sept. 30 vs. Real Monarchs SLC

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