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Moreno, United’s offensive MVP, will be back in 2021

New Mexico United forward Amando Moreno dribbles past a Colorado Switchbacks defender during the July 11 match at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs. (Courtesy Colorado Switchbacks FC)

Amando Moreno made an undeniable impact for New Mexico United last season. He just hasn’t made an impact in New Mexico yet.

Moreno did not get to play in front of the home fans in 2020, his first season with the United, but he’ll get another opportunity in 2021. The club announced Monday it has picked up Moreno’s option for next season, and the talented midfielder is looking forward to making a true home debut.

“The fans were definitely part of the reason I came to New Mexico,” Moreno said in a Zoom media conference. “It’s kind of a bummer I never got to experience our crowd, but it pumps me up even more to be coming back.”

Moreno, 25, appeared in all 17 of NMU’s matches last season with 15 starts. He accumulated six goals and four assists and set a club record points streak by contributing at least one goal or assist in nine consecutive games. Moreno was honored as United’s offensive MVP at season’s end.

“I’m happy with my stats and everything,” Moreno said, “but I personally feel I could’ve done a lot more. I want to double what I did this year, and hopefully we can make a longer run in the playoffs.”

Moreno’s return is the latest in a series of offseason roster moves for United. The club has announced some key returnees in recent weeks along with a few player departures.

Coming back thus far are Moreno, forward Devon Sandoval and defenders Kalen Ryden, Justin Schmidt and Rashid Tetteh. Departing for various reasons are midfielders Chris Wehan, Ryan Williams, David Estrada, Joris Ahlivni and forward Romeo Parkes.

More roster news is expected in the coming days.

BACKPACKS, BALLS AND BOOKS: The Somos Unidos Foundation will be partnering with Puma North America and A Kids Book About to donate 505 backpacks, 505 soccer balls and at least that many books to New Mexico children as part of its “Giving Tuesday” initiative.

Puma North America, United’s kit brand sponsor, will donate the backpacks and balls, which will be distributed to children in need. A Kids Book About, an Oregon-based book company which creates books aimed at explaining complex and difficult concepts in understandable and relatable ways for children, will host a buy-one, give- one campaign on Tuesday. Each “A Kids Book About” purchased nationwide will see a book donated to a New Mexico child with a minimum of 505 books to be donated.

Ben Terlin, author of “A Kids Book About Adventure,” will do a live interview on New Mexico United’s social media channels Tuesday at 6 p.m. More information on the book series is available at akidsbookabout.com.

NM United

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