Lots of Saturday home matches are exactly what New Mexico United president/CEO Peter Trevisani wanted to see for his club in 2022 – with one exception.
United is booked for at least 10 Saturday matches at Isotopes Park according to the USL Championship schedule released Wednesday.
That total no longer includes the team’s season-opener against Las Vegas Lights FC, which was announced last week to take place on Saturday, March 12, but now will be pushed back one day to Sunday, March 13.
The change was made to avoid a schedule conflict with the New Mexico Activities Association Basketball Championships, which will conclude March 12 with state finals at the Pit.
“We didn’t think asking New Mexicans to choose between supporting their local high school teams and cheering for the Black and Yellow was the right choice,” Trevisani said in a club release.
Moving United’s opener to Sunday also will allow it to be broadcast on radio. ESPN 101.7 (KQTM-FM) plans to carry all of United’s matches this season, but is also committed to broadcasting the prep basketball championships March 12.
KQTM president Joe O’Neill said Trevisani agreed to reschedule United’s opener as soon as he learned of the conflict.
“Peter wanted the focus to be on the kids,” O’Neill said.
Even with the Sunday opener, United’s home schedule features at least 12 weekend matches with one late-season date (vs. LA Galaxy II) yet to be determined. The team has four midweek home matches scheduled, down from six last season.
United drew an announced 7,727 fans per home match last season but averaged more than 9,000 for weekend matches despite various COVID-19 restrictions.
New Mexico will play a 34-match schedule this season with 17 home dates.
USL Championship clubs begin practice in early February with exhibition games starting shortly afterward.
Exhibition schedules have not yet been released.
STAYING AND GOING: United announced this week that defender Austin Yearwood will return for a fourth season with the club. Yearwood was credited with the USLC’s Goal of the Year for his June 16 tally against San Antonio last season.
Midfielder Saalih Muhammad and goalkeeper Philipp Beigl will not return for 2022.
Muhammad came to United on loan from Oakland Roots last season and is still under contract with Oakland.
Beigl signed with El Paso Locomotive FC this week.
NEW MEXICO UNITED
Matches at home unless noted. Kickoff times TBA
March 13: Las Vegas Lights FC
March 19: at El Paso Locomotive
March 26: vs. Orange County SC
March 30: vs. Oakland Roots SC
April 16: at Phoenix Rising FC
April 23: vs. San Antonio FC
May 4: at Sacramento Republic FC
May 7: vs. San Diego Loyal SC
May 14: at Charleston Battery
May 21: vs. Phoenix Rising FC
May 28: at Indy Eleven
June 4: at Orange County SC
June 15: at Oakland Roots SC
June 22: vs. Rio Grande Valley FC Toros
June 25: vs. Birmingham Legion FC
July 2: at Monterey Bay FC
July 9: vs. Rio Grande Valley FC Toros
July 13: at FC Tulsa
July 16: vs. Pittsburgh Riverhounds
July 23: at Detroit City FC
July 31: at New York Red Bulls II
Aug. 3: vs. Sacramento Republic FC
Aug. 6: vs. Miami FC
Aug. 14: at LA Galaxy II
Aug. 17: vs. Memphis 901 FC
Aug. 20: vs. Monterey Bay FC
Aug. 27: at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Sept. 2: vs. El Paso Locomotive FC
Sept. 10: at Rio Grande Valley FC Toros
Sept. 18: at San Antonio FC
Sept. 30: at Las Vegas Lights FC
Oct. 9: at San Diego Loyal SC
Oct. 15: vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks
TBD: vs. LA Galaxy II