Well-rested United faces Oakland Roots on road - Albuquerque Journal

Well-rested United faces Oakland Roots on road

Late-match heroics have been business as usual for Oakland Roots SC this season.

Oakland, which hosts New Mexico United at Laney College on Wednesday night, has been at its best with the clock winding down. Roots SC has scored 12 of its 24 goals this season in the final 15 minutes of regulation or stoppage time.

Late strikes have helped Roots SC piece together a seven-match unbeaten streak that has it just one point behind Phoenix Rising for the final USL Championship Western Conference playoff position.

New Mexico coach Zach Prince is well aware of Oakland’s propensity for finding the net late. Roots SC (4-4-8) scored in second-half stoppage time on March 30 at Isotopes Park to pull out a 2-2 draw and leave a sour taste in the mouths of Prince and his players.

United, which is riding its own four-match winning streak, hopes to avoid any late disappointment in Wednesday’s rematch. The key, Prince said, is getting off to a fast start.

“Oakland’s a good team and they’ve been scoring a lot of goals late in games,” he said. “But for us, the mindset doesn’t change whether it’s the first minute or the 90th minute. If we want to be in a good position at the end of the game, we need to focus on the first 15 minutes and build from there.”

The closing minutes of matches haven’t always been enjoyable for New Mexico (6-2-4), which has allowed four goals in second-half stoppage time this season and scored just one. That includes United’s most recent outing on June 4, when host Orange County scored in the 91st minute to cut a 2-0 deficit in half and later had a penalty kick opportunity.

Goalkeeper Alex Tambakis made a clutch diving save to preserve a road win for United.

“It’s good to have Alex back there,” midfielder Sergio Rivas said. “When the game’s on the line, you know he can make a great save. It gives us confidence.”

In recent weeks, United has been building confidence on the offensive end, as well. After going nearly four full matches without a goal, NMU’s attack has netted 13 in its last four outings.

“I think it’s a matter of having a lot of new players,” Rivas said. “Getting to know everyone’s tendencies takes a little while before everyone starts clicking. That’s where we are now.”

Wednesday’s match will be United’s first in 11 days, and Prince emphasized the importance of not letting momentum slip away during the break.

Midfielder Harry Swartz agreed.

“I think it’s good for the body to have a break,” Swartz said, “but we’re happy with the win streak, too, and we’re not satisfied. We’ve worked hard to keep improving and the coaches have done a good job challenging us and reminding us we haven’t accomplished anything yet.”

INJURY UPDATES: Several key players are getting closer to returning for New Mexico. Defender Austin Yearwood, who has missed the past four matches, was a full participant in training Monday. Midfielder Josh Suggs and forward Amando Moreno participated on a limited basis.

Suggs has played in just two matches this season with a lower body injury, while Moreno is rehabbing from offseason ACL surgery.

COMING HOME: After Wednesday’s match, United will play three of its next four at home. NMU has played in Albuquerque just once since a May 7 draw with San Diego Loyal, which was its last appearance at Isotopes Park. NMU and Colorado Springs have played four home matches apiece this season, fewest among Western Conference clubs.

Home » From the newspaper » Well-rested United faces Oakland Roots on road

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

UNM has three opponents for November's Lobo Classic
The New Mexico men's basketball team ... The New Mexico men's basketball team will host Jacksonville (Ala.) State, North Dakota State and Northern Colorado in the Lobo Classic, to be held ...
UNM law grad Shapiro balances academics, big-time Ironman competitions
Featured Sports
Whatever Athena Shapiro does at the ... Whatever Athena Shapiro does at the World Triathlon Championships on Saturday in Montreal, it will be hard to top what she accomplished in a ...
Stewart, Cey, Moots going into ABQ Pro Baseball Hall ...
ABQnews Seeker
Two World Series MVPs and the ... Two World Series MVPs and the creator of the Albuquerque Dukes logo will be inducted into the Albuquerque Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.
Combat sports notes: 'Cowboy' tries again, to fight on ...
Edgewood resident Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, denied ... Edgewood resident Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, denied a fight by food poisoning in May and by a freak in ...
UNM creates 'Howl for Her' campaign for women athletic ...
ABQnews Seeker
University of New Mexico Athletics said ... University of New Mexico Athletics said Thursday it has launched a “Howl for Her” campaign that will raise funds specifically for Lobo women’s athletics. ...
Lobo women's hoops staff underdgoes several changes
Keith Freeman showed up in Albuquerque ... Keith Freeman showed up in Albuquerque this week with much to learn and eager to get started. He spent Wednesday afternoon prepping for his ...
Future (in 2025) Lobo wins Junior PGA Championship qualifier
Featured Sports
Thayer Plewe, a 17-year-old who has ... Thayer Plewe, a 17-year-old who has committed to the University of New Mexico, said he was excited t ...
Estes was linchpin in UNM's reach for sports equality
Title IX, passed into law on ... Title IX, passed into law on June 23, 1972, changed the women’s athletics landscape – and Linda Estes’ job – dramatically
Sports Speak Up! On pro golf, Rapinoe and Eldorado's ...
Featured Sports
THE DISCUSSION leading up to the ... THE DISCUSSION leading up to the U.S. Open was mostly about Phil Mickelson and then switched to the winner, Matt Fitzpatrick. But not much ...