Opportunity repeatedly knocked for visiting New Mexico United in Seaside, California, but a winning answer never arrived.
Sergio Rivas cashed in a highlight-reel goal late in the first half, but that was all the visitors could muster in a 1-1 draw with host Monterey Bay FC.
After giving up a goal in the second minute, United (7-3-5) dominated most of the action and had several golden opportunities to take the lead. But most of those chances either missed the mark or were blocked by a tightly packed Monterey Bay defense.
New Mexico earned a point and moved to 5-1-1 on the road, remaining in seventh place in the USL Championship Western Conference. Still, the draw against last-place Monterey Bay (4-11-1) felt like something of a missed opportunity.
“Yeah, if we’d come away 2-1 at the end we’d be feeling a lot better right now,” United coach Zach Prince said in a postgame phone interview. “But I thought for big portions we dominated the game and played the way we wanted to. It was a much better performance than last week versus Birmingham, we just couldn’t get that second goal.”
Monterey Bay wasted little time taking a lead at Cardinale Stadium, capitalizing on a missed tackle attempt to score in the second minute. Morey Doner moved the ball into open space on the right wing and sent a cross toward the far post. Chase Boone elevated on the dead run and headed the ball back into the right side of the goal to the delight of 3,114 home fans.
New Mexico began to take control late in the half and finally capitalized in the 41st minute. Daniel Bruce advanced the ball up the right wing and centered it from near the top of the penalty area. Neco Brett deflected the ball back to Rivas, who left-footed his second goal of the season into the lower-right net cords to even the score at 1-1.
“Great goal,” Prince said. “Brucey got the quick centering pass to Neco, who made a nice adjustment and Sergio made it count. Just a sweet goal.”
Official match stats were not available late Saturday night, but New Mexico certainly had its shots at a go-ahead tally.
Justin Portillo sent a rocket toward the right side of the frame in the closing seconds of the first half that MBFC goalkeeper Carlos Herrera managed to stop with a diving deflection.
In the 78th, Rivas and Austin Yearwood had shots blocked by scrambling defenders, and Cristian Nava fired a rebound try just wide to the left.
Portillo and Brett later missed the frame in stoppage time, and Herrera grabbed Nava’s final attempt.
Monterey Bay had fewer opportunities but did put a late scare into the visitors after a poor defensive clearance. Robbie Crawford sent a bullet toward the net from point-blank range, but United goalkeeper Alex Tambakis got his right foot to the ball and sent it sailing to the sideline.
United returns home for back-to-back home matches this week, both against Rio Grande Valley, Wednesday and Saturday at Isotopes Park.
“We dropped two points (Saturday) but we have a big chance to make up for it,” Prince said. “That’s where our focus needs to be now.”
NEW MEXICO UNITED 1,
MONTEREY BAY FC 1
New Mexico 1 – 0 — 1
Monterey Bay 1 – 0 — 1
Scoring: MB, 2nd, Chase Boone (Morey Doner); NM, 41st, Sergio Rivas (Daniel Bruce). Official game stats unavailable. Records: NM 7-3-5, MB 4-11-1.
Rio Grande Valley FC at NM United, 7 p.m., espn+, 101.7 FM, Estrella TV
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