Isotopes Park remained a goal-scoring desert for New Mexico United on Wednesday night.
Visiting Memphis 901 FC made the most of a few good opportunities and handed United a 2-0 defeat in front of an announced crowd of 7,414 fans. It was New Mexico’s third straight loss at home.
Memphis (16-5-3) did not exactly dominate the match, finishing with a 14-12 edge in shots on just 47% of the possession, but 901 FC took advantage of turnovers and put the ball in the net, something United has struggled mightily to do at home.
Luiz Fernando chipped a one-on-one opportunity over NMU goalkeeper Alex Tambakis in the 37th minute, and Phillip Goodrum scored on a breakaway in second-half stoppage time to seal the result. Aaron Molloy assisted on both goals, giving him 10 helpers for the season.
“Careless giveaways allowed them to get in transition,” United coach Zach Prince said. “We’re too far into the season for those kinds of things to happen and we have to clean it up. Just too many silly mistakes.”
On the attacking end, it was another frustrating night at the home office for United (10-6-9), which looked sharp and focused for much of the evening and spent most of it peppering crosses and serves into the Memphis penalty area. United finished with 29 crosses.
Nothing came of them, however, as the hosts finished with just three shots on goal.
Such a result seemed unlikely early, when a front line featuring Devon Sandoval, Kevaughn Frater, Chris Wehan and Cristian Nava moved the ball effectively and created several openings in front that lacked only a final touch.
“I want to be aggressive,” Prince said, “and I thought we were, especially in the first half. We’re getting the ball in good spots and not scoring goals. We just have to improve our focus in the important moments.”
Isotopes Park has not been an oasis for New Mexico’s attack. Since lighting up the scoreboard in a 7-0 win over Phoenix at UNM Soccer Stadium on May 24, United has scored a total of five goals in seven home appearances, posting a 1-4-2 record in those contests.
The home slump has not helped United in the standings. Sacramento moved past New Mexico for fourth place in the USL Championship’s Western Conference on Wednesday night. Although both remain in playoff position, fourth place receives the final home playoff match.
Prince conceded his team was “down” after Wednesday’s result, but he said there is no sense of panic.
“Our story is not written,” Prince said. “We’re together, no one’s looking at anyone else and we can still dictate the outcome of these last nine games. We’re not in the spot we want to be in right now at all, but I’m still confident in this group. We can dig our way out of this and I believe we will.”
INJURY UPDATE: NMU defender Will Seymore left the match late with a head injury after a collision. He was taken to a local hospital after the match, Prince said.
“Will’s feeling better and we think he’s okay,” Prince said. “He’s being monitored to be sure. Head injuries are just scary.”