A New Mexico United regular season that began in March, before Major League Baseball’s first pitch, and went on after MLB’s regular season concluded, finally comes to a wrap Saturday with a home match vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
The showdown vs. the regional rival won’t be curtains in 2022, and there are stakes for a United team (12-9-12) that has clinched a spot in the United Soccer League Championship division postseason.
United can finish anywhere from fourth to seventh in the Western Conference, and seven teams from the West make the playoffs.
A win Saturday vs. Switchbacks FC (17-12-4) and a loss by Sacramento (14-11-8) to visiting San Diego (18-9-6) assures United its first home playoff outing in its brief club history.
Anything else and United goes on the road to open the postseason. The club and its fans, even with a win vs. Switchbacks FC, won’t know immediately. San Diego and Sacramento kick off at 8 p.m. MT, an hour after United does at Isotopes Park.
United head coach Zach Prince acknowledges what’s out of his team’s hands.
Still, “we can also set a wins record,” he said after United won 3-2 Wednesday at home in a makeup game with Los Angeles Galaxy II. “We set a points record tonight. We tied our wins record tonight. A lot of exciting things are happening and there’s a lot of momentum heading into the postseason, and that’s where we want to be.”
United has been percolating offensively, scoring thrice in its last two outings.
“I really like where we’re at as a group mentally everybody,” said United’s Sam Hamilton. “And yeah, I’m really optimistic about the game this weekend and and playoffs beyond that.”
TEAM HONORS: The club is soliciting online fan votes for several team awards through the conclusion of the season, including:
• Humanitarian of the Year
• Somos Unidos Award
• Newcomer of the Year: Justin Portillo, Alexis Souahy, Will Seymore
• Defensive Player of the Year: Alex Tambakis, Kalen Ryden, Harry Swartz
• Attacking Player of the Year: Chris Wehan, Amando Moreno, Neco Brett
• MVP: Portillo, Wehan, Tambakis
Voting takes place at the club’s website, newmexicoutd.com.