Penalty-plagued New Mexico United loses at Oakland - Albuquerque Journal

Penalty-plagued New Mexico United loses at Oakland

Yellow was not a winning color for New Mexico United on Saturday night.
NMU picked up a deck’s worth of yellow cards but could not put a ball in the net and ended up taking a 1-0 road defeat to Oakland Roots SC in Hayward, California.
Jonathan Rodriguez’s tap-in goal off a well-placed centering pass in the 63rd minute accounted for the only score of the evening. Oakland (1-1-1) had the better of possession (57%) and finished with a 13-9 advantage in shots.
That was just part of the frustration for United (1-1-0), which spent much of the contest on the wrong side of the game’s referee. New Mexico was dealt seven yellow cards, including three to its bench, and two to midfielder Justin Portillo.
The resulting red card sent Portillo off in the 71st minute and United played the rest of the contest a man down.
“Just a strange night,” United coach Zach Prince said in a postgame phone interview. “I’m not making excuses, we’ve got to come away with a point from that match minimum, and offensively we’ve got to create more clear-cut chances.
“At the same time, that was some of the worst turf I’ve seen and it played really inconsistent. I thought there were inconsistencies in the way the game was officiated, too.”
Saturday’s match was relocated to Cal State University East Bay’s Pioneer Stadium because of field issues at Oakland Roots’ normal home facility, Laney Stadium. Both teams appeared to struggle with odd bounces and skips at times, and Prince felt one of those unexpected hops helped set up Oakland’s counter-attack goal.
Oakland received only two yellow cards on the evening but had the bulk of the scoring opportunities. Roots SC took all of the match’s seven corner kicks and had several chances in transition. But NMU’s back line managed to turn most of the threats aside and goalkeeper Alex Tambakis chipped in with a stellar deflection on a blast by Oakland’s Linto Mfeka.
“I thought we played good defense except for a few times we got too stretched out in transition,” Prince said. “Alex had to make the one good save, but other than that we held up pretty well. Offensively, we just didn’t threaten them enough.”
The closest New Mexico came to scoring was in the 19th minute when Santi Moar sent a contested shot in from the left wing that Oakland goalkeeper Paul Blanchette appeared not to see. The ball banged off the left post and rolled across the goal but NMU had no one in position to knock it home.
Portillo will be forced to serve a one-game suspension next Saturday when United visits Monterey Bay FC. United will first host NMSU UDA for a U.S. Open Cup second-round match Tuesday at Rio Rancho High School at 7 p.m.
OAKLAND ROOTS SC 1, NEW MEXICO UNITED 0 
New Mexico     0  0  — 0
Oakland        0  1  — 1
Scoring: O, 63rd, Jonathan Rodriguez (Dariusz Formella). Shots: O 13, NM 9. Shots on goal: O 3, NM 4. Corner kicks: O 7, NM 0. Goalkeeper saves: O (Paul Blanchette) 4, NM (Alex Tambakis) 2. Records: O 1-1-1, NM 1-1-0.
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