March 20, 2022 – United Soccer League Championship (USL) – New Mexico United News Release
El Paso, TX – New Mexico United took their show on the road for the first time in the 2022 USL Championship season, and came out on top. United outlasted rival El Paso Locomotive FC by a 2-1 final score, snapping El Paso’s 23-match regular season home unbeaten streak in the process. Goals from Neco Brett and Tabort Etaka Preston helped fuel the victory for the visitors, as United took early claim of first place in the USL Championship Western Conference.
“What’s important about this game for us is that it shows a lot of character,” said United Head Coach/Technical Director Zach Prince. “We were able to – over periods of time – frustrate them by being excellent in our defensive mid-block, which is something that we’ve improved greatly on.”
That defensive unit was without three regulars tonight, as Austin Yearwood, Kalen Ryden, and Josh Suggs all missed the match through injury. But Rashid Tetteh, Will Seymore and Alexis Souahy were up to the task of holding the Locos largely at bay.
On the other side of the ball, United’s attack was firing early. In the sixth minute, Preston retrieved a ball near the far corner flag and fired a cross toward Brett, who took one touch before firing just wide of goal. 15 minutes later, it would be El Paso who would score first, as Dylan Mares streaked into an open box and fired into the top corner off a cutback pass from Emmanuel Sonupe. That score would be the only one El Paso would manage on the evening.
In the 32nd minute, United would respond. Goalkeeper Alex Tambakis lofted a clearance high into the air, where Daniel Bruce headed an excellent through ball toward Brett, who collected the pass, and chipped over goalkeeper Evan Newton for a 1-1 score. The goal is Brett’s second in as many matches for United.
United would seal the victory in the 66th minute, as a misplaced pass from Newton was intercepted by Justin Portillo, who found an open Preston. The Cameroonian opened his account for United with a well-placed pass into the side netting for a 2-1 United win.
More than 200 United fans made the trip to El Paso for the match.
Earlier in the day, New Mexico United’s academy bested Locomotive’s by a 4-0 final score. Goals from Ivan Moore, Taylor Rogers, and two from Aaron Cisneros paced the team, as they opened up their regular season in spectacular fashion, earning new Head Coach Luke Sanford his first victory in the role. Goalkeepers Evan Kowalski and Andre Vela Saenz combined to pick up the shutout.
Up next, United host defending Champions Orange County at home on Saturday 3/26. Tickets on sale now at tickets.newmexicoutd.com.
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