Return of Moreno and Najem not enough to power United

New Mexico United traveled to Tacoma with hopes of ending the unbeaten home run of the Defiance. The return of Amando Moreno and David Najem was supposed to be a spark for a club that has been struggling on the road.

Things didn’t turn out that way, however.

Moreno was handed the start in his return, and while he provided plenty of energy, his contribution on the pitch was questionable at times. Despite a confident appearance, he was quickly dispossessed multiple times and just didn’t have the touch necessary on the afternoon. He had an attempt inside the first quarter-hour, but it was easily handled by Defiance keeper Andy Thomas.

The best opportunity from either side came from the hosts when Alex Tambakis was forced to make a diving save to his left. He was forced into action after a powerful header came by way of Sam Adeniran. As the two sides traded possession, neither could gain the advantage in terms of finding a true threat on the net.

United’s efforts nearly paid off just after the hour mark. Twice within a matter of minutes, Moreno found himself played through the backline of the Defiance, the first time his shot was saved while in a one-on-one with Thomas. The second attempt took Moreno to the left of the goal, and Thomas came off his line to try and meet him. As Thomas went to the ground, he attempted to play the ball but completely missed and instead took down Moreno as he played around the keeper. Despite the clear contact from Thomas, the referee did not award a penalty to United.

The visitors were able to create a few chances after those from Moreno, but none would come as close to breaking open the scoring. At the same time, Tacoma was unable to threaten at the other end of the pitch, and both sides walked away with a point for their efforts.

Player of the Match

Alex Tambakis – Credited with two more saves this week, Tambakis had another stellar performance. The result today gives United and Tambakis five clean sheets for the season.

Up Next

United has an extended break from league play before they return to action on Saturday, August 14. When they do return to the pitch, they will once again play host to El Paso Locomotive FC for their final regular-season match against their rivals. The last time the two sides met, they played to a goalless draw at The Lab.

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