It took 574 days of playing away from home for New Mexico United to be able to play on their own pitch. In true United fashion, the prematch ceremonies were handled by local legends. Chevel Sheperd gave a tremendous rendition of the national anthem, Lobo Women’s soccer coach Heather Dyche delivered the official game ball, and the boss himself, Peter Trevisani, gave the ceremonial kick. It was a start true to who this club is.
As play got underway, neither side was able to gain an early advantage. Both clubs found themselves with a chance prior to the twelfth minute. Austin Bold FC’s came off of an early corner. United’s, meanwhile, came off of a cross from Sergio Rivas that Josh Suggs wasn’t able to find the target. The press from the home side was able to create a few turnovers and prevent the Bold from gaining any momentum.
Just before the magic minute, homegrown talent Sergio Rivas struck paydirt. With a stretch of possession that saw the ball touched by six different United players, it was Rivas that broke open the scoring. After receiving a pass just past the center-circle, Rivas played it out wide to Swartz on the right-wing. Raising his head, Swartz saw multiple United players making runs into the Austin box. His cross was picture perfect, allowing Rivas to head the ball past Hugo Fauroux.
In the 27th, United looked poised to double their lead. Amando Moreno found space down the left channel, opening up a chance for Andrew Tinari to deliver the ball over the top. As Moreno entered the final third, ball at his feet, Fauroux came well off his line and took down the forward, receiving a yellow card for his efforts. The ensuing set-piece was taken by Rivas, whose strike was barely tipped over the bar.
United had no changes to begin the second half, but Austin had one that paid off immediately. Defender Nick Hinds came on in place of Collin Fernandez, and in under a minute, the visitors equalized. Juan Pablo Torres laid the ball off to Hinds just outside the left corner of the box, and his shot somehow got through United defenders and into the bottom right corner to pull level.
The following run of play saw United attempt to answer with a goal of their own. In the 48th, Kalen Ryden sent a ball nearly the length of the pitch for Moreno. After bringing the ball down, Moreno tried to play the ball past Fauroux, with what was either a shot or a pass attempt, but the Austin keeper was able to stop the play from developing further.
Ryden’s leg created another chance in the 61st once again going over the top. Looking for Suggs down the left side, Ryden’s pass was deflected by Fauroux who came well off his line. Unable to control the ball, Fauroux’s deflection fell to Brian Brown. Brown put a perfectly weighted chip into the far right corner of the goal to retake the lead for United.
The lead would be extended to two goals minutes later. With a run down the left-wing, Tinari had an opportunity to play the ball in for Moreno. The cross from Tinari was placed where only Moreno could get to it, and for the second time on the night, United scored from a header, making the scoreline 3-1.
Despite their best efforts, Austin was unable to get any closer, and United was able to see out the end of the match to earn their first win of the season.
Man of the Match
Sergio Rivas – It was quite the homecoming for Sergio Rivas, who put on a show for the United supporters. One goal, three shots on target, two chances created, and a stellar 89.3% passing accuracy. Rivas made an impact at both ends of the pitch on a night when United needed their midfield to make a difference.
United returns to action on Friday, May 21, when the club travels north to Colorado Springs. Their opponent that night, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC (1-1-0), is coming off of a loss to San Antonio FC. The match is scheduled to kickoff at 7:00 pm (MDT) from Weidner Field.