Despite a career high 10-save effort from goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu, the New Mexico men’s soccer team was unable to generate any offense and fell to the Seattle Redhawks on Sunday by a score of 1-0.
From the outset, Seattle (2-0-0) controlled the first half of action, showcasing a prolific attack that quickly had the Lobos on their heels. The Redhawks recorded a shot from Cody Gibson less than a minute into the game.
The Lobos (0-2-0) did well to weather the storm during the first 20 minutes of the half when Seattle controlled the majority of the possession. All UNM could muster on offense were a few runs into Seattle’s third which were quickly stopped by the Redhawks defense.
It wasn’t until the the 22nd minute that New Mexico had its first chance of the game off a corner kick. Less than a minute later New Mexico defender Tom Smart was given a yellow card for a hard tackle in the corner.
The Lobos were able to generate their only shot of the half a few minutes later, but Aaron Scott's shot ended up wide of the goal.
In the 40th minute, Seattle finally able to put a shot off its own on target. Alex Roldan took a shot from distance that Jason Beaulieu did well to leap up and knock over the bar. On the ensuing corner kick, Tyler John was able to head Sergio Rivas’ kick on frame, but right into the waiting arms of Beaulieu.
The teams traded fouls as time expired and went into the break tied 0-0, but with Seattle seeming to be in firm control of the action.
After the break, Seattle didn’t miss a beat, as Medo Youssef forced another save from Beaulieu less than a minute into the period. From there, the Redhawks got two more shots off before a yellow card was issued to Julian Avila-Good.
That appeared to stall Seattle's momentum enough for the Lobos to get their first shot of the period off. The teams continued to trade shots until the 65th minute, when the Redhawks reasserted themselves.
Things got chippy after a yellow card on New Mexico’s Noah Bushey in the 70th minute lead, which lead to a brief stoppage of play as tensions between the teams boiled over and there was some shoving between the sides near midfield.
Seattle increased the pressure following the yellow on Bushey and was able to put four shots on goal over the next three minutes. Beaulieu was stingy between the posts, but the Redhawks eventually broke through in the 74th minute, as defender Nathan Aune scored on a header off of a corner kick from Sergio Rivas.
In a match where goal-scoring was scarce, Seattle tried to cling to the 1-0 lead that came with that coveted goal. But with time winding down, New Mexico's sense of urgency ratcheted up and it saw a series of great chances over the next several minutes.
Following a foul on the Redhawks, Alex Vedamanikam had perhaps the Lobos best scoring opportunity of the night, but his shot caromed off the crossbar in the 79th minute. Wedner Delmonte was able to grab the rebound, but his shot was also saved, setting up a corner kick opportunity for the Lobos.
UNM's Devin Boyce was able to get the corner into Sam Gleadle in the box, but again the attempt was denied by Seattle keeper Josh Adachi, which effectively sealed the victory as it was the last offensive opportunity of the match for New Mexico.
Seattle was able to control the ball for the final ten minutes of the match, as it attempted to add a second goal and put the match out of reach. Roldan forced a save by Beaulieu in the 89th minute, and the Lobos were able to fend off the two more corner kicks to keep the match 1-0 as the final whistle blew.
In a post-match interview, New Mexico head coach Jeremy Fishbein acknowledged some of the issues with the team’s performance and how Seattle was able to exploit them.
"We didn't show up today," Fishbein said in a release. "We got Seattle's best game and we didn't give ourselves the opportunity to play our game. We played into their hands, didn't match their intensity and didn't match the physical level required for the game.”
Despite the lack of ability to generate offense—the Lobos were outshot 20-6—and the defensive issues in front of Beaulieu, Fishbein said he is excited about his team’s potential and the upcoming home opener.
"This game is enlightening for us and is a great challenge because we have a wonderful group of players," the head coach said. "It is a challenge for all of us to handle this properly. The exciting thing is that we get to come back and play at home. I'm excited about this group and to see what we're about as the season progresses."
Next up, the Lobos return to Albuquerque kick off the home slate next Friday, Sept. 1 against UNLV at 7 p.m. Afterward, the team will be back on the road to take on Marquette on Monday, Sept. 4.
Cameron Goeldner is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer but also contributes to baseball, football, basketball and track and field reporting. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.
Ajinkya Patil is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ajinkapatil_16.