Playing at home on senior night and in their final home game of the season, the University of New Mexico Lobos will face University of North Carolina, Charlotte 49ers
on Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. at the UNM Soccer Complex.
Seniors Sam Gleadle, Luke Lawrence, Jason Beaulieu and Lucas Seligman will be honored that night.
Playing in Conference USA, the 49ers were preseason favorites and are currently in fifth place with nine points just one behind the Lobos who occupies the fourth spot with ten points.
This is the last C-USA game for 49ers and winning this will propel them to fourth place swapping positions with the Lobos. The Lobos will play their last game of the regular season against Old Dominion who currently occupy the second spot in C-USA with 15 points.
The Lobos’ most recent game was against Denver and went into double overtime — the Lobos failed to get the game-winning goal. Junior Antoine Vial was sent off in the match for the Lobos, thus making himself unavailable for the upcoming game.
The Lobos are now 8-4-3 overall and 3-2-1 in C-USA.
Defensively, the Lobos have been solid and allowed only 16 goals this season. Junior defender Aaron Herrera is having a stellar season with five goals and five assists to his name. With the previous draw, goalkeeper Beaulieu also registered his fourth shutout of the season.
The 49ers won their last game against Georgia State in overtime as the match finished 4-3 at the end of 90 minutes. Charlotte are 6-4-4 overall and 2-1-3 in C-USA.
Charlotte’s junior redshirt Daniel Bruce leads the Pioneers’ offence having accumulated 14 points on five goals and four assist this season. Sophomore Teddy Chaouche and junior Tommy Madden are tied for second on the team with three goals apiece.
The 49ers are ranked second in C-USA and sixth in the nation in shots on goal per game at 7.29. They are also ranked seventh in the nation in shots per game recording 16.07.
Defensively, C-USA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year and goalkeeper, Elliot Panicco leads the Pioneers as he has posted three shutouts between the posts this season. Panicco has had 13 career shutouts.
Last season, the Lobos and the 49ers met twice, first on Oct. 8 and again in the C-USA tournament. During their first meeting of the season, the 49ers were ranked 17th in the nation, and the Lobos lost 2-1, while playing away from home. In their second meeting, the 49ers improved to fifth in the nation, and the Lobos were victorious 2-1 in the C-USA semifinal. The Lobos went on to defeat FIU 3-0 in the finals and lift the C-USA trophy.
Scoring the first goal will be crucial as the Lobos would like to avoid the added pressure of equalizing. Also, playing under coach Fishbein, UNM is 171-14-22 when scoring first.
While the 49ers are ranked highly in the nation in taking shots, the Lobos have also looked solid defensively making this an interesting encounter. Lobos forward Sam Gleadle will be returning from an injury in the upcoming game.
The previous game saw Lobos play a 4-4-1 formation instead of their usual 4-4-2. Surprisingly, defender Aaron Herrera was playing as a makeshift forward in the latter part of the game. This change may be due to UNM playing with ten men or given Herrera’s form in front of the goal this season. It may be exciting to see where coach Fishbein starts Herrera in the game against Charlotte.
The Lobos will next face Old Dominion in a C-USA game on Nov. 3 at 5 p.m. in Norfolk, Virginia.
Ajinkya Patil is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ajinkyapatil_16.