Unbeaten in their last six games, the University of New Mexico (8-3-1, 3-1-1 C-USA) will be on road, preparing to face Florida International University (9-0-3, 4-0-1 Pac-12) in Miami on Oct.21 at the FIU Soccer Stadium. FIU is the top team in Conference USA standing and is undefeated in this season.
In their last game, the Lobos drew 1-1 against UCLA in a match that went into double overtime. UNM junior Aaron Herrera scored a wonder goal from the half-line, his fifth goal of the season, giving him five goals and five assists on the season, making him the team leader in both categories. UNM’s redshirt sophomore Devin Boyce is tied in assists with Herrera.
FIU are ranked No. 1 in the nation in scoring offense. FIU head coach Kevin Nylen is having a stellar first season — he was promoted from first assistant to head after the conclusion of the 2016 season, and the Panthers are unbeaten in their last 12 games.
Leading the Panthers is C-USA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Santiago Patino. He has accumulated 28 points for the season, having registered 12 goals and four assists. Patino is also third and fourth in the nation in total goals and total points, respectively.
FIU goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux has started in 11 matches this season and tallied 36 saves so far while only conceding 13 goals.
Although the Panthers are undefeated this season, they have only registered three shutouts this season compared to six for the Lobos. The Lobos will look to gain confidence from this and try to get the first goal of the game. Under coach Fishbein, UNM is 171-14-22 when scoring first.
The last time the Lobos and Panthers faced off was in the Conference USA championships — the Lobos won that game 3-0 to claim the 2016 C-USA Tournament title.
The Panthers have the top offense in the country, averaging 3.08 goals per game, the toughest offensive test that the Lobos have faced all season. The Lobos have a 5-2-1 record when facing FIU. UNM’s Herrera, as well as their goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu, have been the standout players for the Lobos this season, and the upcoming game will certainly be a good test for them to showcase their skills once again.
Both the teams play in the C-USA conference and FIU leads the standings with 13 points, followed by Old Dominion and Kentucky, each at 12 points respectively. UNM is in the fourth spot with 10 points and with this win over FIU, they have a chance to share the lead.
The Lobos' will face Denver in their next match on Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. in Albuquerque at the UNM Soccer Complex.
Cameron Goeldner is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer, but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. 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 contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @ajinkyapatil_16.