Despite a solid showing, the Lobos ended their six-game undefeated streak with a 4-0 road loss against Florida International University on Saturday.
The loss denoted UNM's most lop-sided defeat of the season and dropped the Lobos to an overall record of 8-4-2 overall and 3-2-1 in C-USA.
A contest between two of the top four teams in Conference USA ended with the Lobos losing and FIU carrying forward its own unbeaten streak. The Panthers (10-0-3, 5-0-1 C-USA) are unbeaten so far this season in 13 games, including wins in each of their last seven matches.
Coincidentally, New Mexico dealt Florida International its last defeat, knocking the Panthers out of the C-USA tournament by a score of 3-0. FIU's regular season unbeaten streak is actually 19 matches, dating back to last year. The team has surpassed the one-year mark as the last Panther loss in the regular season occurred on Oct. 4, 2016.
UNM’s Jason Beaulieu, who won last week’s C-USA Defensive Player of the Week award, produced a career-high ten saves on the night, but the UNM offense wasn't able to provide him any goal support.
Although the Lobos had the first shot of the night, they failed to capitalize on it.
"I thought we closed out the first half well but in the second half, we played to their strengths and made some mistakes,” UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein said in a release. “We're a very good team but a loss is a loss, no matter the margin. We have to quickly put this one behind us and be ready to play on Wednesday."
The first goal of the game was scored in the 22nd minute by FIU’s Joris Ahlinvi, when he slotted home a penalty kick.
"It was really just kind of a perfect storm tonight," Fishbein said. "I thought we opened the game really well but that was a pretty disappointing PK call to be honest. I haven't been able to look at the video yet, but it was unfortunate to go down 1-0."
The Panthers are the No. 1 ranked scoring offense in the nation, so conceding a solitary goal off a penalty kick was an impressive showing for the Lobo defense in the first half.
Florida International was able to stretch the lead in the second half and make the most of its scoring chances. FIU’s Paul Marie and Alessandro Campoy both had a goal and assist to their name. FIU outshot UNM 21-8 including a 14-4 shot on goal advantage.
The Lobos had their chances to score from set-pieces, out holding a 6-5 advantage over FIU in corners kicks. Of UNM’s eight shots in the game, the midfielders Devin Boyce and Antoine Vial registered three and two attempts, respectively.
New Mexico had four shots on goal, with Aaron Scott and freshman forward Nick Taylor firing accounting for one attempt, joining Boyce and Vial, who also had one shot on goal each.
The Lobos will likely be analyzing their defensive mistakes in the second half, since the three goals were all conceded in the span of 26 minutes. Beaulieu who kept UNM in the game was harshly punished for the last two FIU goals as he made outstanding saves but the rebounds were fired just past his reach into the goal.
The two upcoming games for the Lobos will be themed matches as they take on Denver on Oct. 25 in Albuquerque in the “Lobos Love Pink” game at 7 p.m., followed by "Senior Night" on Oct. 28, where UNM will face Charlotte at 6 p.m..
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.