The University of New Mexico men’s soccer team will take on the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers in the second of three straight matches at home on Saturday, Oct. 14.
The Lobos (7-3-1, 2-1-1 C-USA) are coming off of a 3-1 win against Florida Atlantic, a match which saw them score twice in the final four minutes to seal the victory. It was the third straight win for a New Mexico side that is once again receiving votes in the national polls, and currently sitting fourth in Conference-USA.
The Blazers (3-4-3, 0-3-1 C-USA) are coming off of a 2-1 victory over Central Arkansas, the team’s only win in their last seven matches. UAB has posted a record of 1-4-2 over that stretch.
The start of conference play has not been kind to the team, as it was forced to face the top three teams in the conference—Kentucky, Old Dominion and Florida International—all of which were losses. The Blazers did earn a draw against Charlotte, but are tied for last in the C-USA standings with South Carolina.
The main man offensively for UAB is sophomore Massimo Ferrin, who has posted four goals and one assist in a strong follow up to a freshman campaign that saw him named to the Conference-USA All-Freshman Team. Another threat for the Blazers is redshirt-senior Rami Dajani, who has posted two goals and two assists as part of their balanced attack.
In goal, the Blazers rely on redshirt-freshman James Teal, who has posted three shutouts this season to go along with a 1.16 goals against average and a .755 save percentage. Teal and Ferrin are a part of the youth movement for UAB, the team has 21 underclassmen on the roster, in contrast to just eight upperclassmen.
The Lobos will be looking for a performance similar to what they had last week. The Lobos did an excellent job of playing back to front, with everyone involved in the attack. Aaron Herrera had another strong day and scored his fourth goal of the season; and the Lobos will once again be looking for him to be involved on both ends.
The Lobos back line will need to contain Ferrin and Dajani, and limit their chances in front of goal, in order to avoid giving up a goal like the one they conceded to Florida Atlantic, which coach Fishbein said he thought was disappointing.
A win would go a long way for the Lobos as they look to climb into the top three in Conference-USA. Prior to Saturday’s matches, the Lobos were just three points behind third place FIU, which will be playing at South Carolina. A win would allow the Lobos to at least keep pace, regardless of the result in that match, with a head-to-head matchup still to come next Saturday.
A loss could make the Lobos position more precarious, as Charlotte is just two points behind the Lobos in the standings, and could potentially leapfrog UNM if they’re able to secure their first road win of the season against FAU on Saturday night.
The Lobos match will have a stream accessible through golobos.com, as well as a live stats feed. The game begins at 7 p.m. 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.