The past, present and future from University of New Mexico men’s soccer team gathered to play its annual alumni game on Saturday. And after showcasing speed, energy and sharpness in their play, the current Lobos outscored the UNM Alumni squad 5-2 to win the match.
“Today was a fun game. Our alumni are very good players,” UNM head coach Jeremy Fishbein said. “They weren’t as fit, but it was fun to see everybody play, and for our guys to realize they are part of something bigger.”
With the score tied at 1-1, the alumni put together some good moves of their own to find the second goal as they headed into halftime.
After a combination of passes, alum Luke Lawrence found himself with a goal scoring chance — but his shot was only able to force a save from the goalkeeper.
Just a few minutes into the second half, the current Lobos strung together a series of passes from the 18-yard box and scored their second goal of the game to move out in front.
A few minutes later, the current collection of Lobo talent was on the offensive again. Nick Taylor played a quick one-two and fired a shot that rattled against the post. Unfortunately for the alumni, the rebound fell to Taylor again and he buried the ball into the back of the goal to make it a 3-1 game.
UNM collected another pair of scores to run its goal count up to five. The old guard fought back late in the game as the alumni tried to mount a comeback, scoring a consolation goal and cut the deficit to three — but that is where the score remained when the match ended as the former Lobos lost 5-2.
Having played against Phoenix Rising FC, the Pioneers from Denver and Air Force before the UNM Alumni game, the Lobos had been outscored 10-1 overall in the spring— losing the matches by scores of of 4-1, 3-0, 3-0 respectively.
Fishbein said he doesn’t look at the games as a whole, instead he observes where the team is getting better, learning and maturing. The head coach said overall he was content with the performance of the team as a unit.
He said the spring schedule has been a good learning lesson, which could be a good thing as the new additions to the team get to work out the kinks in sort of a make-shift preseason.
The Lobos could be viewed as a team in transition, but Fishbein said he expected things to look much different, especially offensively. He said he thought the team was “poor in the attack last year”, but have addressed those concerns and have quality attacking players moving forward.
With the final two games of spring against UC Irvine and San Diego State looming on the calendar, Fishbein said things will continue to be different than they are in the fall. He said they are matches where the team won’t have video and a scouting report on its opponent.
Fishbein said he and the UNM players will have to find the balance between defense and picking spots in which to attack.
“There is growth, I like the pieces that I see out here,” he said. “It’s going to be really competitive next year.”
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.