New Mexico United continued to struggle in regular season play as the team dropped another tight contest on Saturday evening.
United is now winless in its last five matches when it hasn't competed in the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup — the most recent defeat, a 1-0 loss to Real Monarchs.
Saturday's match saw both squads encounter early scoring chances in the first half, though neither were able to convert. New Mexico missed a good opportunity in the opening minutes, but goalkeeper Cody Mizell was able to patrol the net and keep things scoreless after 45 minutes of play.
Mizell made another acrobatic save just over three minutes into the second half — laying out to get a glove on a free kick and to deflect a ball that appeared to be tracking toward the upper right hand portion of the goal.
But Maikel Chang and the Monarchs eventually broke the stalemate in the 59th minute after his teammate was taken down. Chang stepped up and buried the penalty kick to notch the match's only goal.
United had other looks later in the match, but Monarch keeper David Ochoa saved all of the shots on goal he faced to record a clean sheet and preserve the 1-0 shutout.
The loss sent New Mexico tumbling further down the western conference standings, where the team is currently seventh and trailing conference-leading Phoenix Rising FC by nine points.
United's last non-cup victory came on May 25 when it took down Austin Gold FC by a count of 3-1.
New Mexico has been white-hot in the US Open Cup and will have a chance to advance to the semi-final round if it can get past quarterfinalist Minnesota United. The squads will face off against each other on Wednesday, July 10 at 6 p.m.
A win will crown the respective United club Midwest Champions and earn a date with the winner of the West Championship match between Portland Timbers 2 and Los Angeles FC.
New Mexico will resume its regular schedule on Saturday, July 13 when it heads to California to take on Fresno Football Club and complete its lengthy road trip against Sacramento Republic FC later in the month on July 24.
United's last home victory came way back on May 5 in a 3-0 shutout victory over San Antonio FC. The squad will finally return to Isotopes Park to host El Paso Locomotive FC on Jul 31 at 7 p.m.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball and baseball and contributes content for various other sports as well. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Robert_Maler