New Mexico United lost to San Antonio FC 1-0 Saturday, April 23 at Isotopes Park. The last time the two teams met up was October 2021, when United was able to beat them 4-2. NM United is now 2-2-2 and in eighth place in the United Soccer League Western Conference. United ended the game with 11 attempts at the goal while San Antonio had 13 attempts.
United started with the ball at the beginning of the match. Both teams were kicking around the ball, not making much progress until United’s Justin Portillo kicked San Antonio’s Connor Maloney in the face. The incident seemed to spark something within the teams as they finally started going at it and playing hard.
United started playing more aggressively, gaining more momentum; they started attempting more shots at the goal, and players continued to try to make something happen with the ball.
Despite good offensive play on behalf of United and a weak offensive showing from San Antonio, the two teams entered halftime tied 0-0.
San Antonio started with the ball at the beginning of the second half, which signaled what became a difficult half for United, especially with the officiating.
There was a foul called on United’s Sam Hamilton in the 67th minute. Hamilton was said to have taken down Justin Dhillon within the penalty box. Hamilton’s foul led to a penalty kick for San Antonio. United goalkeeper Cody Mizell missed the save, and San Antonio went up 1-0.
The United team continued to play hard for the remainder of the half, but they still struggled to score a goal, leading to a 1-0 loss. The game was their fourth in a row that the team finished with a loss or tie.
Cristian Nava played his first full game this season on Saturday. United head coach Zach Prince said Nava earned the starting position with hard work in practice. Prince said Nava’s offensive skills make him stand out.
“When he faces someone up to dribble, there is fear. You can see it in their body language,” Prince said.
Midfielder Daniel Bruce said, after the game, that every United player needed to look at their own play on and off the ball after the loss. He also said it's important to piece together 90 minutes of good play, especially at home games.
“I need to take a little bit of time and really think about the next course of action before going into Sacramento,” Prince added.
United’s next game is Wednesday, May 4 against Sacramento Republic FC at Heart Health Park in California.
Mackenzie Schwartz is the photo editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mackenzid5