Home New mexico united Prince expects United’s attack to start flowing, like ketchup

Prince expects United’s attack to start flowing, like ketchup


New Mexico United coach Zach Prince opened his latest media session with a trip to the condiment aisle.

Prince, his players and United fans are eagerly waiting for a flood of goals to start piling up in their favour. For the past few weeks, that’s been a trickle at best, leaving New Mexico stranded in the hunt for the USL Championship Western Conference playoffs.

Prince remains confident the barrage will break, especially after United fired a 19-shot barrage towards the frame in last week’s 2-1 loss to El Paso. But instead of using a descriptive analogy of flood control, Prince opted for ketchup.

“It’s like trying to get ketchup on a plate,” he said. “You shake the bottle, shake it, shake it and get nothing. Then, all of a sudden, there’s a pile of ketchup on your plate. I have the impression that we are in this kind of situation. The ketchup will arrive at some point.

United are hoping for a red plate on Saturday when they visit Rio Grande Valley FC for a key Western Conference game. New Mexico (11-8-9, 42 points) enters in fifth place, one point behind Sacramento and two ahead of El Paso. United have six games left to play.

Rio Grande Valley (9-12-6, 33 points) sits in 10th place, but just four behind seventh-place Las Vegas, which currently holds the last conference playoff spot. RGVFC still have seven games to play.

It’s been a tough season overall for the Toros, but with no team advancing to secure the final playoff spots, RGVFC are making a tough final effort. The Toros are 2-1-3 in their last six outings, including a 2-0 win over El Paso on Wednesday.

“RGV is a well-drilled team fighting to make the playoffs,” Prince said. “It’s a big game for both teams. We have to go into it with a ton of confidence.

On the pitch, United haven’t received many breaks lately. Shots to the woodwork and controversial calls changed the momentum of several games and prevented the scoring breakthrough that Prince and his players were looking for.

Midfielder Daniel Bruce prefers not to dwell on such things.

“You can’t,” he said. “We have to keep our wits about ourselves, how we approach training and be as prepared as possible. If we do that, the goals, the points and the results will come flooding in.

New Mexico received good fortune in terms of outdoor results. Sacramento, El Paso, Las Vegas and LA Galaxy II – in contention with United for a fourth place finish that comes with a home playoff – also spun their wheels.

Despite going 1-5-1 in their last five matches, United still have plenty to play for in the final weeks of the season.

“There’s always a sense of urgency when you’re approaching the end of the season,” Prince said, “but it’s not so much about rushing things as it is about having a cool head. Even after a match as frustrating as El Paso, where you dominate the game and get no results, we have to focus on the moment.

United went 1-0-1 in back-to-back home games against Rio Grande Valley in June, coming painfully close to a two-game sweep. NMU won the first game 1-0 and trailed by the same scoreline in game two, only for Toros defender Jesus Vazquez to equalize in the 90th minute.

“They’re a good team,” Bruce said of the Toros. “They will work hard and cover the pitch, but it’s nothing we haven’t faced before. What we have to understand is that every game is vital now. We have to come out and show it early in the game. .

PLAYERS TO WATCH New Mexico (11-8-9): United’s goal-scoring struggles reached a painful level in last week’s 2-1 loss to El Paso as NMU overtook the visitors 19- 8, created plenty of quality chances and had two apparent goals dismissed for offside calls. Still, the New Mexico offense applied constant pressure, and recently signed forward Kevaughn Frater was a key cog. Frater scored United’s only goal from a difficult angle and continued to make things difficult for the opposing defenders. Frater has one goal, one assist and nine chances created in his first four appearances. Neco Brett continues to lead the club with seven goals and 37 shots despite missing the last five games with a lower body injury.

Rio Grande Valley (9-12-6): The Toros have struggled for much of the season but are in the midst of a late playoff push. They are 2-1-3 in their last six games and have outscored their foes 11-5 in that span. Frank Lopez, who scored the go-ahead goal in RGVFC’s 2-0 win at El Paso on Wednesday, leads the club with five goals and 31 shots. Midfielder Ricky Ruiz, who has played in all 27 games for the Toros, assisted on both goals. Former New Mexico point guard Chelo Martinez leads the club with six assists and 39 chances created. Tyler Deric, who posted his fifth clean sheet against El Paso, served as the main guard for RGVFC, but Javier Garcia and Colin Miller saw time.

NOTE: United recorded a 1-0 win and a 1-1 draw in back-to-back home games against RGVFC on June 6 and 9. Defender Jesus Vazquez, who scored the Toros 90th-minute equalizer in Game 2, has since been traded to Indy Eleven for midfielder Jonas Fjeldberg. … Midfielder Daniel Bruce was on the active roster but did not appear against El Paso, the first game he missed for NMU this season. Bruce and midfielder Justin Portillo lead the club with 26 appearances each.