(IRVINE, CA) What seemed like 3 points eventually turned to 1 as New Mexico United saw their 2 goal halftime lead disappear.
New Mexico United came out of the block swinging. Santi Moar notched the first goal in the 14th minute and Kevaughn Frater added another in the 33rd. At 45 minutes, up 2-0, New Mexico United seemed destined for victory. Their attack was relentless and Orange County SC didn’t seem to have an answer.
Darwin Jones put the first OCSC goal away in the 59th minute to make it 2-1. NM United dug in, and Coach Troy Lesense shifted personnel and strategy. It held for 30 plus minutes, until veteran Leonardo headed home the equalizer for OCSC in the 93rd minute.
New Mexico United is an expansion team. Orange County SC won the Western Conference regular season last year. Objectively speaking, taking 1 point from Irvine is commendable, but given the context of the match, New Mexico has to be disappointed that they didn’t walk away with 3.
It’s been a brutal schedule, and Head Coach Troy Lesesne has been forced early to strategically allocate minutes, and calibrate on-the-fly lineups. Circumstances aside, the second half continues to plague NM United. When they can execute the second-half closeout, United will be incredibly dangerous.
Man of the Match
It’s impossible to ignore Santi Moar’s contributions to the attack. 4 goals in 3 matches should have the Western Conference of the USL Championship on notice.