(ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico) Each side took a point from Saturday’s contest between hosts New Mexico United and the visiting Phoenix Rising FC. Devon Sandoval and Justin Schmidt netted the goals for the home side, and Phoenix’s Joey Calistri, a 62nd minute sub, notched a second half brace.
The trend of early goals continued for New Mexico. Fullback Manny Padilla whipped a stunning cross into the box in just the 4th minute, and Sandoval’s acrobatic connection found the twine. The 1:0 lead remained until the 53rd minute when New Mexico’s set play specialist, Chris Wehan belted in a beautiful piece of service to the back post and Justin Schmidt was there to finish.
In the 74th minute, just twelve minutes after subbing in, Phoenix’s Calistri struck a sublime ball with the outside of his foot, that curled past United keeper, Ben Beaury. In the 90th minute, a frenetic Phoenix attack finally paid off. After two of their strikes pounded into the woodwork, a ball settled for Calistri just outside the 18, and he netted his second wonder-strike of the evening to equalize.
With San Antonio’s victory over Fresno, and LA Galaxy II’s drubbing of OKC Energy, United now find themselves in 10th in the Western Conference standings. While a point against Phoenix is nothing to scoff at, United’s playoff prospects would have been much improved if they could have walked away with all three. The four remaining matches, 3 of which are home matches, are absolutely crucial.
NM: Sandoval (4); Schmidt (53)
PHX: Calistri (74, 90)
NM: Frater, 41’ (Yellow); Hamilton, 48’ (Yellow); Padilla, 58’ (Yellow); Guzman, 68’ (Yellow)
PHX: Jahn, 13’ (Yellow)
NM: Possession: 43.2% Shots: 13 Shots on Goal: 4 Saves: 3 Fouls: 20 Corner Kicks: 3 Offside: 3
PHX Possession: 56.8% Shots: 17 Shots on Goal: 5 Saves: 2 Fouls: 14 Corner Kicks: 6 Offside: 0