TACOMA, Wash. – New Mexico United continued its undefeated start to the season as it claimed its first road victory in club history with a 2-1 win against Tacoma Defiance on Friday night at Cheney Stadium. Here are three takeaways from the contest:
ROLE REVERSAL: New Mexico United hadn’t trailed in its first four games in club history, but for the first time its resilience was tested as the Defiance struck in just the second minute to claim an early lead and put United into a hole for the first time. With plenty of time to respond, New Mexico didn’t press too hard, too soon and ended up doing enough to take all three points as it held a decisive 22-8 edge in overall shots and a narrow edge in duels and aerial duels. There will be bigger road tests than this for NMU down the road – its visit to Reno 1868 FC on April 20 stands out as its next big road trip – but it emerged from its first deficit in solid fashion on Friday night.
SHARPEN UP: Kevaughn Frater’s second goal of the season proved the game-winner with 13 minutes to go, but the Jamaican certainly could have helped New Mexico not only claim the lead but potentially polish the game off far sooner if his finishing had been better. Frater finished with seven shots overall on the night, but only his goal found the target with three missing the frame and another three being blocked by Tacoma’s defense. It didn’t end up mattering against the Defiance, but against a tougher opponent Frater is going to have to be more clinical in finishing his chances.
QUICK TURNAROUND: Tacoma flew out of the gates after tough defeats in its past two outings, but now having lost three consecutive games it faces the daunting task of welcoming one of the Western Conference’s powerhouses in Sacramento Republic FC to Cheney Stadium on Monday night. The two-day break should provide enough time for the side to recover physically from its encounter with New Mexico, but with the club’s losing streak now at three games there’s going to be some positivity needed to be injected into his side by Head Coach Chris Little to get the Defiance up for one of its toughest games of the season.