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New Mexico scoring blitz earns victory against Matadors in Open Cup

By Staff, 04/17/24, 12:14AM EDT


Swartz, Bruce, Akale score on consecutive shots in four-minute span to send side into Fourth Round

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – It took almost an hour for New Mexico United to find the breakthrough against amateur side Lubbock Matadors in the Third Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Once the opening goal arrived, however, there was no stopping the hosts, who scored on three consecutive shots across the span of three minutes, 58 seconds to pave the way to a 3-1 victory at Rio Rancho Stadium and a place in Thursday’s Round of 32 draw.

The amateurs from Texas threatened early on to take the lead when Luke Jones flashed a finish wide of the right post in the 13th minute, but as the half went on New Mexico began to take control. Jacobo Reyes went closest to breaking the deadlock in the final minute of the half as his curling shot hit the outside of the left post, but soon enough United found its way,

Harry Swartz opened the scoring in the 58th minute as he slid in to finish from close range off a cross by Daniel Bruce before the English forward added a goal to his assist 90 seconds later with an immaculate chip from just inside the top of the penalty area.

As audacious as Bruce’s finish was, it was matched by Mukwelle Akale, who capped the run of scoring in the 62nd minute with a free kick from more than 30 yards out that swerved and dipped into the net after a ferocious shot.

The Matadors pulled back a consolation goal in second-half stoppage time when Shuma Sasaki converted from the penalty spot, but by then New Mexico’s place in the next round – and chance to be paired with an opponent from Major League Soccer – had been comfortable secured.

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