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U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals Preview – Los Angeles FC vs. New Mexico United

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 07/08/24, 12:41PM EDT


Current Western Conference leaders in their respective leagues set for showdown

New Mexico United and midfielder Marco Micaletto will try to deliver another major upset of a top Western Conference club in Major League Soccer as it visits Los Angeles FC on Wednesday night. | Photo courtesy New Mexico United

Current USL Championship Western Conference leader New Mexico United will try to go one better than its historic run in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup five years ago as it visits current Major League Soccer Western Conference leader Los Angeles FC on Wednesday night at BMO Stadium.

Here’s what you need to know about the Quarterfinal clash.

Los Angeles FC vs. New Mexico United

Venue: BMO Stadium
Kickoff: 11 p.m. ET
Broadcast: AppleTV+

The Lowdown: New Mexico United will try to pull off its second upset of a top team in Major League Soccer’s Western Conference as it visits Los Angeles FC with both teams currently in strong veins of form in their respective leagues.

New Mexico earned its 10th consecutive home victory in the USL Championship dating back to the 2023 season last Wednesday night with a 2-0 win against Orange County SC that saw Abdi Mohamed score the insurance goal after Avionne Flanagan’s creativity caused an own goal for the visitors at Isotopes Park. United has won three games in a row overall to sit with 11 wins in 16 league outings this season, putting the side five points clear at the top of the Western Conference with fewer games played than its closest competition.

LAFC, meanwhile, earned a 2-1 victory against El Trafico rival the LA Galaxy last Thursday night before more than 70,000 fans at the Rose Bowl to move top of the Western Conference with its 13th win of the season. MLS veteran Kai Kamara and star forward Denis Bouanga scored first-half goals against the Galaxy, giving the side three consecutive wins and extending its undefeated streak to 12 games across all competitions. LAFC was scheduled to visit Houston Dynamo FC on Sunday night, but the game was postponed due to inclement weather, leaving the side to head back to California without having seen action over the weekend.

How They Got Here

New Mexico United – A blitz of three goals in five minutes by Harry Swartz, Daniel Bruce and Mukwelle Akale saw New Mexico advance past amateur side Lubbock Matadors in the Third Round before the side record one of the results of the Fourth Round with a 4-2 victory against Real Salt Lake at Isotopes Park. Zico Bailey scored twice in three minutes before Nicky Hernandez scored shortly before halftime and Jacobo Reyes sealed the result late. United then used a big second half to take a 3-0 win against New York City FC II in the Round of 16 as center backs Anthony Herbert and Talen Maples added to Flanagan’s opening goal in the 50th minute.

Los Angeles FC – LAFC pulled away with two goals in the final 20 minutes from Cristian Oliveira to take a 3-1 victory against the USL Championship’s Las Vegas Lights FC in the Fourth Round before an early goal by United States international Timmy Tillman set the stage for a 3-0 victory against Loudoun United FC that saw Oliveira and Tomas Angel score in the second half goals as goalkeeper Abraham Romero notched a six-save shutout at BMO Stadium.

Spotlight Players
Los Angeles FC – Denis Bouanga:
The Gabon international has started each of LAFC’s two Open Cup games this season, a statement to how seriously the club is taking the tournament, and has recorded 14 goals and nine assists in MLS to sit tied for second in the Golden Boot race.

New Mexico United – Marco Micaletto: The offseason arrival has been a key to New Mexico’s consistency this season, recording one goal and three assists while leading the side with 24 chances created. His influence either as a deep-lying playmaker or further up the field could be crucial for the visitors.

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