Oct. 20, 2007
The University of New Mexico men's soccer team scored a 2-1 over UNLV in front of 3,408 fans at University Stadium tonight. Junior Chris Wright and sophomore Simon Ejdemyr both scored goals in the win, extending the Lobos unbeaten streak to eight games.
New Mexico (9-3-1, 4-0-1 MPSF) put two goals on the board despite UNLV packing the box with 10 players for almost the entire game. The Rebels played back and rarely took any chances on offense. However, in the 12th minute, they almost took the lead on a breakaway by freshman Daniel Cruz. Cruz, one of the top scorers in the MPSF with four goals and three assists on the season, got behind the Lobo defense on the right side and had a one-on-one with Lobo keeper Mike Graczyk. Cruz tried to go low-left, but Graczyk, a preseason All-American, stoned the Rebel attempt.
UNM's first strike came in the 34th minute when Wright started a give-and-go with senior Diego Barrera. Wright hit Barrera in the middle, 15 yards out. Barrera tapped the ball over to Wright on the left side who smashed a shot at Rebel keeper Calvin Bailey. Bailey looked to control the attempt but the ball squeezed through his hands, between his legs and trickled across the end line for the 1-0 lead. It was Wright's MPSF leading eighth goal of the season and the team-high fourth assist of the year for Barrera.
UNM took the 1-0 lead into the locker room, outshooting UNLV 8-2 in the opening period. The second half was more of the same from both teams, with UNLV packing the box and New Mexico trying to break down the Rebel wall. Senior Blake Danaher made a move down the left side and drew a fowl from UNLV, 25 yards out. Danaher fired the ensuing free kick at the near post, forcing Bailey to make a diving save. Ejdemyr was there to put in the rebound for the 2-0 lead and his third goal of the year. It was also the third assist of the season for Danaher.
New Mexico dominated play in tonight's game for about 82 minutes. That is when UNLV took advantage of a countering opportunity for their only score of the game. Cruz again got behind the Lobo defense on the right side. He tried a shot from 15 yards that Graczyk deflected. The ball rebounded in the air to the far post when sophomore Lamar Neagle was waiting to head in his seventh goal of the season and close the gap to 2-1.
The Lobos controlled play for the final eight minutes of the match to secure the win and keeper their lead in the MPSF race. UNM has next weekend off before traveling to UNLV to start the second half of the conference season. Game time in Las Vegas is set for 8:00 p.m. (M.D.T.).