New Mexico –0 FC Tucson-0 (Exhibition)
TUCSON, Ariz. – Saturday evening’s spring exhibition finale was a final exam of sorts for the University of New Mexico men’s soccer team. It was a final match to punctuate a spring of conditioning, training and matches, and the Lobos walked away with a hard-fought scoreless draw against the semi-professional club FC Tucson. The draw was New Mexico’s first of the spring and came despite holding an advantage in shots (13-8) and shots on goal (9-4).
Senior goalkeeper Patrick Poblete picked up the clean sheet while recording four saves including a highlight reel save from his back after sliding to recover from another save. The shutout is the third of the spring for UNM. New Mexico surrendered just one goal in their final four exhibitions of the spring.
Poblete kept FC Tucson off the board with a trio of saves in the 80th and 81st minutes. The senior recorded back-to-back saves in the 80th minute with the second one coming from a prone position after sliding to recover from the first save. Coach Fishbein and the Lobos nearly got a late-game goal from Ben McKendry who uncorked a knuckleball of a shot that forced a save from FC Tucson’s Dallas Jaye in the 90th minute.
The Lobos nearly had the match’s first goal less than one minute into the second half, but James Rogers just missed wide left from 16 yards out after entering the game at halftime. It was the first of two quality chances for New Mexico in the first 15 minutes of the half. McKendry took a free kick just outside the 18-yard box in the 60th minute and hit the crossbar.
UNM was unable to find the back of the net in the first half despite holding a 4-1 shot on goal advantage and dominating possession in the midfield. The Lobo attack was active from the whistle as Niko Hansen forced the first save of the night from FC Tucson’s Billy Thompson just three minutes into the match. Hansen almost flicked home another goal 13 minutes later but missed high.
New Mexico had a goal from Mattie Gibbons negated by an offside call in the 33rd minute off a setup by Hansen at the top of the box on a nifty one-man attack. The negated goal came one minute after Nick Miele’s header off a Wehan corner was scraped away by a FC Tucson defender on a team save.
New Mexico starters: Poblete (GK), Gibbons, Gurule, Miele, McGovern, Dye, Fisher, McKendry, Wehan, Goss and Hansen.
First Half Sub: None
Halftime Subs: Rogers
Second Half Subs: Rochowski (74:42), Seligman (73:16)
· Saturday evening’s match was the second of the spring against a professional opponent. The Lobos faced the Colorado Rapids Reserves of the MLS to open this spring.
· Patrick Poblete recorded the shutout, which is the third UNM clean sheet of the spring. The Lobos surrendered just one goal in their final four exhibitions of the spring.
· Saturday evening saw alumni James Urbany, Vic Rodriguez, Lawrence Robledo and Travis Campbell take the field for the Albuquerque Sol of the PDL in their inaugural match.
· The match in Tucson was a bit of a homecoming for several Lobos. Goalkeeper Pat Poblete hails from Scottsdale while Josh Goss and Lucas Seligman spent time in Casa Grande, Ariz. with the Real Salt Lake Academy team.
Saturday’s draw with FC Tucson was the final exhibition of the team’s 2014 spring season. New Mexico will open the 2014 season with an exhibition against Fort Lewis College on Monday, August 18 at the UNM Soccer Complex.