East Bay Roots vs. New Mexico United – Match Preview (April 1, 2023)

The Oakland Roots Soccer Flash Mob host New Mexico United for the Roots’ home opener part deux at Cal State University East Bay in the Hayward Hills on April 1, 2023.

The match is at 7:00 p.m. and you can read more about rules for the game here.

The Club

My biggest problem with New Mexico is that I really like them and most of their vibe. Cross-promotion with an art collective? Extremely weird marketing? Viable use of Wiz Khalifa? A city I don’t actively hate? I mean, what’s not to like?

As though that wasn’t enough, New Mexico are owned by a guy whose Wikipedia includes that he played college football with Doug Flutie(‘s little brother), made his money “internationalizing the availability” of an investment firm’s funds, and invested in his twin passions–immersive theatre and second division soccer. Apparently he is also an investor in Venezia F.C. and this motherfucker better not be stealing any of our god damned vikings, big or small.

United’s Form

Not much! For some reason this is only New Mexico’s second match. My guess is stadium availability, as they play another away game before their home opener on April 15.

They opened their season with an away match at Miami FC.

The highlights are extremely uninspiring. New Mexico had a modest advantage in possession, and the teams had the same number of shots. The highlights are not worth your time–the chances created are pretty pathetic, and Fotmob agrees, saying that New Mexico won the “big chances” battle 1-0. New Mexico’s goal came on a penalty awarded for a handball by a Miami player at the edge of the 18-yard-box. It was a nailed on penalty, but one that only incidentally affected play. The ball deflected off the defender’s hand, but it was behind the man the cross was trying to reach. The cross hit the defender’s hand because it was behind where it needed to be. The defender got between the cross and the forward it was intended for, but the ball swung right, away from the forward, and got the defender’s hand. All of this is to say that New Mexico was correctly awarded the penalty, but did not exactly earn a goal.

Without much else to look at, all I can tell you is that Miami are 0-2-1, with draws at home to Tulsa (1-2-1) and away to Pittsburgh (3-1-0). It’s not as clear as you might like whether a 1-0 away win over Miami is that good.

Roots’ Form

March 11at San Antonio FCL13
March 19at RGV TorosD11
March 25vs Memphis 901?????????
April 1vs New Mexico United
April 8at Indy Eleven
April 15vs Hartford
April 23at Loudoun
April 29vs Miami FC
May 6at Birmingham Legion
May 13vs Orb County
May 20at Sacramento
May 27vs San Diego Loyal
June 2at Colorado Springs Switchbacks
June 10at Phoenix Rising
June 17vs Pittsburgh Riverhounds
June 24vs Phoenix Rising
June 28vs RGV Toros
July 8at Tampa Bay Rowdies
July 15at Monterey Bay Union F.C. of Seaside
July 22at El Paso Locomotiv
July 26vs Las Vegas Lights
July 29vs Detroit City
August 4at Charleston Battery
August 19vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks
August 23at New Mexico United
August 26at Louisville City
September 2vs Sacramento
September 9at Las Vegas Lights
September 16vs FC Tulsa
September 23vs Monterey Bay Union F.C. of Seaside
September 30vs San Antonio FC
October 4at Orb County
October 7at Loyal
October 14vs El Paso Locomotiv

I wish I had something to say here other than see my last preview.

Players to Watch

Greg Hurst #17 – great Scot Hurst did the Charlie Dennis, making the jump from USL League 1 in 2021 to Phoenix Rising in 2022, where he got nearly 2,000 minutes but produced only 6 goals and 4 assists, of which only one of each was tallied after the start of July.

Santi Moar #11 – 29-year-old Spanish left-winger Moar had a great thee-year run culminating in a 2021 season in Phoenix with 16 goals and 4 assists and struggled to find that form again in 2022. Apparently excess to Juan Guerra’s requirements, he is back at New Mexico where he started that three-year purple patch. Moar got his start in America at Pfeiffer College in North Carolina, an 1,800-student liberal arts college whose most famous graduates (per Wikipedia) include Keith Crisco, who died suddenly while awaiting for results to be certified in his Democratic primary race against Clay Aiken for the NC-02 congressional district. We’re hoping Daily Kos may bring RootsBlog into the SBNation orbit.

Justin Portillo #43 – Portillo plays as a right-sided central midfielder, and lead New Mexico in minutes in 2022, contributing 7 penalty goals, 1 goal from open play, and 5 assists. Portillo played four seasons for Charleston Battery before getting his chance with Real Monarchs (such a good team name), including playing his way into Real Salt Lake for a dozen appearances between 2019 and 2021.

Sam Hamilton #4 – Ham Samilton.

Lineup and Score Predictions


I expressed my concern on this week’s RootsPod with playing a weird game away from Laney for our home opener, but I don’t think that’s enough to repress how excited these guys will be to play in front of the Roots faithful. I do think we will see some changes from what we saw two weeks ago, and I think that might mean things won’t click as well as I hope they will long-term. Before the abortive Memphis fixture, I wondered whether Hackshaw or Reid might be ready to start–now I strongly suspect they are. I think Pelaez opens his account. 1-0 Roots.


This would be my preseason starting 11 prediction. Now with an entire week to get everyone acclimated, my guess is we see the international signings all feature for the first time. It’s most tough to predict the left back role with Memo Diaz playing noticeably well through the first two games, but I’m thinking we see Wright. I’m really excited to see what Bryan Tamacas can do for a full 90 minutes. Just watching Tamacas for 10 minutes of regulation against RGV, I’m confident calling him the best player on the roster. As for my score prediction, I’m going 2-1 Roots with goals by Pelaez and Lindo.


Delgado integrates one new piece this week, and (and this is a change of heart from me since the pod) the Roots win, but it won’t feel like a victory because now we know that Jordan Ferrell once rocked this hairstyle and now does not:

2-1 Roots.

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