Hello and welcome to the blog’s live coverage of Oakland Roots playing away at New Mexico United. Roots walk in clinging to fourth-place in the Western Conference following its 3-2 loss to Colorado Springs on Saturday, now set to face 10th place New Mexico United, perhaps providing an opportunity for Oakland to get back on track on a short-week of rest.
New Mexico has scored just as many goals as Roots so far this season with 33, but have been leaky on the defensive side with 35 conceded. At 8-5-10, NMU is 0-1-3 over its last four matches and haven’t won since a surprising 3-0 win over Sacramento on July 22. Bloom highlighted their run of form in today’s match preview:
Bad. United have been streaky this season, with three bad runs of form and only two good runs of form to try to balance it out, which totals up to sitting in twelfth… New Mexico’s results here are not great, but you don’t really envy their run of five games with the exception off Hartford. If you switch the Hartford and Sacramento results, you might say they are the expected results from a team fighting for playoff positioning (rather than fighting for a playoff spot at all), accounting for the opponent.https://oaklandrootsblog.com/2023/08/23/new-mexico-united-vs-oakland-roots-match-preview-august-23-2023/
RootsBlog Man of the Match – Danny Barbir & Paul Blanchette
We’re going with Danny Barbir and Paul Blanchette as our joint RootsBlog Man of the Match recipients for being the premier performers in Oakland’s 2-1 win over New Mexico United.
For Barbir, his two assist performance proved his value as a a do-it-all player for Noah Delgado. He’s a ball handler, distributor, defender, and will line up a shot once or twice a game.
Barbir has already set a career high in minutes this season with 2,247 and assists, now improving to three.
And what can’t we say about Paul The Wall? He made six saves, all by dives, including critical leaping stops to end both halves. With Oakland conceding in the final minutes, it feels like this match could’ve easily been a tie or worse without Blanchette manning the net.
- Who needs the ball? Oakland ended the night with just 37 percent of possession, but finished with 13 shot attempts and seven on target. It wasn’t the smoothest first half-hour for Roots with just one touch inside New Mexico’s penalty area at the time, but Oakland continuously built into the game. That’s been the case in several other matches, where Roots start slow but start finding a wrinkle progressively.
- Was that Anuar Pelaez and Trayvone Reid’s best performance with Oakland Roots? It certainly seemed the case with both players getting on the scoresheet after being international signings during the offseason. Both haven’t panned out as starters thus far, but showed how their speed can stretch the field. Reid has shown great footwork and technical ability, it’s just about executing it at the right tme for him.
- Tonight marked the official return of several players from injuries including Johnny Rodriguez, Napo Matsoso, and Lindo Mfeka. Koze Donasiyano also made his second appearance. Johnny looked good with a shot on target and another shot from distance, which was a rocket over the net. Lindo looked productive as well and was able to step back into his versatile role at RW/CAM. As for Napo, it was interesting to see him come in at LW for Cedeño instead of the midfield for Tarek Morad. We’ll see what that means for Napo going forward.
- Oakland ends the night up to third place, once again! They’ll have a chance to retain that spot next Saturday on another short week of rest at Louisville–last year’s Eastern Conference Finalist. Next Saturday, No. 1 ranked Sacramento will take on Orange County, which is tied for points with Oakland at 40.
- Oakland Roots Starting 11
Johnny Rodriguez and Lindo Mfeka make the trip to New Mexico, but are on the subs list. Anuar Pelaez gets his second consecutive start, giving him a good opportunity to make his mark in the 9-role. Trayvone Reid appears at left wing for his second straight start as well, we’ll see if his speed can stretch the field. He showed some good technical work against Colorado Springs, hopefully he can do more of that. Tarek Morad appears in the midfield instead of Napo Matsoso, who is also on the bench. Barbir, Hackshaw, and Klimenta make up the back line.
- New Mexico United Starting 11
GAME TIME! Can Roots get back to their winning ways on the road?
Reid scuffs his shot – 6′
Might be on target? Didn’t make good contact.
NM empty cross – 8′
Goes out the back for a goal kick.
NM’s Amanda Moreno header wide – 23′
Roots corner – 24′
First real offensive activity for Roots. Reid drew after nice work in the box.
Memo ball in target, maybe Barbir, ball goes out.
NM holding 70 percent possession – 25′
Looking like the better side.
No call on Hackshaw, bowled over NM attacker – 27′
Roots with one touch inside penalty area through nearly 30 minutes – 29′
Big opportunity, huge save NM – 32′
Barbir just misses a shot after Hackshaw heads a pass over the defense. From his back,. Tambakis bats the ball away.
Roots corner – 32′
Hack header, Tambakis there for the easy save.
Roots free kick – 33′
On edge of area on the left side. reid shot goes into the wall.
NM’s Portillo shot goes high – 36′
Roots free kick on the very edge of the area on right side – 39′
Tamacas did well to draw the foul. Stiff-armed on outside of the box.
Memo cross in targets Barbir, header blocked out for a corner.
Looking much better now.
Roots corner – 40′
ROOTS GOAL – 42′
Barbir a GREAT run down the left side, sends a PERFECT pass to Pelaez on the doorstep for the tap in. ROOTS LEAD. A great feed by Reid to Barbir to start it all.
NM corner – 45+2′
Headed out, ball kept by NM. Draws another corner.
NM corner – 45+3′
PAUL THE WALL – 45+3′
A perfect shot from Moreno on the volley, but Paul leaps to make the diving save.
First Half Notes:
An eventful end to a slow first half for Roots. Oakland had one touch inside the first 30 minutes and finished with nine through 45 minutes.
Roots with seven shots, four on target and converted one of two big scoring chances with just 34 percent of possession, so Oakland doing incredibly well to hit New Mexico on the counter. NM with four shots, just one on target. If results hold, Oakland ends the night in third.
14 straight wins when leading at halftime, broadcast stat.
NM long shot, Paul there to dive on it. Was likely going wide – 47′
Roots near own goal, Hackshaw ball back to him – 50′
Kick stop by Paul–who is now stretching.
Emrah is down on a separate issue.
Both players back up.
ROOTS GOAL – 52′
Starts with Barbir winning the ball high and takes it down to the area, sends a ball through to Reid–he scores. His second USL Championship goal. It’s 2-0. Barbir’s second assist.
Roots free kick – 55′
Ball shot by Emrah, goes through wall and out for a corner. Nearly scores.
Anuar shot on target – 58′
Nice work by Roots, Reid feeds him at top of area.
Johnny on for Pelaez – 64′
I was honestly hoping Johnny could rest, but he needs another run.
Pelaez limping off. Seriously cannot afford another injury.
Lindo coming on as well. On for Reid.
NM long free kick – 66′
Ball in fall to Blanchette.
Brought stretcher to bench for Auar, says the broadcast. But declined it?
Napo coming on for Cedeño – 78′
NM no attempts in 30 mins – 79′
Johnny shot on target in close distance – 86′
Straight to Tambakis.
NM corner – 87′
After a shot by Moar deflected out.
SUB: Koze on for Morad.
NM corner bounces around before being cleared.
NM free kick – 88′
Portillo shot on target, Paul dives to push it out for a corner. Great play by Paul The Wall.
PAUL AGAIN – 90′
STOPS A HEADER ON TARGET BY DIVING.
Paul now checking his ribs after his leap. He’s back up.
NM corner – 90+3′
They score, ball in and it fall in the middle. They score with three minutes left in stoppage. Fall to Sergio Rivas for the poachers easy goal.
Chaos here at the end, ball in by New Mexico and Oakland cleared. Players begin tussling – 90+6′
Hackshaw on the ground.