New Mexico United vs. Oakland Roots – Match Preview (August 23, 2023)

In no world do I have time to write a preview post before a Wednesday game.


The Roots travel to New Mexico for a (rather rudely scheduled) 6:00 p.m. Pacific Match at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The match will be available on ESPN+ and KTVU Plus, and hopefully one of those is not blocked on your work wifi. The official watch party is at Philomena, I think.

It pains me not to link to Beirut, but this song whips, is by a band based out of Albuquerque, and will forever be associated with the eldritch horrors of the Louisiana bayou (and relatedly our friend Jason).

Around the Western Conference


Orange County extended their winning streak to six (ten wins in twelve) with a 2-0 win over Charleston Battery to move into third over the Roots. Sacramento beat Loudoun 3-1 in Virginia, and Vegas fell 1-0 in Detroit. Phoenix was down a goal for 73 minutes of regular time and up a man for 45 minutes of regular time, but Guerra will not be denied his destiny, and Phoenix fell 1-0 to RGV in Edinburgh to round out Rising’s record at 8-8-8. El Paso lost to Indy Eleven in El Paso, and New Mexico split the points with Loyal in San Diego. Overall not as bad a weekend for the Roots as it might have been, losing a six-pointer to Switchbacks.

New Mexico’s Form

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. On July 22 then somehow knocked Sac around to the tune of 3-0. They followed that with a 1-0 loss away to Orange County, which is a result a lot of teams can sympathize with recently. They then lost 2-1 away to Hartford, who have turned utterly to shit since picking up Edgardo Rito (2-1-9 since the trade). On August 12, New Mexico got knocked around by San Antonio.

I’m sharing these highlights because the first two goals, both in the first thirty minutes, are absolute bangers from Rida Zouhir.

This past weekend, New Mexico traveled to San Diego and drew 2-2 with a a Loyal team that is also seeing opportunities to move up the table slip through their fingers. Each team scored in the first ten minutes. San Diego got it in first with the 1-2-3 corner-header-header. Four minutes later, New Mexico’s equalizer came off of a 1-2-3 corner-header-poked finish. The teams were deadlocked until the 55th when Moshobane poked San Diego ahead. They lead until a stoppage time equalizer from Moreno, controlling a long pass with his chest in the box, and then making a diving turning shot, wrong-footing the keeper.

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.

Roots’ Form

March 11at San Antonio FCL13
March 19at RGV TorosD11
April 1vs New Mexico UnitedW10
April 8at Indy ElevenW30
April 15vs HartfordL12
April 23at LoudounL02
April 29vs Miami FCD00
May 6at Birmingham LegionW41
May 13vs Orb CountyW30
May 20at SacramentoL13
May 27vs San Diego LoyalW20
June 2at Colorado Springs SwitchbacksW10
June 10at Phoenix RisingD22
June 17vs Pittsburgh RiverhoundsD00
June 24vs Phoenix RisingD11
June 28vs RGV TorosL02
July 8at Tampa Bay RowdiesL03
July 12vs. Memphis 901 (rescheduled)D11
July 15at Monterey Bay Union F.C. of SeasideW31
July 22at El Paso LocomotivW31
July 26vs Las Vegas LightsW10
July 29vs Detroit CityD11
August 4at Charleston BatteryW10
August 19vs Colorado Springs SwitchbacksL23
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 14El Paso Locomotiv

Oof, this one was frustrating. The Roots lined up with neither Johnny Rodriguez nor Lindo Mfeka. They carried over from last week the strategy of Hackshaw in defensive midfield and Nane in centerback.

When Colorado Springs went ahead in the fifth minute, it was Maalique Foster who was left alone in the center when Nane trailed his man towards the goal line, and Klimenta stayed centrally in space. Nane likely had to follow his man, so I am not sure who was supposed to be making Foster’s life difficult. It was not difficult, though. A few minutes later, Memo lit up the Switchbacks’ defense for the equalizer. I love when a player takes uses a header as part of their dribbling.

The Switchbacks went back ahead in the 40th on really solid, tight passing to get the ball to Magee around the D for a long shot with Blanchette totally rooted to his spot. It was frustrating in part because it was the first bit of joy the Switchbacks had mustered since the Roots’ equalizer. Roots got back even again on a totally-justified penalty. Without Johnny, it fell to Pelaez who fooled the Switchbacks’ keeper with his run-up, but did not need to as he laced the shot perfectly into the bottom right corner anyway. Switchbacks went ahead in the 58th on another goal from distance by Tyreek Magee, essentially unsaveable. Roots could not muster anything after that, and frankly, did not look like they had anything going for them at all in the second half.

There were some frustrating things about this game. I think in the first half they Roots looked like they missed Mfeka and Johnny, but not like it lead to them being overmatched. The real problem there was in the second half when they weren’t bringing on reinforcements like Reid and Pelaez–those guys were already in the game and wearing out. The reinforcements were academy kids, who played fine but could not raise the Roots’ level where it needed to be to get a result. Another frustrating thing was the PA announcer’s pronunciation of “Magee,” which we had to hear like a half-dozen times.

I’m not sure the Roots are a home-playoff game level team without essentially the entirety of their preferred 11 starters. Central mid and central defensive are the only positions where there is game-proven depth, and that depth is one player deep at each position.

Lineup and Score Predictions


Roots social media suggests Lindo traveled. If the Roots posted an old picture of Lindo at OAK to try to rope-a-dope United then fair fucking play to them. That’s awesome. I am hoping Johnny is back as well. I suspect Nane is out, and think we continue with Hackshaw back at centerback but Morad in defensive mid, especially on the road where Noah may have doubts about Her starting. If Donasiyano is ready, maybe we get him.

I am feeling optimistic about this one, I think because of my optimism about injuries. 2-1 Roots.


Noah Delgado said he expected Johnny Rodriguez to return “next week,” but it was unclear if he meant for the trip to New Mexico or Louisville. It would be no surprise to see Anuar Pelaez get the nod, but I’m going with Johnny to lead what I think is a really solid lineup. My midfield includes Donasiyano and Gomez. Delgado moved Morad into the midfield, and he could certainly do it again, but I feel Koze/Danny gives Oakland its best chance at goals albeit being a clear step backwards defensively.

Roots get back to winning ways by forcing difficult shooting lanes, 2-0 win.


Jon and Peter have fallen for the oldest trick in the Roots’ social media book: believing that travel photos are current. I think the chances Lindo isn’t even in the 18 for NM are near 100%, given his appearance on the Xitter account. Even if Nane is mostly fit, that guy should rest. I certainly am not ready to run several miles 3 days after limping like he did. Plus you probably want your captain fit for Louisville. Hackshaw in the midfield looks like an experiment we’re going to continue for a while. But given that, I think we need to rotate along the back, since its a 3-game week. So give me that back 4. And obviously Donasiyano has got to go back into the starting XI. Johnny off the bench with a key goal. 5-4 Roots.

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