The Colorado Rapids begin play in the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday against New Mexico United of the United Soccer League Championship (USLC). The match will mark the first-ever meeting between the two clubs.
About New Mexico United
New Mexico United is in their inaugural season in the USLC. Located in Albuquerque, the team plays at Isotopes Park, a stadium shared with the Albuquerque Isotopes, the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. A 6-7-2 record, has the newcomers sitting in first place in the Western Conference. Even in their first season, New Mexico United have already established themselves as a serious contender in the league, outpacing most forecasts for the expansion team’s first season. That level of success has been mirrored by the fan numbers at their home stadium, which averages a league-leading 12,302 fans per game.
New Mexico United entered the Open Cup competition in the second round and edged Phoenix Rising FC (USLC) 2-2 (4-3) in penalties. In round three, NMU defeated Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, the Colorado Rapids USL affiliate, 2-1 in extra time.
Players to Watch
New Mexico United boast not one, but two of the league’s leading scorers in forwards Kevaughn Frater (10) and Santi Moar (9, tied for second).
Kevaughn Frater is a 24-year old forward from Jamaica whose age belies his experience level and poise. Last month, he netted a hat trick against a Switchbacks team with whom he played for during the 2017 season. That year in Colorado Springs, Frater scored 12 goals while also tallying six assists in 29 appearances. The Kingston native started his professional career in 2013 for his hometown team, Harbour View of the Red Stripe Premier League.
The second half of New Mexico United’s dynamic duo is 25-year-old forward Santi Moar. Originally from Ordes, Spain, Moar has transitioned well into his role as the secondary striker after having displayed his talent at the position over his previous two years with Bethlehem Steel FC. While with the Pennsylvania club in 2018, Moar led the team in assists (9) and finished second in goals scored (6).
The leader of New Mexico United’s defense is another former alum of Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, Josh Suggs. The New Mexico native leads the team with 27 tackles and is active on the wings, evidenced by the fact that he’s third on the team in total crosses so far this season.
Other names of note include defender Sam Hamilton, a former University of Denver standout who was selected 15th overall by the Rapids in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft and spent two seasons with the club, and midfielder Ken Akamatsu, another former University of Denver Pioneer. New Mexico United’s goalkeeper, Cody Mizell, also has Colorado ties after he was called up on loan from USL Charlotte Independence ahead of the 2017 Home Opener against the New England Revolution. Mizell was an unused sub during his one-game stint with the Rapids.
The match between the Colorado Rapids and New Mexico United will kick off at 7:00 PM MT inside DICK’S Sporting Goods Park. You can watch all the action live on ESPN+.