ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico United is hoping home field advantage does its thing when they host the Las Vegas Legends in the U.S. Open Cup Tuesday. It will be the first time ever that New Mexico will host an Open Cup match.

“We have a big advantage when people come in here, you know, high elevation, you know, difficult to travel, a lot of times not a direct flight,” said NM United head coach Zach Prince. “That’s always a good thing for us. So, we got to make sure we take advantage of that. All that is is something that tilted in our favor a little bit. When the ball kicks off though all that stuff goes out of the window.”

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New Mexico United knows what it’s like to be a team looking to make a name for itself in the Open Cup. New Mexico did just that by winning a pair of games in the Open Cup in 2019. The experience also has New Mexico focused on never taking any team lightly, as they get ready to host Las Vegas.

“They can score goals, they can hurt you and we know that,” said NM United midfielder Daniel Bruce. “Ultimately every one of our men has to look your direct opponent in the eye and say no matter who you are I’m going to be better than you today, on and off the ball, mentality, physically, doesn’t matter who you are. Home or away, I have to be better than you and if I’m better than you and my teammates better than you, that gives us a phenomenal chance to win this game.”

Tickets are still available for the Tuesday night showdown. Players are hopeful that their usual crowd of rabid fans will show up. “It’s special to host a game because we’re New Mexico,” said NM United left-back Austin Yearwood. “We have the best fans in the league.”

Game time is 7:30 pm at UNM Soccer Complex.

In other sports news, the Albuquerque Isotopes will open the regular season at the Oklahoma Dodgers Tuesday. “Every year, you know, opening day everybody is so excited you get some butterflies,” said Isotopes infielder LJ Hatch. “Just real excited to get out there and compete with your teammates every day and get started towards the ultimate goal, which is to win a championship.” The game time is 6:05 pm Tuesday.

Cibola high senior Aiden Kraft fired a round of 67 to win the individual boys title at the Shootout in the Desert. The event at the Canyon Club Golf Course featured 93 high school golfers from New Mexico and El Paso.

Ray Rodriguez decided to wrap up his high school basketball coaching career this past weekend. The Cibola Cougars boys basketball coach is done after 35 years. He is staying on as the athletic director at the school and will be tasked with hiring his replacement. Rodriguez promised that he will keep his distance, once he makes a hire. He will not micromanage. Rodriguez wants to have a replacement hired within the next two weeks.