Sports Desk: NM United ready to welcome back fans for the first time in over 500 days

FOX New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – It’s been about 574 days since New Mexico United hosted a regular-season match in front of their very strong fan base. That changes Saturday when the Austin Bold F.C. comes to Albuquerque for the home opener at Isotopes Park.

“It’s the best thing there is in the USL and maybe in the MLS,” said NM United Head Coach Troy Lesesne. “We have the best fans.”

Fan favorite and native New Mexican, Devon Sandoval, echoed what his head coach had to say. “It feels like the first game all over again,” said Sandoval. “So, I cant wait to get out there and see our people.”

Newcomer Harry Swartz has heard so much about the fans and can’t wait to get the full experience. “I am getting the chills just thinking about it,” said Swartz. “They really just spoke so highly about it and I have seen videos, and I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am.”

New Mexico United defender Kalen Ryden has been with the team since the 2020 season. “The fan base is a reason why New Mexico United was so intriguing to me and to finally now be able to experience that on Saturday, it’s going to be a memorable night for me,” said Ryden.

New Mexico United is still winless on the young season, with a loss and a tie. Despite their record, coach Lesesne believes his team improves with each match. “On the whole, great progression from week one to week two and I expect that same step forward in week three to get our first three points,” said Lesesne.

New Mexico United and Austin Bold FC play at Isotopes Park Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

In other sports news, Lobo basketball officially announces the signing of six-foot eleven Sebastian Forsling out of Sweden. The incoming freshman is the seventh new addition under first-year head coach Richard Pitino.

Meanwhile, Cleveland High School’s Luke Wysong is the Gatorade New Mexico Football Player of the Year. The future University of New Mexico Lobo is the fourth player from Cleveland to win the honor. Wysong, a receiver and defensive back led the Storm to a 4-0 record and Class 6A bowl victory.

UNM men’s golf will head into the NCAA Albuquerque Regional with accolades from the Mountain West. Bastien Amat is the Mountain West Freshman of the Year. Sam Choi and Albert Boneta have been named to the All-Mountain West team.

Lastly, the state high school swimming and diving championships started Thursday with the girls competing. Emma Gehlert of Eldorado became a two-time state champion in the 200 individual medleys with a time of two minutes 5.54 seconds. The boy’s competition is Saturday.

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