The New Mexico United’s debut soccer season has seen some big crowds and heated games, but now it looks like a rivalry may be emerging.
The United’s upcoming road trip to El Paso to play against the Locomotive FC has drawn out some figurative “trash talk” that even got Albuquerque’s mayor to respond.
The so-far friendly banter centers around the team’s branding effort and a recent partnership with the city of Albuquerque.
In March, the city debuts several solid waste garbage collection trucks with large New Mexico United and “One Albuquerque” branded banners on the sides.
“We appreciate our city workers, we were really proud to put wraps on our trucks,” said Elizabeth Davis, marketing and communications director for the New Mexico United.
The wraps caught the attention of the El Paso Locomotive FC.
“As soon as we decided to wrap the garbage trucks El Paso jumped on it right away and that was sort of their big rivalry moment,” said Davis.
Using a picture of Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller posing in front of a United wrapped city garbage truck, the El Paso Locomotive FC team tweeted Monday, “Hey (United), are these the team buses you’re bringing Sunday?”
The team says it’s taken the dig in the stride. They responded Tuesday by tweeting out a photo of the 15,000 person crowd that attended Sunday’s Cinco de Mayo game, which the United won.
“They can keep bagging on us, but we’re going to appreciate our city either way,” said Davis.
Mayor Keller didn’t let the trash talk go unnoticed Wednesday, tweeting, “Sorry what was that?” I couldn’t hear you from all the way up here in first place.”
Keller also added that he’s proud to have the team’s back.
The upcoming United vs. Locomotive FC game on Sunday will be the first time the two teams have met. Like the United, Locomotive FC also is in its debut season with the USL.
A rematch between the two teams is already set for late July at Isotopes Park.