The New Mexico United soccer team is advancing to the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup to play the Colorado Rapids, a Major League Soccer team, following a win against Colorado Springs on Wednesday.
It’s the first time a New Mexico team in any sport is playing a major league professional team in a game that counts toward a title.
“It’d be like the Isotopes going to play the New York Yankees in a game that the Yankees want to win,” NM United Owner and CEO Peter Trevisani said.
In the past, the Isotopes have hosted pre-season exhibition games against the Rockies this past March, and against the Marlins back in 2004. Plus, The Pit has held NBA exhibition games in years past.
This next step for the New Mexico United is a point of pride for many New Mexicans who have been following the state’s first professional soccer team in its inaugural season.
“Having something that everyone can look forward to, bringing the community together like this is something I’ve never seen before,” NM United Assistant to the CEO Iliana Molina said.
“I think we’re gonna win. That’s what’s frickin’ exciting,” Tom Carlson of Albuquerque added.
Some people say they are anxious for the day when United will host a major league professional team in Albuquerque.
“It’s a little bit of a shame that we’ll be traveling, but our job is to…if we keep winning, eventually we’ll have a place to host a home game, and I hope we get to host a home game in the open cup. It’d be incredible,” Trevisani explained.
The team does have some ties to the Rapids organization. Two New Mexico United defenders and a goalkeeper had contracts or were on trial with the Colorado Rapids in recent years.
Additionally, coach Troy Lesesne has worked with a dozen current Rapids players from his time with their affiliate team in Charlotte.
The game will happen June 12 at 7 p.m. at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.