New Mexico United celebrates their penalty kick win over Phoenix Rising FC in the Second Round of the 2019 US Open Cup. Photo: Michael Rinconn | PHXRisingFC.com
New Mexico United (USL Championship), making its debut in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, defeated Phoenix Rising FC (USL Championship) in penalties 4-3 after a 2-2 draw in the Second Round.
Devon Sandoval was a difference maker for New Mexico, coming on as a second-half substitute and scoring an equalizer almost immediately, before scoring a go-ahead goal in extra time. Cody Mizell had 11 saves for New Mexico.
New Mexico United players celebrate a goal scored against Phoenix Rising FC in the Second Round of the 2019 US Open Cup. Photo: Michael Rinconn | PHXRisingFC.com
By advancing to Round 3, New Mexico United becomes the first New Mexico-based club to advance in a US Open Cup game in the Modern Era (1995-present). According to TheCup.us records, the last team from the state to win a game in the tournament was the New Mexico Chiles in 1992.
New Mexico began the contest brightly, forcing Phoenix into several emergency defense situations before play evened out. Phoenix goalkeeper Carl Woszczynski came up with a strong double-save in the sixth minute to keep the contest scoreless.
Phoenix broke through in the 65th minute following a foul on Amadou Dia in the New Mexico box. Rising FC’s Junior Flemmings converted the penalty to take the lead. It wouldn’t last long, however, as in the 79th, New Mexico’s Josh Suggs found Sandoval open at the back post with a looping service. Sandoval’s header was placed well out of the reach of Woszczynski, and visitors were back in business.
In extra time, Sandoval’s 95th-minute strike took some wind out of the home crowd, but minutes later, Rising’s Adam Jahn took a pass from Solomon Asante and raced into space before sending a powerful equalizer inside the far post.
In a match where Mizell was so often the hero for New Mexico, he came up big again in penalties, denying Phoenix’s Dia and AJ Cochran, and sending his first-year club to a Third Round date in Colorado Springs to take on the Switchbacks.
For Phoenix, it was a second consecutive exit in penalties after falling in 2018 to Sporting AZ FC.