For a minute — well, 10 to be exact — the New Mexico United could believe in the improbable.
Then came the harsh reality of playing one of the best teams in Major League Soccer.
The Minnesota United spotted the upstart New Mexico side of the United Soccer League an early goal, then dominated the rest of the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match between the two United squads to secure a semifinal berth with a 6-1 win Wednesday at Allianz Field. Combined with the Atlanta United’s 2-0 win over St. Louis FC, the USL is officially eliminated from the tournament.
But let’s go back to the first 10 minutes. New Mexico gained the upper hand in the fifth minute when Santi Moar got a clean look at the goal from the top of the penalty box and slotted his shot into the lower left of the net. It opened the scoring and sent the hundreds of New Mexico United fans into a frenzy.
But all good things had to come to an end, and Minnesota started the rout five minutes later when Angelo Rodriguez scored the equalizer off a cross from Hassani Dotson in front of the New Mexico goal.
It began a string of four goals in a 13-minute span for Minnesota that effectively settled the outcome. Rodriguez added goal in the 18th minute and finished the half with a hat trick in the 45th minute that made it 5-1 at the break.
The outburst continued a trend for the MLS club, as it has scored 26 goals during a six-match winning streak that includes a pair of wins in the U.S. Open Cup. On the other end, New Mexico continues a summer swoon that has seen it win just twice over its last seven matches — both in the U.S. Open Cup.
New Mexico does not get a respite, as it heads to California on Saturday for a matchup against Fresno FC in USL action. The United return home for an exhibition against the U.K. club, Cardiff City FC, on July 18.