Runners close out road slate with record setting victory, 16-10

by Charley Bickel

Colorado Springs, CO - The New Mexico Runners closed out their regular season road slate with a victory over their regional rival the Colorado Inferno FC taking the match 16-10.

Hopes were high heading into Saturday's game. With two games left in the regular season New Mexico was looking for something, anything positive to take away from this rebuilding year after being sidelined during the 2020 season by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sure enough, the Runners found a way, shorthanded, with playoff hopes fading, and leading scorers unavailable. They entered the SoccerHaus with swagger and charisma, scoring 16 goals on a team that had previously held them to nine less than a month ago. It was a record setting night for the Runners on multiple fronts. Forward Mehrshad Ahmadi, or "Cobra Kai" as they call him in Wichita, shattered the franchise record for goals scored in a single game with seven, eclipsing the previous record of five set by Jaime Rodriguez back in 2019. In total, four players finished with multiple goals for the second time this season with the team scoring 12 or more goals for the fourth time all year. To cap it all off, the Runners picked up their first regular season series win finishing with a 2-1 record vs the Colorado Inferno FC.

In a season filled with the highest of highs: a win over the last remaining undefeated team in the league in their arena, and the lowest of lows: a loss at the hands of Amarillo after scoring a season high 14 goals. With such disparity, one is tempted to look for a commonality among the victories. If you dig deep enough, you will find more than one. 3-0, that is New Mexico's record when scoring first and the first two out of three goals in the game. Put simply, New Mexico's statistical chance of winning this game skyrocketed at the 8:32 mark of the first period when defender Skylor Rose put the Runners up 2-0 and the team never relinquished the lead. If that is not enough to convince you the Runners were destined for victory, may this will be. New Mexico is undefeated in games where they are leading at the start of the fourth quarter. This team sustains and closes leads with surgical precision. Perhaps the most puzzling statistic coming out of the 2021-22 season is the Runners' impressive road performances. The "Road" Runners are truly living up to their namesake this year. The win improves New Mexico to 3-8 on the year while the Inferno drop to 1-9.

New Mexico will return home for their final home game of the season facing the Turlock Cal Express on March 19th, 2022. Doors open at 4:00pm with kickoff slated for 5:05pm. Tickets can be purchased here or at the Rio Rancho Event Center Ticket Office.