Runners get burned in rivalry rematch

by Charley Bickel

Colorado Springs, CO - The second meeting of the New Mexico Runners and the Colorado Inferno FC lived up to the hype as the Runners dug themselves out of a seemingly insurmountable deficit but ultimately dropping the game 14-9 to Colorado.

Mehrshad Ahmadi got New Mexico on the board first off a quick pass from Luis Martinez that saw the Runners take the first lead of the game for the fifth time this season. From the outset the rematch appeared to be of the nip and tuck variety with Inferno and New Mexico exchanging goals as captain Froilan Ramirez knotted the contest at two as Jacob Gandarilla recorded his eighth assist of the year at which point the complection of the game shifted dramatically. Colorado rattled off a 4-0 run before the Runners brought it to a close thanks to a pair of goals from Jobany Villalba and Jacob Gandarilla to bring the deficit back to within two scores. Colorado would score once more before the conclusion of the half carrying a 7-4 lead into the break.

Facing their largest halftime deficit for the second time this season, New Mexico had their work cut out for them down the stretch. Complicating matters, Colorado opened the third frame on a three goal tear handing the Runners a six goal deficit at the close of the third. This marked the largest deficit New Mexico has faced at any point in any game this season. At this point the Runners, determined to compete to the final buzzer mounted a comeback that brought New Mexico back from trailing by six to threatening within three with just over six minutes left in the game. The closing run featured heroics from Vince Aragon, scoring for the second time this season, as well as Skylor Rose and Colton Oord, all fighting to give the Runners a chance at a narrow victory. New Mexico won the shots on goals battle 61-45 but struggled to break the goal line as Colorado's starting keeper Brando Bustos grabbed 42 saves. The Runners came as close as 12-9 in the closing minutes before surrendering two additional goals, falling 14-9 in Colorado Springs.

New Mexico returns home to their second bye week followed by a rematch against the Wichita Wings on Feb. 26 at 5:05 PM from the Rio Rancho Events Center. Tickets can be purchased here or at the Rio Rancho Events Center ticket office.