Runners go 1-1 vs Wings, despite second half rally

by Charley Bickel

Rio Rancho, NM - The New Mexico Runners came into Saturday's game looking to complete their first season in franchise history, unfortunately they will have to keep searching as the teams exchanged road wins downing the Runners 3-6. The Wings finished with six goals, just as they did in the teams previous meeting. Beyond that the two contests could not be more dissimilar. 

For just the second time at home all season New Mexico did not get the opening score, instead a wild pass from a Wings defender back to goalkeeper Aaron Parrott ricocheted off of Froilan Ramirez scoring an own goal to put Wichita up 1-0. The lead ballooned to four goals before the end of the first creating a seemingly insurmountable deficit for New Mexico, but the game was far from over. New Mexico did not carry a goose egg into the halftime locker room as Vince Aragon assured the Runners would have positive momentum heading into the second half, scoring off a beautiful find from Jacob Gandarilla to cut the deficit to three scores. Despite the low scoring first half, both teams miraculously managed to shoot 50 percent from the field through the first half: New Mexico scored one goal on two shots, while Wichita scored five goals on ten total shots. 

The Wings entered the second half within a single goal of their total from the January 15th meeting, however the Runners were undeterred by this fact putting on a second half performance that electrified the home crowd. New Mexico cranked the defensive intensity up to eleven, holding Wichita scoreless throughout the third quarter. Outside of the four goals allowed in the first, the Runners contained the Wings offense allowing just two goals through the final three frames. New Mexico cut the deficit to three goals twice down the stretch. The Runners opted to pull starting keeper Nate Yeager, inserting Jaxn Rodgers as the sixth attacker to give New Mexico as much firepower as possible. Not five minutes later Mehrshad Ahmadi, or Cobra Kai as the call him in Wichita, put a highlight worthy crossover move on the Wings keeper leading to clean shot and goal and the undisputed play of the game. 44 seconds later Froilan Ramirez found the net off a pass from the sixth man Rodgers, the only problem being Wichita had already matched the first goal of the rally, holding the deficit firm at three. The second half saw the New Mexico turn a 10-2 shots on goal deficit to an even 15 shots apiece due in no small part to the use of the sixth attacker during the fourth quarter.

The defeat drops New Mexico drops to 2-8 while the Wings improve to 7-2 on the year. Up next the Runners travel to Colorado Springs March 12 for the rubber match with the Colorado Inferno FC with the series currently tied 1-1. New Mexico will return the following week on March 19 to face their second inter-divisional opponent of the season Turlock Cal Express. Kickoff is slated for 5:05pm with door opening an hour prior to kickoff. Tickets can be found here or at the Rio Rancho Event Center box office.