The script is becoming familiar – Kentucky won 1-0 with Noah Hutchins scoring the winner for the third time this season. On Sunday 21st-ranked New Mexico fell victim to a trademark Wildcat performance.
As relates to familiarity Kentucky defeated New Mexico by a 1-0 score line for the third season in a row.
Goalkeeper Stuart Ford played perhaps the best match of his career making six saves and doing a fine job shepherding Kentucky’s stout back four of MAC Hermann Award watch list member Jordan Wilson, Alex Bumpus, Charlie Reymann and Tanner Hummel. The Wildcats kept their fifth clean sheet of the season, and second in a row.
Ford has a league-best 0.48 goals-against average in 756:12 minutes of match action this season. He had to work especially hard to lower that average on Sunday, as he was called upon to make multiple difficult saves as UK sat deep – albeit compact – in protecting a 1-0 lead for 84 minutes.
Kentucky has conceded four goals this season – none from the run of play.
Kentucky picked up its first three points of the Conference USA season after dropping the opener 2-1 against Florida International in Miami last weekend. The Wildcats improved their 2016 record to Won 5 Lost 2 Drawn 1 (1-1-0 C-USA).
New Mexico dropped to 5-3-0 (0-1-0 C-USA).
Having played conference two matches Kentucky moved into a five-way tie for second place in the league on three points. Charlotte has six points.
Hutchins exhibited a measure of goal-scoring brilliance break the deadlock six minutes after the start.
He maneuvered through traffic to collect a Charlie Reymann cross in the box, did well to bring the ball down off his thigh and looped one left footed across the face of goal rightward over New Mexico goalkeeper Jason Beaulieu’s outstretched arm and in.
Hutchins scored his third goal of the season – all have been match winners. Reymann assisted for the second time this year as he also provided the service for Hutchins’ winner against Louisville.
“I thought it was a really good three points for us in conference,” Wilson said. “New Mexico is a really good team. They’re going to do well this season so to pick up those three points is huge for the team. It was a good team performance to dig it out.
“We had a tough match down in Miami last week so it was really good for the boys to bounce back. I thought we showed great attitude – people were willing to put their bodies where it hurt and take one for the team.”
Kentucky won its second straight, and broke New Mexico’s five-match winning streak.
Kentucky has gotten the better of three straight 1-0 results against New Mexico. Kentucky is 3-1-0 against New Mexico having won three in a row. UK’s lone loss in the series came in 2013 in Albuquerque against a College Cup-bound Lobos squad.
Kentucky has scored 10 and conceded four goals this season. All four of the goals Kentucky has allowed came from set pieces.
The next one
Kentucky will welcome Lipscomb to The Bell on Wednesday at 7 p.m.
The first 250 fans at The Bell will receive a match poster.
Gates will open at 6 p.m.
Tickets are $5 for the general public and $2 for youth and seniors. Fans can purchase tickets online via Ticketmaster or by calling (800) 928-2287, or at the ticket window at The Bell.
Kentucky’s 600-plus season ticket holders can wear their 2016 Kentucky Soccer scarves to gain admission.
Parking for the match is first come first served located outside the stadium’s main entrance. Overflow parking will be available above the soccer practice pitch.
UK players will sign autographs on the side of the pitch following the match weather-permitting.
UK Soccer in C-USA
Kentucky plays in C-USA in men’s soccer only. The Southeastern Conference does not offer men’s soccer as a sport. South Carolina is the only other SEC university that has a varsity men’s soccer team. The Gamecocks are also in C-USA.
The best coverage of UK men’s soccer is available via UKMensSoccer handles on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
by Jake Most