As Jeremy Fishbein was being asked a question about playing at home this season, he began to walk away.
Earlier in the week, the New Mexico head coach brought up how home field advantage was no longer a thing for Lobo soccer. On Saturday afternoon, the team picked up it’s fifth loss of the season at the UNM soccer field with a 4-2 result to Florida International. Since Fishbein became head coach at UNM in 2002, the program had not seen more than three losses at home in one season.
|Year||Losses at home|
Fishbein only took a couple of steps and then returned to explain the frustration he was feeling.
“There’s something going on. Over the last 17 years, we’ve been great at home. What do you guys think it is?” he said. “How would you like playing at a school where they don’t want your goddamned team here?”
He said there was no running away from the constant reminder that the men’s soccer team is set to be discontinued next year. People have shown support, but sometimes even this support is distracting.
“People don’t mean it that way. People have signs,” Fishbein said. “People are telling you, ‘oh, we feel bad for you.’ They mean well, but it’s constant, nonstop. To the guys, to the coaches. It just wears on you, it wears you out.”
Since the beginning of the season, the coach made it clear the Lobos were not going to use the discontinuation of their program as a way to push themselves to be good this year. Not because the team didn’t want to be motivated, but because it was not the right source of motivation. He stressed that he always expected his team to play at the highest level, not just when a bad situation arises.
He added that it would be “naive” to think that players, who are between the ages of 18 and 22, could even use this as motivation. He said that it felt like they were set up. Although Fishbein has constantly repeated he doesn’t want to use the discontinuation as an excuse, he said the reality of the situation is that this is something players can’t just forget about.
After he had more time to cool off, Fishbein went on Twitter later on Saturday to put out a message with a more positive tone.
Tired of us all feeling sorry for ourselves. Tough hand of cards….we got it pretty damn good. Everything in life still ahead for all our boys and staff. New Mexico is an incredible State and we have the best and most loyal supporters in the country. Head up! Enjoy….smile!
— Jeremy Fishbein (@CoachFishNM) September 29, 2018
Quick Season Update
New Mexico is currently 3-7 overall, 1-2 Conference USA. The only win the team picked up at home was the season opener when the Lobos took down the then-No. 22 Seattle with a 4-2 result. Seattle bounced back and is now 7-3 overall. New Mexico couldn’t keep the momentum of the first win going as, only a couple days later, the Lobos were on the wrong side of a 2-0 shutout against the then-No. 24 Washington. The Huskies picked up a 2-0 loss to Seattle last weekend and are currently 5-4.
The biggest issue for the Lobos seems to be the defense, as the team has only picked up one clean sheet this season, which came from a 2-0 victory against Florida Atlantic. However, this didn’t prove much as the Owls’s offense wasn’t exactly hot and had only scored three goals in six games.
The real test came this past Wednesday as New Mexico hosted the No. 10 Saint Mary’s, a team that was averaging three goals per game. The Lobos weren’t exactly dominating the game but they kept their opponent scoreless until the last 20 seconds of the match. Although not a 1-0 loss was not an ideal result, this showed some promise. However, Alex Fetterly, who was the starting goalkeeper for that game, hurt his shoulder that night.
Florida International Recap
This was the Panthers’ first ever win in New Mexico. FIU is 4-5 overall and undefeated in the conference with three wins.
Ford Parker took over the net on Saturday due to Fetterly’s injury, but Fishbein said Parker was a good goalkeeper and miscues happened in different areas.
The first goal of the day went to FIU as Santiago Patino scored his seventh of the season from a penalty kick. UNM’s Simon Spangenberg responded two minutes later when he beat the keeper and shot from the left side into an empty net. Tom Smart got the assist. Matt Puig gave the Lobos the lead in the 29th minute by taking advantage of a corner kick that involved Nick Taylor and Billy Jones.
17:51 | GOAL by Simon Spangenberg! Lobos tied up at 1! #GoLobos pic.twitter.com/gUZp56XPQI
— Lobo Men's Soccer (@UNMLoboMSoccer) September 29, 2018
The second half opened with a 2-1 lead for New Mexico but FIU quickly changed this. Less than a minute in, Andrew Booth scored with a header, an opportunity that came from a corner kick. In the 5oth minute, Talla Faye recorded his first one of the season off a deflection from a save Parker had made. Patino closed things out with what became his eight goal of the season in the 86th minute.
The Lobos have six game remaining in the regular season, three of those at home. The next home match is on Tuesday at 7pm when New Mexico hosts Loyola Marymount for a non-conference match.