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Yellow outshines Black in New Mexico United's first home appearance

Feb. 24—Yellow turned out to be a winning color for New Mexico United on Saturday.

Black not so much.

Newcomers Nanan Houssou and Marco Micaletto netted goals and returnee Jacobo Reyes added the clincher as United's Yellow squad rolled to a 3-0 victory in the club's annual Black and Yellow Game at the First Financial Training Center in Mesa del Sol.

Both sides had their moments as several hundred fans turned out to get their first look at NMU's 2024 team. The Yellow unit did a better job putting its scoring chances in the net.

"It was a lot of fun," Micaletto said. "One of the biggest reasons I came to New Mexico was because I heard how great the fan base is here. Seeing all these people come out for a scrimmage, I can't wait for the season to start."

United fans, most decked out in team colors, were in midseason form, chanting, cheering and popping yellow smoke grenades after each goal.

NMU coach Eric Quill took on more of an observer's role as assistant coaches handled the Yellow and Black squads. For the most part, Quill liked what he saw.

"I got some good intel today," he said. "I wanted to see some tandems and how they worked together. We're still trying to see what our best lineup will be, so this was good. I wanted to see some goals, too, just like the fans."

None were forthcoming until the 43rd minute when Houssou booted a deflected shot into the lower left corner of the net for a 1-0 Yellow lead. It was a good first impression for Houssou, whose signing was announced Friday after he joined the team during its recent week-long stay in Tucson, Arizona.

Micaletto added a second goal on a low shot early in the second half, and Reyes finished the scoring with a blast from the left wing shortly before the final whistle.

In between, United Academy goalkeeper Cole Bachezewski earned a round of cheers by stopping Reyes with a diving save on a penalty kick. Former Penn State goalkeeper Kris Shakes manned the net for the Yellow team and recorded a clean sheet.

United will conclude its preseason on March 2 with a visit to rival El Paso Locomotive FC. Quill said he plans to approach that contest differently than Saturday's scrimmage.

"Today was fun, but that one is more about preparation for the season," Quill said. "We'll probably go with our regulars and try to start building cohesiveness and momentum."

United opens the regular season March 9 when it hosts Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC at 2 p.m.