ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Head Coach Adam Smith and the 2019 Fresno Foxes aim to open the USL Championship in strong fashion when they visit New Mexico United tonight, Saturday, March 9th at Isotopes Park. After posting a 9W-13L-12D record in 2018 that includes just two victories away from home, the Foxes hope to make gains and achieve their first postseason berth in franchise history after an 11th-place finish in the USL Western Conference. The club returns its three top scorers in Juan Caffa (9 goals), Jemal Johnson (9) and Christian Chaney (8), while also adding the firepower and support of Jaime Chavez, Qudus Lawal and Arun Basuljevic over the offseason. That should help boost the club's offensive attack even further as it was sixth-best in the entire USL in shots taken with 507. Since the departures of Pedro Ribeiro and Rony Argueta, Fresno's midfield will transform under Basuljevic, Seth Moses, Jorge Escamilla, Hiroki Kurimoto and Emir Alihodzic. Defensively, the Foxes retained an entire back line that compiled eight clean sheets in Alex Cooper, Zachary Ellis-Hayden, Mickey Daly and Ramon Del Campo, along with CJ Cochran who returns to Fresno full time after a monthlong loan in June 2018.
The Foxes went unbeaten through preseason, including a 2-1 win against LA Galaxy II, however, all that is checked at the door Saturday evening at Isotopes Park against a new, but experienced New Mexico squad that features seasoned midfielder Josh Suggs, goalkeeper Cody Mizell and 2017 USL Rookie of the Year Chris Wehan.