El Paso Locomotive FC will once again look to obtain their first victory at home on Saturday night when they host Phoenix Rising FC. El Paso will be well rested for their seventh home match of the 2024 season. The last time they saw action was two Wednesdays ago when they defeated San Antonio FC 1-0 on the road.

Brandan Craig scored the winning goal in the Alamo city, scoring off of a direct kick from just outside the goal box in the 65th minute. The win was the second victory in three matches (the third match was a loss at home versus Birmingham by the score of 3-1) for new head coach Wilmer Cabrera who took over the Locomotive only three weeks ago.

Despite obtaining six of the last nine points and possibly in the beginning of a season turnaround, the Locomotive remain in last place of the western conference of the USL Championship with 11 points as a result of three wins, two draws and nine losses. The are six points out of the playoff zone.

The Rising will arrive in the Sun City this weekend in fourth place in the western conference with 19 points on the season with five wins, four draws and five loses. Last weekend they defeated Orange County SC 2-1 in the Valley of the Sun.

The number one thing that head coach Cabrera wants to carry over from their most recent victory was his team’s physicality. “I hope it helped us to understand that we need to be physical at home and fight. To make sure teams don’t come over here and control games against us.”, Cabrera said.

Those comments go back to the Locos last home match two weeks ago against the Birmingham Legion. A match that left Cabrera upset at his team’s lack of will to fight at home.

As for how his team has progressed the Colombian head coach said, “It’s better. We’ve had ten days (since their last match), seven days to practice. That has allowed us to work on how we need to adapt, how we need to improve and how we need to play.”

Against Phoenix Cabrera said, “We need to show a very good attitude and mentality. We need to fight for every ball when we don’t have the ball and be better when we have the ball.”

Saturday’s match is scheduled for 7 p.m. kickoff at Southwest University Park in downtown El Paso. The match will be televised nationally via streaming on ESPN+.

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Gallery Credit: James D. Smith

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