FC Juarez Look to Return to First Place and Locos to Playoff Zone
Bravos de FC Juarez and El Paso Locomotive FC each have important soccer matches coming up this weekend on Friday and Saturday night respectively. Bravos are at the midway part of the 2023 apertura season while Locomotive are in the final stretch of their season with only five matches to go.
The Bravos will have the opportunity to move into first place in the general standings table with a win tonight. Meanwhile, the Locos with a win can move back into the playoff zone in their conference standings.
With all this at stake it sets up to be a an interesting and exciting weekend of matches for MountainStar Sports Group soccer teams.
FC Juarez will face Atlas at home on Friday night in what will be matchday nine of the season, marking the start of the second half of the season. The team from the Borderland will be looking to remain unbeaten on the season. The Bravos have played four matches at home thus far this season, winning two and playing to a draw on the other two.
They will host an Atlas team that is currently in eight place as a result of three wins, three draws and two loses. The Bravos are currently in third place as a result of four wins, three draws and a lone defeat.
FC Juarez will have three players return this week that they did not have at their disposal last weekend when they played Necaxa to a 1-1 draw in Auguascalientes. Christian Oliva and Diego Valoyes return for FC after injury, meanwhile Andrija Vukcevic will be available for the first time. Vukcevic was the Bravos final acquisition this season, he is from Montenegro.
With the win and three points that come with it, the Bravos would move into first place taking the top spot from Club America. This kind of result would be an excellent way to begin the second half of the season. Friday night’s match will be broadcast nationally across two different networks in the United States. Fans not in attendance tonight can watch the match on Fox Deportes or on Televisa/Univision streaming platform VIX+. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:06 p.m. MST.
El Paso Locomotive FC
El Paso Locomotive will be looking for a little payback this Saturday night when they host Phoenix Rising FC at Southwest University Park in downtown El Paso. A win for the Locos and they would move back into the playoff zone in the Western Conference standing.
A little more than a month ago (August 12th) the Rising romped Locomotive by a score of 5-0 in the Valley of the Sun. Since then Phoenix has been on a bit of a streak only losing one of their eight last matches.
Phoenix will come in the “915” this weekend playing a midweek match (Wednesday night) at home against Indy Eleven. A match that was played to a 1-1 draw.
Returning home will be definitely nice for the Locos after having a three match road trip over the span of week that saw El Paso travel to southern California (Orange County), Las Vegas and to northern California (Sacramento).
For El Paso the name of the game for the remainder of the regular season is to continue to try and improve, sneak into the playoffs and try to make an impact in postseason play. Defensively they have improved, allowing only three goals in their last five matches. Prior to that the Locomotive allowed 20 goals in the same number of matches. Both goalkeeper Benny Diaz and head coach/technical director Brain Clarhaut alluded to this kind of improvement this week during the club’s weekly press conference.
Now the improvement is desperately needed offensively. The Locos have lost any kind of offensive identity that they had when they had when they went on a 12-match unbeaten streak. They have averaged less than one goal per match in their last five matches.
As for the situation in which Locomotive find themselves in relation to the standings table that is ridiculously close, their destiny is still in their hands. (El Paso is currently in ninth place with 39 points, one point out of the playoff zone. The top eight teams make the playoffs, currently fourth through eighth place are only 6 points apart, keep in mind the top four teams make the playoffs.). To which Clarhaut said, “It’s not a place where I wanna be, it is tight (but) everything is in our hands which is positive. We just go to keep going.”
Saturday’s match, as always, will be televised nationally via streaming on ESPN+. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. MST.