FC Juarez Lose and Locomotive FC Tie But Fail To Clinch Group C
FC Juarez lost their second match in a row on Wednesday evening in Tijuana, Baja California losing to Xolos by the score of 2-1. The midweek match was a make-up match that was supposed to be played two weekends ago but wasn’t’ due to positive COVID-19 tests for Xolos. Despite the loss, Bravos is still hanging on in the playoff zone in 11th place in the standings table (12 teams make the playoffs).
As the story has been for the Bravos many times before, two split second moments/decisions marked the difference in this one.
The first of these instances happened in the 15th minute when a penalty kick was called against FC Juarez after a VAR review that never really showed clear contact inside the goalbox. Brian Angulo would give the hosting Xolos the 1-0 lead by executing the penalty kick.
The Bravos would get the equalizer less than 20 minutes later when a clear push in the back on Dario Lezcano by Miguel Angel Barbieri would lead to a penalty kick to be called instantly and easily by referee Jorge Issac Rojas. Lezcano would take the kick and score.
A couple of minutes later the Bravos would lose one of their undeniable starters in Jefferson Intriago due to injury. This was a significant loss as Intriago has quickly established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in all of Liga MX.
The second half would bring the enormous mistake that would cost FC Juarez the match. In the 79th minute Gerson Vasquez would go on a long diagonal run, Bravos goalkeeper Ivan Vasquez Mellado left his box trying to intercept the long ball when it was completely unnecessary. Gerson would receive the ball perfectly as his passed Mellado who could not get the play on time. Facing an empty net and with two defenders lagging behind, Gerson Vasquez would softly kick the ball in for the win.
After the game an noticeably infuriated Gabriel Caballero, head coach for FC Juarez, commented, "I think tonight’s match was an even one, a match were we did some good things, dominated possession for extended periods of time and then came the things that have costs of as of late. The errors we make are evident and instantaneously show up on the scoreboard. In tonight’s case an individual mistake ends up in the game winning goal for them towards the end of the match."
Up next for FC Juarez will be a home match on Sunday afternoon against Pachuca. Pachuca is currently in 6th place with 19 points. The match is schedule to kickoff at 4pm MST and will be televised nationally on TUDN.
A little later in the evening, El Paso Locomotive FC played to a scoreless draw against Switchbacks FC in Colorado Springs. As a result the Locos where not able to clinch the group C of the USL Championship as New Mexico United defeated Real Monarchs by the minimal difference, 1-0.
As for the 90 minutes against the Switchbacks, the Locomotive lacked any proficiency in the first 45 minutes. Limited offensive pressure was generated which lead to limited chance on goal being created.
The second half would be a different story and the improvement in execution was more than notable. Not only that, but the sense of urgency to get the result for El Paso was more than evident. Unfortunately it would not be enough to get the ball in the back of the net.
Up next for El Paso will be their regular season closing match against Real Monarchs in Utah this coming Sunday. The match is scheduled to kickoff at 2pm and will be broadcast on ESPN+.