El Paso Locomotive FC will kick off their 2024 campaign on Saturday night with a home match against the Hartford Athletic. In what will be season number six, it looks like all systems are “go” for the Locos. Second year head/coach technical director Brian Clarhaut and the front office have been busy this past offseason building the roster for the upcoming season and while the final verdict on those efforts will not be seen until October, as right now, on paper, there is plenty for soccer fans in the “915” to be excited about ahead of the 2024 season.

El Paso went out and acquired a balance of experienced players and young, up and rising talent. The Locos’ current roster consists of 26 players, a number that lies within what is more of a traditional roster for a soccer team. In their first seasons the Locomotive typically opted for a roster in the low 20’s. The depth will be there all season long, but in that depth there will also be plenty of quality not just numbers. That is hard to come by, but it appears the Claurhaut, general manager Adrew Forrest and the rest of the front office have pulled it off.

The most solidified line will be the defensive line, 12 players will compete for minutes all season long. Rest assured with the schedule demand that comes with a rigorous USL Championship season every single one of these players will get their number called to serve and contribute in a significant way. 

More than half of these defensive players are newcomers to El Paso including Gonzalo Pelua and Javier Nevarez who are on loan from MountainStar Sports Group sister organization and Liga BBVA MX side FC Juarez. Nevarez was born in the sister city of Ciudad Juarez. 

Offensively, a trio of goal scorers have arrived to the Sun City with plenty of pedigree that are well known throughout the league. Locomotive fans know them quite well for cheering against them as they are arriving from some of the biggest rivals El Paso has. Amando Moreno is arriving from New Mexico United, Justin Dhillon from San Antonio FC and Tumi Moshobane from the now defunct San Diego Loyal. These three should be immediate difference makers for the Locos offensively. 

In addition to Nevarez and Pelua coming from across the border, goalkeeper Ramon Pasquel is also on loan from Bravos. Locomotive boss Brain Clarhart said the following about these three acquisitions working with Bravos to make this happen, “I think it's a good and unique tool to have. It’s something that no other team has, that I know of, another ownership in another club, let alone a league like Liga MX. We are fortunate to get a few players that we think we can help develop and that will be good at our level. It’s been something we’ve been focusing on since last summer.”

The season and home opener against Hartford on Saturday will be the one of four games that the Locos will play 12 days. El Paso will also host Monterey Bay FC in a midweek match on Wednesday and Louisville City FC next Saturday. The homestand of sorts will end on Wednesday March 20 when the Locos will face the Bravos for the first time ever at Southwest University Park. 

Saturday's season opener is scheduled for a 7 p.m. MST kick off. For those of you that can’t make your way to downtown El Paso to be there in person can tune in to watch on ESPN+ or on kvia.com, the local ABC and CW affiliate in El Paso will broadcast all local matches.

FC Juarez Men and Women

In addition to the Locos season opener, both the Bravos and Bravas of FC Juarez have matches of their own. 23 hours prior to the start of the Locomotive season the Bravos will host Toluca at Benito Juarez Olympic Stadium, meanwhile the Bravas will travel to Mexico City to face Cruz Azul. 

The Bravos will be looking for their first win of the regular season tonight when they host the current fifth place team in Liga BBVA MX to break this uber negative streak that they are currently in. The team from the Borderland last won a match in late October of last year. 

The match is scheduled for an 8 p.m. MST kick off and will be televised nationally on Fox Deportes and VIX (Televisa and Univision’s streaming platform) in Spanish and on FS2 in English. 

The Bravas will be looking to get back to their winning ways when they face Cruz Azul on Saturday. The team from Mexico City is next to last in the general standings table, while FC Juarez will be looking to move up from the last playoff spot, 8th place, especially since there are five teams that are only one point behind them.

Kickoff for the Cruz Azul-Bravas match is scheduled for an 11 a.m. MST start. That match will be broadcast on VIX.    

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