Locomotive FC Looks to Regroup Following New Mexico Home Loss
The unbeaten streak ended at 12 matches for El Paso Locomotive FC as they fell to New Mexico United by the score of 1-0 on Saturday night at Southwest University Park.
A goal by the team from the Land of Enchantment in the 89th minute gave the victory to the visitors to even the Derby del Camino Real rivalry series at 1-1 for the 2023 season. The result put a damper on the record breaking crowd in attendance at the home of the Locos, which saw 8,411 fans.
The match itself lived up to the hype of a rivalry match. It was dynamic with both teams having plenty of chances on goal. Despite the loss El Paso did not fall in the standings as they hold on to second place in the western conference of the USL Championship.
Here’s what happened
- It took Locomotive about 10 minutes to settle into the match. El Paso’s first threat on goal didn’t come until the 12th minute that led directly to the team’s first corner kick for the night. This would lead into the Locos dictating terms for the remainder of the half.
- Despite El Paso imposing its conditions on the match, New Mexico had the biggest and clearest threats on goals forcing Locos’ goalkeeper Benny Diaz to come up with three big saves in the first half to keep the match a scoreless draw at halftime.
- The Locos obtained a corner kick within the first two minutes of the half. From there, it was the visiting side that became the better team. Diaz came up with two more big saves in a less than 10 minute span while the rest of the team struggled to produce any meaningful possessions.
- Just when it appeared that the match was going to end in a draw, a takeaway at midfield quickly turned into counterattack for the visiting team. With the Locos defensive line caught off guard, the ball found its way to Santi Moar, who did not hesitate to put the ball in the back of the net to give New Mexico the 1-0 lead late in the match.
- One of the most notable moments that would have completely changed the dynamic of this match came in the 31st minute when there was a blatant foul on Luis ‘Lucho’ Solignac in the New Mexico goal box that should have led to a penalty kick called in favor of El Paso. Everyone in attendance at Southwest University Park, including the most loyal United fans saw except for center referee Elton Garcia.
What was said
After the match head coach and technical director Brian Clarhaut said, “I thought we played well. I thought we were in control of the match…it was a good performance from us.”
As for what the Locos biggest rival did to win, Clarhaut elaborated, “I think they did a good job being low and compact, it made it difficult to find some spaces centrally. I think they force us wide. From a defensive standpoint, they made it tough.”
“This is a match that our fans want us to win, the city and club wants us to win so it's a bit sour in that aspect. For us, its a bit of a wake up call. We can’t get complacent. We need to be sharper. That’s something we’ll talk about as we start to get ready for Monterey.” Clarhaut concluded.
Locomotive will now head to northern California to the Monterey peninsula to face Monterey Bay FC next Saturday night. Monterey went to southern California to face Orange County SC this past Saturday and lost, 3-1. Next weekend’s match is scheduled for an 8 p.m. MST kickoff. As always the match will be televised nationally via streaming on ESPN+.