Yes, you read the headline correct. “But how can that be?” you ask. I mean tonight’s match will only be the 4th match of this abbreviated 2020 season for the El Paso Locomotive FC. The reason this situation presents itself is because of the regular season structure implement by the USL.

Tonight’s home match for the Locos against New Mexico United will be the second match in a row against arguably El Paso’s biggest rival. The last match which took place a week and an half ago, also at Southwest University Park, was a 2-2 draw. With that result the Locomotive have 5 points after 3 matches. Good enough to currently be in first place of Group C with 5 points as a result of 1 win and 2 draws.

If the team from the 915 comes up with any result other than a win tonight, they will have missed out of vital early season momentum in this shortened season. If they tie that will mean that the United, their biggest rival, came into the Locos home twice in less than two weeks and left the building with a total two points. Chalk that up as a victory for the visiting team.

The visiting team will leave the Borderland feeling accomplished, stealing two points and denying the Locos at least 2 points on their season total.

A loss tonight, and the situation can become much more complicated with one-fourth of the season in the books. The Locos could fall to third place in their group and they would only have 5 points after 4 matches, far from a good start to the season.

A victory at home would keep the Locos in first place in their group, and they could possibly distance themselves from everyone else in the group by 4 points. El Paso would have acquired 7 out of 9 points over the course of the 3 matches, all at home, since the restart of the 2020 season.

Ideal. Just like that, all of a sudden, the Locos are off to an excellent start to the season.
Yes the optics are that fragile. Thus there is a lot at stake for the home team tonight regardless of the fact that it is only the 4th match of the season. Saying that “every point counts” may sound cliché but as you can see from my breakdown it is a harsh reality for the Locomotive.