Locomotive vs. United: What Did We See on Mother’s Day?
How did a team like El Paso Locomotive FC, getting another brace from its former Bundesliga forward, Jerome Kiesewetter; playing its keep-away game; continuing its ball-winning, pass-completing ways NOT get a full three points Sunday night?
How did New Mexico United, a freewheeling side forced to pay a toll by the hosts, wind up scoring twice to split the points?
What did we just witness on a Mother of Dragons Sunday night in El Paso, Texas?
I will say this: Jerome Kiesewetter is showing himself to be worth whatever Locomotive FC is paying him.
He’s suddenly given the Little Engine That Could some serious torque, scoring twice in his second straight game.
As for New Mexico United, full credit for finding a way to pry open doors that Locomotive kept shut for all but a few crucial seconds late in each half.
The stats say, if there are four goals in this game, El Paso should have had three of them.
Locomotive outshot United, 17-5. Six shots on target to United’s three.
But Troy Lesesne’s side seems to invite chaos; and if the water is too calm New Mexico is perfectly willing to turn on the jacuzzi, for good or ill.
We’ve seen it more than once this season. After giving up three goals in 11 minutes to turn a 2-0 lead over Timbers 2 into a 3-2 deficit, United clawed their way back for a draw in stoppage time.
They did it again Sunday. Ryan Williams is on the field for just nine minutes before receiving United’s first caution, but scores the equalizer 11 minutes later.
When the game goes to Hell, New Mexico United always seems to find a pitchfork.
But for Locomotive FC fans, there is still plenty to celebrate. Mark Lowry’s team has an identity and they’ve shown an ability and a desire to deal well with pressure.
With Kiesewetter in the fold, they’re also showing some signs of life offensively.
The former US Men’s National Team forward and the rest of his teammates needed to get on the same page.
That is happening now.
A team that hadn’t had a goal from a cross or a header got both Sunday in the 64th minute, as Sebastián Contreras served up a beautifully-weighted ball from the left wing that Kiesewetter turned into a meal at the far post.
As they have all season, Locomotive lived up to the literal translation of its city’s name — The Pass — completing over 88 percent against United.
Again this week, El Pass-o leads the United Soccer League Championship completing a whopping 85-percent of its passes on the season.
It’s “whopping” because Locomotive FC is fully four percent better than second place, while everyone else is tied or separated by tenths of a percent in a 35-team league.
Still, it was a 2-2 draw Sunday.
There were red cards — the first of the season for both teams — as Santi Moár for United and Yuma for Locomotive were ejected in the 72nd minute.
There were fouls. There was gamesmanship. Officials were called names in multiple languages.
What did we see Sunday?
What we saw was a game that was as close to a derby as two interstate freeways and a desert will let us have.
What we saw on Mother’s Day was the birth of a rivalry.
May it have a long, long life.