El Paso Locomotive (6-6-3, 21 points, West-6) moved to six games undefeated at Southwest University Park with a 1-1 draw against Hartford Athletic on Saturday night. Locomotive Academy Midfielder Diego Abarca became the youngest player to score in Locomotive history with his first professional goal in the 54th minute.
“We have a lot of players tonight. I’m not going to hide that fact but we still put a team out that I thought would win this game,” commented Locomotive Head Coach and Technical Director John Hutchinson. “The silver lining is the football they played and the way they went about it. The way they didn’t stop for 90 minutes and fought to win a game. I thought from the first minute to the end they were playing for the win.”
El Paso were on full display from the opening whistle, limiting Hartford Athletic by keeping possession. The Locos made sure their possession wasn’t wasted either, registering 12 shots in the first half alone to test the Athletic defense. Defender Matt Bahner, Forward Aaron Gomez, and Midfielder Nick Hinds each nearly found the back of the net, forcing the Hartford goalkeeper into big saves. While El Paso was the more stellar team in the first half, it would be a stalemate after 45 minutes.
The match opened up in the second half, as Abarca broke the deadlock in the 56th minute. His left footed shot curled into the top corner of the net for a picture perfect first professional goal. Abarca nearly found a second minutes later, taking another left-footed shot that was barely saved by the Athletic ‘keeper. While Locomotive stayed defenisively stout, with Goalkeeper Evan Newton making an incredible save 1-v-1 with Corey Hertzog, the lead was not meant to last. Peter-Lee Vassell capitalized on a deflected ball in the box to equalize the scoring in the 68th minute to split the points at Southwest University Park.
UP NEXT: El Paso Locomotive hits the road for a match against Phoenix Rising FC at Wild Horse Pass in Arizona. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. MT on Saturday, June 11 and will be broadcast live on ESPN+.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
ELP: Diego Abarca (Dylan Mares), 56th minute: Mares picked up a great pass before cutting in center and finding Abarca. After laying the ball over to the 16-year-old Locomotive Academy player, Abarca took a left footed shot that curled into the top corner for his first professional goal.
HFD: Peter-Lee Vassell, 68th minute: Defending a long throw, the ball threatened Evan Newton, who made an incredible save, that ultimately went back into the mix. Vassell was the first to capitalize, winning the second ball with a shot that would be the equalizer.
– Locomotive Academy midfielder Diego Abarca became the youngest player in Locomotive history to score a goal, earning a goal at 16 years 11 months and 16 days.
– The Locomotive Academy shined tonight against Hartford, playing accumulative total of 128 minutes between Venancio Calderon, Noe Coutino, Joel Maldonado, and Diego Abarca.
– El Paso Locomotive extended its home undefeated streak to six games after picking up the draw against Hartford Athletic.
Match: El Paso Locomotive vs Hartford Athletic
Date: June 4, 2022
Venue: Southwest University Park; El Paso, Texas
Weather: 92F with clear skies
Scoring Summary 1 2 F
El Paso Locomotive 0 1 1
Hartford Athletic 0 1 1
ELP – Diego Abarca (Dylan Mares), 56’
HFD – Peter-Lee Vassell, 68’
El Paso Locomotive FC (4-3-3): Evan Newton; Eder Borelli, Ander Egiluz (Noe Coutino, 64’), Yuma, Matt Bahner, Richie Ryan, Venancio Calderon (Diego Abarca, 53’), Dylan Mares, Nick Hinds (Joel Maldonado, 78’), Ricardo Zacarias (Martin Payares, 78’), Aaron Gomez
Subs not used: Philipp Beigl, Julian Maud, Jaime Villagomez
Sacramento Republic FC (4-2-3-1): James Slayton; Logan Gdula, Modou Jadama, Tom Brewitt, Younes Boudadi, Conor McGlynn, Joel Johnson (Jeciel Cedeno, 75’), Danny Barrera (Peter-Lee Vassell, 64’), Luka Prpa (Rashawn Dally, 45’), Prince Saydee (Andre Lewis, 45’), Corey Hertzog (Tulu, 88’)
Subs not used: Austin Pack, Pearse O’Brien
Stats Summary: ELP | SAC
Shots: 20 | 9
Shots on Goal: 7 | 4
Saves: 3 | 6
Corner Kicks: 7 | 2
Fouls: 8 | 8
Offside: 0 | 3
ELP – Ander Egiluz (Caution), 28’
HFD – Danny Barerra (Caution), 31’
HFD – Luka Prpa (Caution), 45’
ELP – Eder Borelli (Caution), 40’
HFD – Younes Boudadi (Caution), 76’