El Paso Locomotive FC kicks off its third USL Championship campaign against its heated regional rival New Mexico United on Saturday. Here is everything you need to know going into the weekend matchup:
MATCH DETAILS: USL Championship Regular Season Game #1; vs. New Mexico United
VENUE/WEATHER: Southwest University Park; El Paso, Texas; 83 degrees with clear skies
TICKETS: Click here!
WATCH: El Paso – Las Cruces CW | ESPN+
RECORDS/STANDINGS: Locomotive: 0-0-0 (0 points, MTN-4); United: 0-1-0 (0 points, MTN-6)
PREVIOUS MEETING: El Paso Locomotive and New Mexico United last met in the 2020 Western Conference final at Southwest University Park last October. A first-half goal from Dylan Mares was equalized by a stoppage-time goal by Romeo Parkes to end the 90 minutes level. Staying level through added extra time, Locomotive took the win after a penalty shootout, courtesy in part by a massive save from Logan Ketterer.
SOUTHWEST UNIVERSITY PARK HOME FORTRESS
The Locos have built a fortress at Southwest University Park with a record of 18-6-7 across all competitions. El Paso Locomotive lost only once at home in the 2020 season, remaining undefeated at Southwest University Park since July 24 when the team fell 2-1 to New Mexico United.
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINAL REMATCH
Locomotive FC and New Mexico United left it all on the pitch in the 2020 Western Conference semifinal that went to a full 120 minutes before Locomotive advanced on a penalty shootout. In the revival of the Southwest Derby, the two foes will have another opportunity to establish dominance in the Rio Grande region in a rematch of the Semifinal.
NEW LOCOMOTIVE FACES
El Paso signed many new faces to the squad, mainly bolstering its attacking front. Luis Solignac and Aidan Apodaca highlight the new signings in attack. Solignac led San Antonio FC goal scoring in 2020 while Apodaca has a goal per minute ratio of 60 over two seasons with Reno 1868 FC. Jose Aguinaga and Diego Luna bolster the midfield offensive, helping link the defense with the offense. Meanwhile, defender Niall Logue stands as the only new face on the backline, creating depth in an already solid defense.
UNITED NOTABLE DEPARTURES
New Mexico United lost key players from their 2020 USL Championship season, including goalkeeper Cody Mizell who signed with MLS side NYCFC. Also missing is Forward Chris Wehan, who has proven to be a dangerous threat to Locomotive in the first two seasons. Wehan signed with Orange County SC in the offseason.
ROAD WARRIORS LOSE ON THE ROAD
New Mexico United started its 2021 USL Championship season last week against Rio Grande Valley FC, in a contest that saw the Texas team get the better of the Road Warriors on a 1-0 scoreline.