The Loco Express
El Paso Locomotive FC (1) vs New Mexico United (1)
Saturday, May 8; Southwest University Park, El Paso, Texas
Locomotive pulled out a thrilling equalizing goal in second-half stoppage time to salvage a point at Southwest University Park, courtesy of late-game substitutions made by Head Coach Mark Lowry. Leandro Carrijo (78’ sub) took one touch to slot home a goal that was provided to him thanks to some incredible passing from Diego Luna (Also a 78’ sub) and Aaron Gomez. Luna’s appearance also marked his professional debut while joining the likes of Aidan Apodaca and Luis Solignac as the latest members to put on the Locomotive jersey in a regular-season game.
In a match that saw Locomotive play well through the whole match, singling out just one ‘Estrella of the Match’ was a difficult choice. Ultimately, the nod goes to the goal-scorer himself, Leandro Carrijo, however, it would be more than fair to point out the impact Aaron Gomez and Diego Luna had on the game. While Carrijo slotted home the game-tying goal that salvaged a point at Southwest University Park, Gomez put in work through the full 90 minutes, testing United ‘keeper Alex Tambakis' ability to make big-time saves. Gomez also was the one with the headed effort that passed the ball into the path of Carrijo for the goal.
You would be remiss to not give a nod towards Luna and the impact he made as a late game substitution for Coach Lowry. Within minutes, Luna took a shot towards goal that seemed destined for the bottom corner. While he didn’t find the goal then, it was his creative dribbling to outplay two United defenders and the cross to the far post to Gomez that opened up Carrijo for his goal.
50.3%. Typically, Locomotive dominates the field in possession, with quick passing and a build-from-the-back play style. The telltale stat of Locomotive’s 50.3% possession through out the home opener, reveals how close and tight of a game it was between the two Southwest rivals on Saturday night. Both teams struggled to keep possession of the ball, which led to proper chances on goal being few and far in between. Despite the lack of usual possession though, Locomotive made the most of it with 10 shots on goal throughout the night, four of which were on target compared to United’s two.
With results elsewhere in the Mountain Division, Locomotive retains its spot in 4th, just above the playoff line. It’s only the first game of a 32-game season, however, so there is still plenty of opportunities to move up, especially as the Locomotive squad gets into the rhythm of the regular season. The last-second draw by Locomotive also means the El Paso team remains undefeated at home since July 24.
Locomotive gets a weekend break after its first game, playing next at home at Southwest University Park against its Copa Tejas rival, Rio Grande Valley FC. The match is set for Saturday, May 22, with a kickoff time of 7:30 p.m. MT. Tickets are available at eplocomotivefc.com/tickets or by calling 915-235-GOAL.