We’ve been talking about it all season, and it was starting to feel like it would never arrive. Well, now here we are. At the gates of the October Gauntlet of Games. 9 Games. Everyone Wednesday and Saturday (and one Sunday) in 31 days. It’s going to be a long and exhausting month. I’m here for it every step of the way. Vamos Locos!
MATCH DETAILS: USL Championship Regular Season Game #24; vs Real Monarchs; Kickoff 7:00p.m. MT – Gates Open at 6:00 p.m. MT
VENUE/WEATHER: Southwest University Park; El Paso, Texas; 84F degrees and clear skies.
TICKETS: Click Here!
RECORDS/STANDINGS: Locomotive: 13-2-8 (47 points, MTN-1); Monarchs: 4-16-5 (17 points, MTN-7)
PREVIOUS MEETING: On July 31, Locomotive and Real Monarchs faced one another for the third time in the 2021 USL Championship season, in a match that saw Locomotive respond in the second half for a 3-1 win. Monarchs man Charlie Wehan found the opening goal in the 17th minute, nearly doing it again just minutes later though failed to get his foot on the end of the cross. The 24th minute saw the equalizer through a goal by Aaron Gomez, deflecting off a Monarchs defender into the roof of the goal. The second half was all Lucho Solignac, taking a shot towards goal that bounced back to him where he headed into the back of the net. Lucho secured the win in the 81st taking his run 1-on-1 against the Monarchs goalkeeper, rounding him to create an unmissable wide-open net, and passed the ball in for the 3-1 win.
We are finally here! My favorite part of the season: The final stretch of games. As everyone has 10 or fewer games to play in the season it’s starting to become a scramble to see what the playoff picture looks like, and everyone plays each game with that much more heart. Thankfully, it’s less of a scramble for Locomotive. Head Coach Mark Lowry and his squad have put themselves in control of their own destiny with games in hand at the end of the season. While I will be obviously watching Locomotive for when our side clinches their playoff spot, I’ll be eagerly and excitedly watching around the league for who else earns their right into the postseason. So far, two teams have been eliminated from playoff contention in the East as Loudoun United and New York Red Bulls II fall out of the running. Meanwhile, in the West, Phoenix Rising FC has already clinched their berth and a win for Locomotive over Real Monarchs tomorrow will eliminate the Utah team from contention. It’s an exciting time for the season!
Speaking of playoffs and what Locomotive needs to do – our magic number is 12. As of right now, 12 points makes the difference between now and the Locos Blue clinching a spot in the postseason. All Locomotive has to do is beat out the 5th lowest max point total to make it mathematically impossible to finish in 5th. As of right now, that baseline is set by none other than our rivals to the north, New Mexico United. El Paso currently sits at the top of the Mountain Division with 47 points and the max number of points New Mexico United can claim is 58 in the season. Of course, should United drop points on the road to 59 points for El Paso, it makes the journey a little easier and Locomotive could claim a playoff berth sooner rather than later.
After 9 Regular Season games since 2019, Real Monarchs have yet to come out on top against El Paso Locomotive. The two sides split the points across two games in 2019 while so far in seven across 2020 and 2021, Locomotive has swept the Monarchy, claiming the full three points in every matchup. Most recently through the 2021 season, El Paso traveled twice to Utah, taking down the Monarchs in June with a 2-1 record before doing it again at the start of July 3-1. Finally, as we looked at above, El Paso welcomed Real Monarchs picking up the win on a 3-1 scoreline. Right now, Los Locos are on a seven-game win streak against the Monarchs and will be looking to sweep the 2021 series with another win against an eighth straight win against the Utah club on Wednesday.