What an absolute wild year it’s been – and I’m just talking about at Southwest University Park. We’ve seen come from behind victories and draws. We’ve had golazos that have made it on to SportsCenter. We’ve seen bangers that have sent the stadium into a frenzy. We’ve watched so much happen within the walls of Southwest University Park, and we are about to do it one last time in the regular season before we start playing for the title run. So let’s break down the Regular Season home finale.
MATCH DETAILS: USL Championship Regular Season Game #31; vs OKC Energy FC; Kickoff 6:00 p.m. MT, Gates Open at 5:00 p.m. MT
VENUE/WEATHER: Southwest University Park; El Paso, Texas; 82F degrees and clear skies
TICKETS: Click Here!
RECORDS/STANDINGS: Locomotive: 17-3-10 (61 points, MTN-1); Energy: 8-9-13 (37 points, CTL-5)
PREVIOUS MEETING: You have to go back to 2019 to find a match where Locomotive FC and Energy FC met on the pitch. In fact, the time last they did was at Taft Stadium in July of 2019 in a match that saw the two teams end with a level 1-1 draw. OKC got on the board in the first half with a penalty conversion through Rafael Garcia before a second penalty opportunity in the 60th minute taken by Deshorn Brown was body stopped by Logan Ketterer. As Locomotive responded with pressure, a poor defensive clearance by Christian Ibeagha deflected off the body of Mekeil Williams and into OKC’s own net. In the end, OKC Energy scored all the goals but provided Locomotive with a point on the road.
We’ve been talking about this all-season and, honestly, I think rightly so! Locomotive has been absolutely dominant at their home of Southwest University Park. 15 of 16 matches have been played so far in El Paso this season and Locomotive dismantled even some of the best teams within the walls of their fortress. As of now, Los Locos has a 12-0-3 record. That’s 12 wins, three draws, and zero losses. It’s a near-perfect home season. El Paso Locomotive has the opportunity to close the USL Championship regular season by remaining undefeated all year in El Paso, which is a testament to how well this team performs at home. It’s a statistic that not very many teams can boast, so it’s one that Head Coach Mark Lowry and his men are proud to declare.
After three long seasons, El Paso Locomotive is night and day to where it was when it first kicked a ball at Southwest University Park on March 9, 2019. Well, now Locomotive has a long-awaited opportunity to right some wrongs from that March 9th match. In the inaugural game as a franchise, OKC Energy FC dismantled the 2019 Locomotive squad at Southwest University Park, scoring within seconds of the opening whistle. In the end, the match ended in Energy’s favor 3-1. Since then, El Paso has done nothing but improve, reaching back-to-back Western Conference Finals and now in the third year, has clinched the Mountain Division while OKC Energy FC is on the outside looking in on the verge of missing the post-season. While it might seem silly to look all the way back to the first Locomotive match, that was the last time OKC Energy FC visited Southwest University Park. It’s finally time for El Paso Locomotive FC to host OKC Energy FC and get a little bit of “vengeance” on the home field by claiming an emphatic three points at Southwest University Park.
When you already have the top spot in the Mountain Division and you’re guaranteed playoff games, what is there to play for? Well, when you’re in the final stretch of games and getting ramped up for a post-season Championship title run, momentum is everything. It is key. Going into games with “win-or-go-home” atmospheres, you’ll need momentum and confidence to take home wins against the best teams the USL Championship has to offer. Thankfully, at Southwest University Park, with the Locomotive faithful such as 8th Notch behind the team, momentum is never a problem. Players have stated multiple times throughout the season that they are always confident playing at home, and it shows with the results and a 24-game unbeaten streak. Even still, it doesn’t hurt to know that you’re on a win-streak or keep in mind that you’re a tough team to beat. Even more importantly, it’s good to have those mind games being played with your opponent. No one wants to face a team that’s in hot form. No one wants to play a team where they are likely going to be the ones to lose. Momentum is everything heading into these final two games so that Locomotive becomes the team to fear in the USL Championship post-season.
For the first time since joining USL Championship as an expansion club in 2019, El Paso Locomotive FC and Southwest University Park will be on display on the national stage. Sunday’s contest with OKC Energy FC will be nationally televised on ESPN Deportes – one of ESPN’s premier linear channels. After two incredible seasons and a third where Locomotive was a constant name at the top of the league table, Locomotive, El Paso, and the community that surrounds it will be shared nationally. This is El Paso’s moment to showcase who we are. This is our opportunity to show off the dedicated support and love we have for the beautiful game. Very few times do I call upon you to pack the stadium, but if ever there was a time to pack the stadium and show off our El Paso pride, it’s now! Be part of our national showcase! Get your tickets at eplocomotivefc.com/tickets!