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On Track: Three Weeks into Preseason

By El Paso Locomotive FC, 02/08/19, 6:00PM MST


*This article has been updated to reflect changes as of February 12, 2019

What do you call a group of people who have never played together, much less just met each other a few weeks before their first match? Locomotive preseason. El Paso Locomotive FC has been practicing together as a near full unit for the past three weeks, with players trickling in for training camp from their respective countries and cities. From Belgium, Scotland, Mexico and everything in between, the boys have landed in El Paso, laced up their boots and been putting in the work for March 9th. Between that historic first whistle and now, Locomotive FC faces four more preseason matches.

In any sport, the goal is a three-letter word. W-I-N. Teams are measured on their performance and their ability to outscore opponents. With preseason, this goal is still evident, but the way you approach that end goal differs. It is reminiscent of taking an alternate route to work one morning to experience a phenomenon of dissimilarity, you still arrive at your final destination in a similar amount of time but are offered a varied outlook on your journey. Head Coach Mark Lowry has tested three different roads thus far in his preseason run, and the route looks lovely.

El Paso Locomotive FC began their preseason with a match against USL League 2 squad, Texas United. The team came rolling down the tracks full steam ahead. The first goal came off a set piece connecting with the head of defender, Chiro N’toko and experienced a rapid change of direction to find the net. Locomotive kept the energy high and netted another two by the time the final whistle blew, winning this contest 3-1. The second contest of the preseason was a matchup between EP Locomotive and Hooligans, a club that is an amalgamation of regional players. It was a physical contest with Locomotive coming out on top with a score of 2-0.

The team’s most recent match was against local UPSL team, Southwest F.C., on a chilly desert night. In contrast to the temperature, EP Locomotive was red hot and netted two goals in the match to notch another 2-0 victory. In preseason, EP Locomotive is running on a plus 6 goal differential and have been implementing the high-possession style of play that Mark Lowry has been hammering down on. From the countless hours of drills and training, and the three matches under their belt, it is apparent that the team is finding their rhythm.

Today the team faces another test in playing fellow USL Championship side club, New Mexico United. This will be the first time the two “regional” rivals will face each other. Though it is preseason, it will be the first note in the melody of this budding rivalry.

A river and a border may separate the two teams, but on February 13th they will face off! EP Locomotive is crossing the Rio Grande to face FC Juarez, who play in the Ascenso MX, as part of their preseason run. This match will be a fabulous test for the Locomotive squad who have already come out of the station firing away.

El Paso Locomotive will face two other USL Championship squads before March 9th rolls around, beginning with a trip to the heart of Texas and meeting state opponent San Antonio FC on February 23rd. The following week, the team heads west to meet OKC Energy FC (who they will also face in their home opener) in Tucson, Arizona.

People often say that preseason is just that, pre. The Locomotive and Lowry approach to this statement is, treat every match and every touch like the real thing, because when matchday comes around, you revert to your training to carry you through. Form follows function and these lads are in top form.

El Paso Locomotive and New Mexico United met for the first time this past Saturday, February, 9, and kicked off the rivalry between the two new kids on the block. Unfortunately, New Mexico struck first after converting a penalty kick. Although El Paso Locomotive maintained their high-possession gameplan, they couldn't find the net before the final whistle blew. Locomotive returns to the action tomorrow, February 13 against FC Juarez. 

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