Locomotive and New Mexico United survive impending severe weather, battle to a draw

Locomotive+defender+Bryam+Rebellon+takes+to+air+to+set+a+pass+to+teammate+verus+New+Mexico+July+15%2C+2020.

Michael Cuviello

Locomotive defender Bryam Rebellon takes to air to set a pass to teammate verus New Mexico July 15, 2020.

Michael Cuviello, Editor-in-Chief

On a severely overcast Wednesday night, the El Paso Locomotive struggled to get clean shots on goal for most of the match coming up scoreless in the second half playing  New Mexico United to a draw 2-2. 

“We are unbeaten in three, we had the chances to win this game,” said Head Coach Mark Lowry. “We are the team most disappointed with a tie.” 

Fitness wise, both teams, are still at a preseason level,” Lowry said. We are pushing guys through 90 minutes that are not ready for that amount of play.” 

At the 11-minute mark, New Mexico midfielder Christopher Wehen scored his second goal in as many games with a kick to the right-hand corner of the Locomotive net. Wehen had already taken two previous shots on goal early with one blocked and the other sailing high. This goal was the first scored against El Paso in three games.  

Dodging quite a few close calls in its own territory, the Locomotive were taking shots that were well off target for most of the first half. At the six-minute mark, the Locomotive’s Aaron Lopez missed a close header that went over the net. 

Last week’s game-winner, Ryan Mares came within a foot of a goal at the 39-minute mark of the first half as it sailed just left of the side of the net. This attempt was followed shortly by teammate Omar Salgado getting a yellow card violation for verbally lambasting the referee about his calls. 

“These games are extremely important and for both teams every single point counts,” said Salgado. ““We gave up a late penalty, we weren’t able to put away a couple of chances at the end, that’s disappointing,” 

The close call and the fire of Salgado gave the Locomotive some energy it lacked offensively up to this pointThree minutes later, a frustrated Salgado split the net with to the left with a goal from short range. 

Midfielder Andrew Fox made a spectacular play just before the half ended with another short-range goal off a bounce-back shot off the goalie. 

“There were spells in the game we took our foot off the gas,” said Fox. “We have four points (in two games), that’s not woeful, but six points were available so that’s two dropped,” 

Rain started to fall as the second half began and lighting was seriously putting the game in danger of being called due to inclement weather. Both teams missed opportunities on goals in close proximity, including an offside play by Mares that cost the Locomotive a goal. 

United’s Devin Sandoval, who had already had two close misses on goal earlier in the half finally was able to convert with a score off a penalty shot at the 76-minute mark to tie the game. 

For the rest of the match, El Paso would take all the rest of the shots with none of the four landing in the opponent’s goal. The defensive break downs that led to both New Mexico goals was just too much to overcome. 

“At the end of the game we were the team on the ascendancy, we were the team with momentum. We just couldn’t put one away,” said Lowry. “We had chances to win the game that we did not take advantage of. Both teams feel like they should have won the game.” 

For the match, El Paso took 22 shots with only six on goal and two scoring. United did just as much scoring with only 12 shots and six on goalEl Paso took a massive 15 shots from within the box while United only took eight.  

Possession wise the Locomotive had a 54% to 46% advantage over the United. Overall, the Locomotive could not take advantage of its scoring opportunities and outside of the last part of both halves seemed like the less aggressive team. 

“ There were spells in the game we took our foot off the gas,” said Fox. “We have four points (in two games), that’s not woeful, but six points were available, so that’s two dropped,”  

The tie leaves the Locomotive with a 1-0-2 record for the year and still in first place in Group C with 5 points. New Mexico United is one point behind with a 1-1-1 record. 

For its next game, the Locomotive will play a home rematch with New Mexico 7:30 p.m. Friday July 24 at Southwest University FieldThe Locomotive have not announced whether fans will be able to attend the next game and an announcement on this should come no later than Monday July 20. 

 

Michael Cuviello may be reached at [email protected]