Locomotive score late to beat Salt Lake City 2-1 in front of 800 fans


Maria Salette Ontiveros

Locomotive midfielder Distel Zola fights for possession against Real Monarch forward Damien German Aug. 29, 2020.

Michael Cuviello, Sports Editor

Playing for the first time in front of fans since the COVID-19 outbreak in March, the El Paso Locomotive came through with a goal at the 87-minute mark to achieve 2-1 win over the Salt Lake City (SLC) Real Monarchs Saturday night. 

With 800 fans scattered throughout the stadium due to social distancing rules and restrictions both teams played 51 minutes with minimal scoring opportunities and very few shots taken on goal.  

While small in number the crowd was enthusiastic and animated in their support of the hometown team with the usual drumming and chants on a smaller scale than usual. 

“It felt like more than 800,” Brent Kallman said. “You missed that. The world is in a weird place now and you realize how much you missed that. It definitely made a difference.” 

Possession wise the Locomotive dominated SLC while controlling the ball 65% of the match and playing the majority of the time in the opposing team’s zone.  

On attempted shots the Locomotive more than doubled the output of the Real Monarchs with 22 compared to nineUnfortunately, only seven shots were on target compared to SLC’s five for the game. 

At the 53-minute mark the Locomotive broke through for their first score of the night from newly acquired defender Kallman who headed in a shot off a Dylan Mares corner kick to give El Paso the first lead of the match. 

This was the first home match for Kallman in El Paso and his second match total for the Locomotive. Kallman is on loan from the Minnesota United of Major League Soccer. 

Speaking on his corner kick score, “We worked on that in training, we focused on it and we were able to execute it,” Kallman said. “I should have scored one right away (at the six-minute mark), we should have had a lot more goals.” 

He was really good tonight,” Locomotive Coach Mark Lowry said. “Really happy with what he did. The way he attacks the ball offensively and defensively is great thing for us to have. He is really contributing well for us.” 

Up until the 81-minute mark El Paso was looking like they would have a clean slate for the evening with a shutout giving SLC few scoring opportunities. That all changed when SLC forward Kyle Coffee took advantage of some undisciplined Locomotive play and scored on a counterattack tying the match with a little over 10 minutes left to play. 

“We didn’t see that coming, it came out of nowhere,” Lowry said. “When you don’t capitalize, you don’t put it on target, you’re not clinical enough with the finish you leave yourself in a position where one goal might not be enough. 

Five minutes later El Paso midfielder Bryam Rebellon made a heady play scoring from the right edge of the goal keepers’ box that ended with him laying on ground the briefly motionless 

The winning shot was Rebellon’s first goal of the season. Rebellon was able to recover and continue on his own after a few moments of being looked at by the trainer while on the ground. 

Initially it looked like Rebellon would have to be carried off the field due to his lack of movement right receiving an elbow to the face after the goal but was able to get to his feet amid cheers from the fans as he walked off the field. 

“I thought Bryan had a really good game in general and topped it off with such a really good goal,” Lowry said. “He is a tough guy and had a really great performance.”  

El Paso was able to hold on for the win and moves to 4-2-3 with 15 points in its division standings five points behind first place New Mexico United. The Locomotives victory gives them a commanding eight-point lead over Colorado Springs for second place. A match next Saturday versus New Mexico could have first place implications if El Paso wins its match versus Colorado Springs on the road Sept. 2. A victory would put them two points out of first place.  

Players kneeled during the anthem and then later stopped play while gathering in a circle for eight minutes and 46 seconds during the first half in observance of black lives matter.  

“It’s an important moment obviously throughout the whole league everyone has embraced that,” Lowry said. “Every team I believe is showing their support for social injustice that is evident throughout society and has been evident for a long time.”  

The Locomotive go on the road to play Wednesday versus the Colorado Springs Switchbacks and will return home to play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday Sept. 5, against first place New Mexico United at Southwest University Stadium.

 Michael Cuviello may be reached at [email protected]