Locomotive seek to clinch Group C on road at Switchbacks


Marie Salette Ontiveros

The El Paso Locomotive’s mascot Ozzy helps the crowd celebrate a goal versus San Antonio Sept 12.

Joel Molina, Contributor

Winding down its regular season with two games to go, the El Paso Locomotive (8-2-4) now look to clinch its group taking on the fourth place team in its group the Colorado Springs Switchbacks (2-6-6)  on the road.

Coming off a 2-1 win over New Mexico United Sep 19 and a 1-1 draw to the Salt Lake City (SLC) Real Monarchs (3-2-9) Sep 26, the Switchbacks are only playing for pride. The El Paso Locomotive has faced The Colorado Spring Switchbacks 3 times this season, with the matches resulting in 2 wins and one draw. In the last matchup Sept. 16, El Paso forward Omar Salgado scored a goal in the 74th minute to help lead the Locomotive to a 2-1 victory.    

The Locomotive is coming off a scoreless draw to New Mexico United (84-3 Sep 26. El Paso’s current unbeaten streak now sits at nine games. A win in its next match will clinch the Group C championship since the Locomotive is four points ahead of the secondplace United.   

“We just have two games to focus on, make sure we do secure the first-place position, you know, it’s one point between two games on the road and we just need to go and get it done,” said Locomotive midfielder Dylan Mares about securing the first-place position in Group C.  

The El Paso Locomotive have increased their odds of winning the Group C championship by gaining a point for the tie rather than none for a loss. However, the Locomotive suffered a significant loss that will not show up in the standings with a substantial injury. Midfielder Omar Salgado, who has started 9 of the 12 games so far this season, was forced to leave during the first half after suffering a knee injury. His status at this current time is unknown and is scheduled to undergo an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) this upcoming week to decide his status going forward.  

“We do have five or six guys that have been key players for us that are out, some indefinitely and some we’re hoping can come back soon but you know it’s a tough situation right now. We have to stay positive out there. We can’t complain. It’s part of the game,” said Locomotive Head Coach Mark Lowry about injuries the team has suffered.   

One key player to look at for the El Paso Locomotive is midfielder Louis Herrera who scored two goals and his only two goals on the season during the El Paso Locomotive and The Colorado Springs Switchbacks first matchup Aug. 8.   

For the Switchbacks, a pivotal player to look out for is forward Christian Volesky, who leads the team in goals with five on the season. He has scored a goal in each of the  Switchbacks last two matches.   

The match is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m., tonight in Colorado Springs at Weidner Field and broadcast on ESPN +.