El Paso rides unbeaten streak into USL playoffs against Tulsa

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Salette Ontiveros

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Joel Molina, Contributor

Locomotive (9-2-5) open the USL playoffs tonight against Tulsa FC (6-2-7) as looks to extend it unbeaten streak and advance to the championship round.  

El Paso completed their 2020 season with a huge 4-0 victory over the Real Monarchs. With the victory they added to their unbeaten streak which now sits at 11 games and more importantly they cleared the second-place team New Mexico United to allow them the right to clinch the group C title and host their first playoff matchup.  

“They went into the game with such great concentration and determination to put a good performance in, to take care of the small details and to get some goals and they did all those things,” said Head Coach Mark Lowery about the Locomotive’s victory against The Real Monarchs in their final game of the 2020 regular season.I thought the concentration throughout the game was superb and we needed that going into playoffs, you know, off the back of two ties. We wanted to get back to winning ways and the guys did that.”

Locomotive (9-2-5) open the USL playoffs tonight against Tulsa FC (6-2-7) as looks to extend it unbeaten streak and advance to the championship round.  

 The Locomotive began their 2020 season with a 1-0 victory against Rio Grande Valley FC July 11 and then faced New Mexico United, with the outcome of the game being a 2-2 draw and first draw of the season for the Locomotive. They then went on to suffer two straight losses to New Mexico United and Phoenix Rising FC. They would not suffer another loss again throughout the 2020 season and won 7 of their last 10 games to finish with a 9-5-2 record.   

Midfielders Dylan Mares and Josué Gómez finished the season tied for team lead in goals with 4 on the season. Goalkeeper Logan Ketterer finished ninth in the league in saves with 38 and first in the league for clean sheets with 8 on the season.  

 The Locomotive’s first matchup of the playoffs will come against FC Tulsa  a team that placed second in group D behind San Antonio FC (10-3-3). FC Tulsa is coming off an unbeaten streak of their own which spans 8 games. They are also coming off a 3-game win streak, with their last victory coming against a recent opponent of the Locomotive, The Colorado Springs Switchbacks.   

One of the key players to look at for FC Tulsa is midfielder Darío Suárez who lead the team in goals and tied for 10th in league for goals with 8 on the season. Goalkeeper Sean Lewis is another player to look at, he ended up tied for third in the league for saves with 51 and also finished the season tied for eighth in the league for clean sheets with 4 on the season.  

The game is scheduled to take place at 7:30 p.m. at Southwest University Park. Tickets for the matchup have sold out with the stadium set at a capacity of 1,659 fans. 

 “The Club is excited to make this announcement and we could not be more proud that we have been able to host six capacity crowds so far this year in a safe and entertaining manner,” said  Andrew Forrest, general manager, Business Operations of the El Paso Locomotive, in a statement about the selling out of tickets for The El Paso Locomotive’s Western Conference Quarterfinals match at Southwest University Park.  

The game will be televised locally on El Paso – Las Cruces CW and broadcast on ESPN+ 

Joel Molina may be reached at [email protected]