Locomotive advance in playoffs with overtime win over Tulsa

Heriberto Perez, Sports Reporter

The El Paso Locomotive struggled to a regulation draw with Tulsa FC but pulled out a 4-2 win in the penalty shootout phase. Securing its ticket to the western conference semifinal Saturday night with the win, El Paso dominated the action most of the  game but had putting the ball in the net with many missed opportunities to score. 

With a possession percentage of  53%, the Locomotive had 26 total shots, 10 on target, 13 off target, and three blocked attempts by the Tulsa goalkeeper Sean Lewis. 

The action started at the 18th minute of the game when the captain and center back Yuma floated the ball to the Tulsa center back zone. It was a double error by Tulsa’s defender Kevin Garcia and goalkeeper Lewis who let the ball bounce down, and Locomotive forward Leandro Carrijo took advantage of the error to score the first goal of the match. 

At the 38th minute came the equalizer for the visitors, when Tulsa’s right-winger crossed the ball past Locomotive goalkeeper Logan Ketterer, with  Tulsa forward Rodrigo da Costa scoring to make it 1-1. 

It was then not until the 68th minute of the game when Tulsa midfielder Lebo Moloto with a long cross found Callum Chapman-Page’s head causing Ketterer  to make an air-exit mistake, giving the visitors the 2-1 lead on the score.   

After the second goal, El Paso started to dominate in Tulsa’s defensive area. At the 70th minute of the game, midfielder Dylan Mares took a corner kick, founded midfielder Richie Ryan, who hit the crossbar.  

At the 82nd-minute mark, Mares again, with a clean corner kick cross, founded his teammate Carrijo and, with a strong header, scored his second goal of the game and the equalizer for the Locomotive. El Paso had a couple more chances at the 93rd minute of the game, and at the 97th minute at extra-time, both of those were made by forward Aron Gomez, and both chances went directly to the crossbar.  

At the 100th minute of the game, the referee handed off a direct red card to Tulsa’s Chapman-Page, for saying something to the official, and left his team shorthanded with 10 men until the extra time. 

The quarterfinal match ended up with a 2-2 draw, at the end of regulation sending it to penalty kicks to decide the match 

Tulsa started the penalty shootout with Christian Altamirano scoring and then it was El Paso midfielder Nick Ross who scored the 1-1 for the first penalties’ round. 

On the second round one, Moloto failed to score, blowing the ball above the goal, for the Locos midfielder Bryam Rebellón scored the 2-1.  

The third round started up with Tulsa captain Ariel Martinez shooting and Ketterer, with a great save, stopped the ball; Ryan, with a strong shot to the top corner, made it 3-1. 

The fourth and last round of the penalties started with right-back Bradley Bourgeois scoring, but then it was midfielder Saeed Robinson who sealed the penalty kick and scored the winning point for El Paso.  

“When you look at the 120 minutes, obviously give the guys great credit. We are pretty beat up right now in terms of the size, the squad, and the fatigue level of the squad,” said Head Coach Mark Lowry. “For them to grind out 120 minutes as they did, get in the attack, and create the chances like they did was superb. I loved the way they showed composure throughout the shootout because that’s important. The four guys that stepped up to take those kicks tonight were fantastic. It’s in those moments that I give the guys a lot of credit.” 

The Locomotive extended its unbeaten streak to 12 games, and now they will be playing the western conference semifinals against New Mexico United next 7;30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17 at Southwest University Park. It will be the fifth time these two teams will face each other with just one win in all-time for El Paso.  

Heriberto Perez may be reached at [email protected]