El Paso Locomotive 2020 season comes to an end

El+Paso+Locomotive+Midfielder+Louis+Herrera+looks+for+an+opportunity+of+the+first+goal+of+the+night+at+Southwest+University+Park%2C+Wednesday%2C+Sept.+16%2C+2020.

Salette Ontiveros

El Paso Locomotive Midfielder Louis Herrera looks for an opportunity of the first goal of the night at Southwest University Park, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020.

Heriberto Perez, Reporter

The Locomotive lost its second consecutive  Western Conference Final in its quest for a  USL Championship, falling short to the Phoenix Rising in its match’s penalties phase. For the third game in a row, El Paso overcame the extra time and went to a penalty shootout, but El Paso failed to score in two penalties, ending its playoff run.

The first goal of the match came up at the 18th-minute of the game. Phoenix’s left-winger Santi Moar passed to midfielder Jordan Schweitzer, who hit a soft reflection off midfielder Richie Ryan with a shot from outside of the box. This shot hit the crossbar before the deflection surprising El Paso’s goalkeeper Logan Ketterer for the match’s first goal.

El Paso was not able to take advantage of many opportunities in the first half. It was right before halftime when Phoenix’s midfielder Kevon Lambert sent his header to the crossbar after a corner kick. The Locomotive kept the match close, trailing for most of the second half.

At the 59th-minute of the game, El Paso had its chance when midfielder Dylan Mares pulled up the game’s strings, passed to left-back Eder Borelli, who crossed to the penalty spot. Now it was midfielder Byram Rebellon who, with an authentic rocket shot, sent the ball to the back of the net, scoring the equalizer for the Locomotive.

After El Paso’s score, the game was very even with minimal scoring chances from either team, neither finding a clear opportunity to break the game open. At the 90+4 minute of the match, Mares had the opportunity to win the game with a free-kick, but his shot went just over the crossbar and the game went to extra time. The extra time did not have too many chances from either team. Both teams looked a little exhausted, and consequently, the game went to the penalties.

At the penalties’ first-round, Phoenix started the shootout with midfielder Jon Bakero who scored the first one; then, forward Leandro Carrijo, who equalized the penalties for the Locos.

The second round started with the Phoenix right-back Corey Whelan scoring along with El Paso midfielder  Nick Ross failing the penalty after a good save from the Rising’s best player, goalkeeper Zac Lubin.

In the third penalty round, center back Joseph Farrell scored the penalty, and then it was Ryan scoring the 3-2 for the Rising. The fourth was the final round of the conference final. Moar scored the fourth penalty for the Rising as Locomotive forward Aaron Gomez slipped and sent the ball off-target, and it was all for El Paso in this year’s season.

“I don’t have any words for this; I’m not hurting for myself. I can accept this and carry the burden, but I’m hurting and sick to my stomach for my players.” El Paso Locomotive head coach Mark Lowry mentioned on his social media. “Absolute sick, they all deserve more, no hay palabras.”

El Paso has finished its 2020 season and will look forward to the USL Championship 2021 season. The USL Championship Final will feature the FC Tampa Bay Rowdies versus Phoenix Rising FC at the Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Florida, next Saturday, Nov. 1.

Heriberto Perez may be reached at [email protected]