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‘We need the best from everyone.’ Navarro, others optimistic despite El Paso Locomotive slump

The Locomotive’s hope to carry its momentum back to El Paso Saturday, Sept. 2 to face off against Monterey Bay FC at Southwest University Park. Photo courtesy of the Prospector archive

The beginning of the summer presented many promises for the El Paso Locomotive FC (9-10-5). Now the team has grinded to a screeching halt having not won a game since June 14.   

The Locos consistently graced the top of the USL Championship rankings, setting a franchise record of undefeated matches and climbed to the top of the Western Conference standings no less than two months ago. Now, having lost five straight games and on the cusp of playoff contention, the El Paso Locomotive seem lost and off-sync.  

Since the Locos’ last 2-1 victory against the Las Vegas Lights FC June 14, El Paso has gone 0-7-3 with a whopping goal differential (GD) of –17. For reference, the team started out with a GD of eight prior to the summer slump. The most concerning fact is that four of the last five matches were all lost by two or more goals.  

The Locomotive were shutout in two straight games versus Miami FC and Phoenix Rising FC for a total of nine goals to El Paso’s zero. For weeks now, coaching and talent have said virtually the same thing.  

“We will come back,” said midfielder Petar Petrovic after returning from injury also in July.  

“Nos vamos a preparar día con día,” said midfielder Louis Herrera after the July 22 loss to Oakland Roots SC.  

“We need the best from everyone,” said defender Marc Navarro prior to the team’s loss to Indy Eleven.  

First year Head Coach and Technical Director Brian Clarhaut has expressed his frustration.  

“There are real highs and real lows. We need to get a little bit more even before we get killed,” said Clarhaut in preparation of the team’s match against Phoenix Rising FC. “It is frustrating because I have seen this team perform at high levels for a consecutive amount of time.”   

Just a few days before the Locos were set to play Hartford Athletics, news broke that Los Angeles FC (Major League Soccer) defender Noah Dollenmayer would be joining El Paso on loan. A loan allows a team to send a player to another team, generally from a smaller league, for a number of reasons in exchange for roster spots or money. Dollenmayer’s loan will keep him in the Sun City for the remainder of the season.  

“He is a physically imposing center-back who is good on the ball and wins a large number of aerial duels, so we are happy to welcome Noah (Dollenmayer) to our Locomotive family for the remainder of the season,” said Clarhaut on the blockbuster acquisition.  

Dollenmayer would start for the Locomotive against Hartford Athletics this past Saturday and provided much needed help.  

In a pivotal game, the Locomotive stepped up to the challenge and shutout Hartford 2-0. Goals from forward Aaron Gomez in the fifteen minute and Petrovic in the sixty-ninth minute would place the once dominate team on a clear path to victory.   

Over was the looming 10-game winless streak for El Paso. Dollenmayer made his presence seen with three clearances and a total of six successful position battles.  

The Locomotive hopes to carry its momentum back to El Paso Saturday, Sept. 2 to face off against Monterey Bay FC at Southwest University Park. Kickoff will take place at 7:30 p.m. where the organization will celebrate its fifth annual Noche de Locos. 

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela Armendariz is the sports editor and may be reached at [email protected]: @rivasemmanuel2 on Instagram 

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About the Contributor
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Sports Editor
Emmanuel Rivas is the sports editor for The Prospector and is also a writer for Minero Magazine. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with minors in political science and chicano studies. Although unsure about his future, Emmanuel plans to move back to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to work in journalism, media, communication or public relations.
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