El Paso Locomotive FC picked up its first home win of the 2023 season on Saturday night defeating Orange County SC by the score of 1-0. The win was also the first home victory for new head coach Brian Clarhaut.

Despite the margin of victory being only the minimal difference, a score of 1-0, Locomotive was the better team over the course of 90 minutes at Southwest University Park in downtown El Paso.

The win came on a night where two players, team captain Yuma and Josue Aaron Gomez, played in their 100th match for El Paso. The man responsible for putting the ball in the back of the net for the Locos was Luis ‘Lucho’ Solignac a little less than 20 minutes into the match.

El Paso Locomotive FC vs Orange County SC in theUSL.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre

El Paso is starting on a nice little streak of obtaining points in league play after losing their first three matches to start the 2023 campaign. The Locos have now obtained 7 of their last nine points in league competition.

Here’s what happened

El Paso complicated things for itself in the first six minutes of the match as two of its players from its defensive line were given cheap yellow cards. First it was Miles Lyons in the fifth minute and then one minute later it was Bence Pavkovics. These two incidents set the pace for how the match was going to be called by center referee Cristian Campo.

The Locos took the lead in the 19th minute when Yuma took a strike on goal from about 35 yards out. The ball was deflected off an Orange County defender and landed right at the feet of Luis ‘Lucho’ Solignac. Solignac did not hesitate to turn around and take a right footed strike that rolled just inside the base of the right post.

El Paso Locomotive FC vs Orange County SC in theUSL.
Ivan Pierre Aguirre

El Paso improved in its ability to dictate and control the second half as the minutes went by. The clearest opportunity for El Paso in the second half came in the 70th minute when Solignac made a run and found himself 1 v 1 with OCSC goalkeeper Cody Cropper, Solignac’s shot went wide right by the narrowest of margins.

As the second progressed it became clear that the Locos posed a bigger threat and were closer to scoring a second goal and extending their lead as opposed to OCSC getting the equalizer.

What was said

After the match Clarhaut, Solignac and Eric Calvillo spoke with the media. The new Locomotive boss said, “I think the boys did a good job. There was a reason we kept certain guys home during the midweek game (a U.S. Open cup match at Union Omaha) so they could produce and get three points, that was what we sacrificed and I think we saw the performances of those guys and they stepped up big tonight.”

Clarhaut stated that he welcomes the two weeks his team will have to prepare for their next match as they will not see any action next weekend. “We need rest and to get fresh again. We see when we are fresh what types of performances we can have. We’ll give them a few days off until we begin to get ready for Pittsburgh.”

Solignac stated that he also welcomes the break in their season schedule, “It’s a welcomed break. We’ve have a lot of travel and many games already. These two weeks we’ll rest because it’s a long season and then continue work to improve.”

As for the win, the star forward for El Paso commented that he felt the team showed a lot of “character” and acknowledged that it was important for the team to close out a match, something that the Locos have struggled to do conceding goals in the closing minutes twice this season.

What’s next

Locomotive will have a two week break in action before returning to Southwest University Park for a home match against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds on Saturday, April 22nd. The match is scheduled for a 7:30 pm kick. The match, as always, will be televised nationally via streaming on ESPN+.

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