Locomotive FC Still Searching For Scoring After Three Matches
El Paso Locomotive FC has yet to lose a match through their first three games of the 2021 USL regular season. In fact, their defense has surrendered just one goal in nearly 300 minutes of play. However, they have scored just twice over that span, despite adding multiple offensive weapons this offseason.
For head coach and technical director Mark Lowry, the formula for three points every match is simple. His team needs to execute his system of precision passes and ball control, which will limit USL opponents from getting much pressure on his defense while controlling the attacking zone with quality shots and scoring chances. Coach Lowry brought back the majority of his defenders and midfielders from the 2020 campaign and added a few proven and consistent strikers to find the net more frequently this season. Early on, the results are not there yet.
"We’re not a defensive minded team, we are the most attacking team in the league," Coach Lowry said at a recent training session. "We’re an attacking team but we go about it a little bit differently. It’s just a case now of finding those goals, we have it in the team, we have it in the system, the chances are there and they are there for all to see. It’s about timing of chances it’s about taking them at the right times because goals change games. Once you get one, you tend to get three or four more."
Locomotive FC ranks last in the Western Conference in goals scored, but they are 10th out of 15 clubs in shots. Despite taking 35 shots, they are tied with Salt Lake for last in the conference with an 8-percent conversion rate. In contrast, Tacoma leads the West with a 25% conversion rate, while LA is tops with 15 goals. To be fair, the Galaxy II have played five more matches than El Paso, and the 15 clubs that make up the Western Conference have played as few as two matches (Oakland) or as many as seven (LA). The rest of the league fall in between.
Newcomers Aidan Apodaca, Luis Solignac, and Jose Aguinaga are all proven goal scorers and creators, but they are yet to find the back of the net with El Paso. Apodaca and Aguinaga are averaging just under 20 minutes per match, while Solignac has three shots and three chances created in three starts for Locomotive FC. Returnees Aaron Gomez and Leandro Carrijo have accounted for the two goals, while Dylan Mares and Eder Borelli are tied for the team lead with four chances created each. Solignac, Bryam Rebellón, Ritchie Ryan, and Macauley King each have three.
El Paso plays there second road match in only four days tomorrow night when they battle Austin Bold FC. In the past, Coach Lowry has shuffled his lineup when his club plays on short rest, which could give players like Apodaca, Aguinaga, Carrijo, and 17-year old Diego Luna starting minutes. Since all four players have been late subs through the first three matches, it will be interesting to see if they are able to break through offensively against Austin.