El Paso Locomotive FC was able to tie a club record on Saturday night by winning their fifth consecutive match, defeating Loudoun United by 1-0 at Southwest University Park in downtown El Paso. The lone goal of the match was scored by El Pasoan Chris Garcia in the 89th minute of the match. Garcia came on off the bench in the 65th minute.

It was Garcia’s first goal with the Locomotive, making the night extra special for Garcia, his friends & family (who were at the game) and all the Locomotive fans in attendance.

El Paso is the hottest team in the USL Championship as they are the only team to win their last five matches in the entire league. Their most recent win has allowed them to move up to second place in the western conference standings two points behind Sacramento Republic.

Here’s what happened

The Locos came out firing, having a few shots that went just wide of goal and a couple of shots within the first 10 minutes of the match. Loudoun’s first real threat on goal did not come until the 18th minute of the match.
For the remainder of the first half the Locos dominated in possession and in chances created on goal. Still their shots continued to go wide. However in the 37th minute Emmanuel Sonupe took a shot that hit the post after it was skimmed by goalkeeper Hugo Fauroux.

El Paso Locomotive FC
El Paso Locomotive FC

El Paso created a threat on goal in the opening seconds of the second half, however, Loudoun improved over the course of the next 15 minutes imposing their style of play for the first time in the match. Locomotive regained control of the match shortly thereafter.

Two significant goal scoring opportunities presented themselves back to back for El Paso in the 79th minute. Josue Aaron Gomez hit the crossbar, the ball then landed at the feet of Denys Kostyshyn who proceeded to take a shot that was deflected by a Loudoun defender that led to a corner kick. That corner kick resulted in a series of deflections that ended with ball being inches from the goalline, saved by Fauroux.

The match winner came in the 89th minute when Gomez stole the ball from Daniel Chica and proceeded to send a cross that was met by Garcia who pushed the ball in with his chest.

What was said

After the match the hero of the night for El Paso spoke with the media. Garcia said, “The team worked really hard throughout the game.I felt so nice to score in front of my people, here in El Paso where I’m from. I’m happy for the team and thankful for them allowing me the opportunity to experience this.”

Head coach and technical director, Brian Clarhaut was happy with the win but astute as always in self-critiquing his team’s performance.

“I thought it was a good first half performance. We should have been up a few goals, but that’s the nature of the game. The second half wasn’t super great, we let them into the game a bit.”

Clarhaut continued, “These games are difficult games. We made some adjustments and the best case scenario happened. We still need to improve, but we’re doing something right and getting three points.”

What’s next

The Locos will now head south to face the Birmingham Legion. It will be the first of three consecutive matches on the road for El Paso before returning home on Wednesday, June 14. The Legion lost to the Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2-1 on Saturday afternoon. As of Saturday night, the club from the state of Alabama is in third place in the Eastern Conference. Next Saturday's match will kickoff at 5:30 p.m. MST and will be televised nationally via streaming on ESPN+.

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