EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – After one of the strangest – and perhaps most difficult – weeks in club history, El Paso Locomotive FC will look to turn the page ever so slightly on Saturday as they host San Antonio FC.

Locomotive FC made headlines this week after officially parting ways with veteran midfielder Sebastian Velasquez, and reports surfaced of the souring relationship with captain Richie Ryan over a contract dispute.

Sources told KTSM that Ryan has not been practicing with the team for over a week as his camp attempts to come to a resolution with Locomotive FC. El Paso offered Ryan a new contract for 2023 that he deemed unacceptable; in response, the club barred him from training and as of Friday, has not granted him his release to try to sign with a new team, sources told KTSM.

As one of the most respected players in all of USL Championship, Ryan’s absence has drawn attention from around the league leading up to Saturday’s match. On the field, things didn’t go well for El Paso the last time they played.

Locomotive FC was trounced, 4-0, by Oakland Roots last Saturday, snapping El Paso’s 10-match unbeaten streak. Making matters tough, Locomotive will welcome the top team in the Western Conference to Southwest University Park on Saturday in San Antonio, as the Alamo City bunch has a chance to clinch Copa Tejas with a win.

“I know it means a lot to the fans and the club and the players know that. It would really hurt if they’re lifting [trophies] at our house,” said head coach John Hutchinson.  “We know what it means to defend and we know what it means to the club and we are definitely here to get the win not just for the players and bounce back but for everyone involved.”

El Paso and San Antonio will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night at the SWUP.