EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – That felt good.
Coming off back-to-back losses and a tumultuous week full of injuries and player transfers, El Paso Locomotive FC was in need of some good news. On Saturday at Southwest University Park, they got it in the form of a 4-2 victory over Colorado Springs Switchbacks.
The win moved El Paso to within two points of New Mexico United for first place in USL Championship’s Group C and put them four points clear of third and fourth place in the group.
The offensive explosion started early for El Paso. In the 15th minute, Dylan Mares ripped a free kick from just outside the 18-yard box that found the back of the net for a 1-0 advantage. Six minutes later, Josue Aaron Gomez took advantage of a mistake by a Switchbacks defender and netted his third goal in three matches, as Locomotive led 2-0 at halftime.
The second half became the Chapa Herrera show.
In the 66th minute, Nick Ross and Gomez played a beautiful 1-2, then Ross found Herrera in the box for a 3-0 lead. The goal was the first of Herrera’s professional career and a feel-good moment for a player that made the team after excelling at an open tryout in 2019.
Two minutes later, the night became extra special for Herrera. Fellow El Pasoan Omar Salgado beat his defender 1-on-1, then fired a perfect cross into the box for a streaking Herrera, who hammered home his second goal of the night, capping the best match of his young career.
“It was amazing. I wasn’t expecting this at all, but the most important thing is that we had a good game as a team,” Herrera said. “We were able to pick up 3 points, and the last game we lost some points so it was a good chance to turn things around. It’s good we got the win.”
Things got a bit dicey in the final 10 minutes, as Uvaldo Luna scored a pair of goals for Colorado Springs to make the final score a bit less convincing, but nonetheless it was an important victory for an El Paso squad in desperate need of one.
“I don’t see any reason why this team can’t go on a winning streak now because we have the quality,” said head coach Mark Lowry. “We’ve been playing really well. We just have to keep pushing ourselves to be better every day. I know the guys in there will do that, we’ve got a great locker room. Experienced players that are always pushing each other every single day to be better. I’m looking forward to this week of training because even though we’ve won the calmness will be there. We’ve got some things to clean up and some things to work on which ultimately will make us a better team.”
El Paso will head back out on the road next Saturday, Aug. 15, in search of its first victory away from Southwest University Park in 2020, as they play Real Monarchs SLC. The club will also be hoping for a measure of revenge, after Monarchs knocked Locomotive FC out of the 2019 Western Conference Finals.