TULSA, OK (KTSM) — For the third consecutive season, El Paso Locomotive FC is playoff bound. Los Locos earning their 15th win of the season in a 2-1 result against FC Tulsa at ONEOK Field on Saturday night. With the win, El Paso clinches a playoff berth with five games remaining in the regular season.
Locomotive (15-2-10, 55 points) got off to one of their best starts of the season, scoring two goals in the first 13 minutes of the match. Forward Aaron Gomez scored in the 6th minute for his 7th goal of the season before earning his third assist on Lucho Solignac’s 8th goal of the season in the 13th minute.
“Clinching playoffs feels good,” said head coach Mark Lowry. “I think it was always going to happen. We’ve been at the top for a while, so I feel like that was inevitable.”
FC Tulsa had their chances against a depleted Locomotive backline, but goalkeeper Logan Ketterer made a key save in the second half to ensure El Paso would come away with the full three points and a playoff spot in hand.
“It’s good to get back to winning ways,” said Lowry. “We obviously have a ton of injuries right now. We have a makeshift backline there in front of Logan [Ketterer] and the guys put in a great shift tonight. Getting back to winning ways on the road is important. Tulsa is a really good team. They’re going to make playoffs in their division, obviously. Great performance by everybody. The guys put in a real blue-collar work ethic tonight to get the result.”
Needing just five points in their final five matches of the regular season to clinch the Western Conference Mountain Division, Locomotive will host Colorado Springs on Wednesday at Southwest University Park. Kickoff against Switchbacks FC is scheduled for 7 p.m. MT.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
ELP: Aaron Gomez (Macca King), 6th minute: Early in the game, Locomotive earned a throw in dangerously close to the Tulsa end line. Macca threw the ball in deep, flying all the way to the far post where Gomez was waiting to simply tap in the first goal.
ELP: Lucho Solignac (Aaron Gomez), 14th minute: Absolutely dominating the opening 15 minutes, Aaron Gomez sent a deep cross into the penalty area that found Lucho Solignac who had perfectly slipped in between two defenders. Unmarked, Lucho easily got a head to the ball and put it past Sean Lewis to double the Loco lead.
TUL: Rodrigo da Costa (Dario Suarez), 46th minute: Just before the final halftime whistle, Tulsa got a dangerous ball into the penalty area where Dario Suarez lay the ball back to Costa near the top of the box. A quick low shot snuck through traffic and into the net to pull one back.
– Following the draw between New Mexico United and Rio Grande Valley FC, El Paso Locomotive FC officially clinched their third consecutive spot in the USL Championship playoffs with five games remaining in the season.
– For the first time since joining El Paso Locomotive FC, Defender Macca King donned the captain’s armband on the pitch.
– El Paso Locomotive earned its first road win since July 28, when Locomotive beat San Antonio FC 2-1.
Match: El Paso Locomotive at FC Tulsa
Date: October 9, 2021
Venue: ONEOK Field; Tulsa, Oklahoma
Weather: 82F and mostly cloudy
Scoring Summary 1 2 F
El Paso Locomotive 2 0 2
FC Tulsa 1 0 1
ELP – Aaron Gomez (Macca King), 6’
ELP – Lucho Solignac (Aaron Gomez), 14’
TUL – Rodrigo da Costa (Dario Suarez), 45’+1
El Paso Locomotive FC (4-4-2): Logan Ketterer; Eder Borelli, Macca King, Cole Turner, Ricardo Zacarias, Nick Ross, Chapa Herrera, Diego Luna, Dylan Mares (Jose Aguinaga, 74’), Lucho Solignac (Leandro Carrijo, 83’), Aaron Gomez
Subs not used: Ben Beaury, Matt Bahner, Brooklyn Raines, Jimmy Villagomez, Joel Maldonado
FC Tulsa (4-2-3-1): Sean Lewis; Johnny Fenwick, Modou Jadama (Kevin Garcia, 60’), Avionne Flanagan (Lucas Coutinho, 76’), Bradley Bourgeois, Dario Suarez, Matthew Sheldon, Rodrigo da Costa, Kembo Kibato, Lebo Moloto, Jason Johnson (Raphael Ayagwa, 82’)
Subs not used: Victor Milke, Austin Wormell, Ciaran Winters, Solomon Kwambe
Stats Summary: ELP | TUL
Shots: 6 | 6
Shots on Goal: 3 | 2
Saves: 3 | 3
Corner Kicks: 1 | 4
Fouls: 11 | 14
Offside: 1 | 4