EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso Locomotive FC (1-0-2) is one of just four unbeaten teams in the USL Championship, but if you’ve watched their games this season, you know there is something left to be desired: goals.
Locomotive FC played Sporting Kansas City II to a scoreless draw on Sunday and through three games this season, El Paso has found the back of the net just twice. However, they are among the league’s top teams in creating scoring chances.
“We are one or two passes — one or two good touches — away from turning those 15-20 opportunities ]per game] we’re having into good shots,” said Locomotive FC head coach Mark Lowry. “That’s the next piece for us. We are getting to that line, we are getting into great [scoring] positions, but we have to turn those positions into good chances.”
Leandro Carrijo scored a goal in the team’s opening draw against New Mexico United. Luis Solignac scored his first goal as a member of Locomotive FC in the team’s first win of the season against Rio Grande Valley FC. El Paso has conceded just one goal this season.
“Everything else is getting there,” said Solignac. “The chemistry is there, the passes and the movement — it’s just the final third that we’re missing. That’s the most difficult part of the game.”
Lowry has pushed all the buttons, bringing in the likes of Diego Luna and Aidan Apodaca as late-game substitutions, which has also created numerous scoring chances.
“We are continuing to work together and we don’t give up on what we know we can do,” said Apodaca. “We know the chances are coming and we know we can all capitalize. That goes from front-to-back. We know we can score some goals.”
El Paso will play at Austin on Thursday in a mid-week Copa Tejas clash. Bold FC is 1-1-1 this season and has conceded four goals in three games. Lowry says the club won’t change what they are tactically built to do, but he would like to see his players finish.
“We’ll get chances. Whether it’s Lucho [Solignac], Aidan [Apodaca], Aaron [Gomez], Leandro [Carrijo], Dylan [Mares], Diego [Luna], Nick [Ross] — whoever it falls to,” said Lowry. “It might be our fullback. Our fullbacks get forward. Our defenders gets forward — if it falls to them they have to hit the target with their shots — and they all have to be decisive and convicted with their finish and really feel like when they hit their shot, they’re believing in themselves that they’re going to score.”
Kickoff on Thursday is at 7 p.m. and the game will stream live on ESPN+.
Locomotive FC defender and team captain, Yuma, led a defensive clinic against a dangerous Sporting Kansas City II side on Sunday. The performance not only largely contributed to El Paso’s clean sheet in Kansas City, but also earned a nod from USL Championship as he highlights the defenders on the Team of the Week for Week 6.
Completing an outstanding 94 out of 99 passes, including a 94.6% passing accuracy in SKCII’s half, Yuma did more than his part as a defender in coach Mark Lowry’s play-from-the-back system. Yuma also completed four tackles, four interceptions, won five out of six of duals, and regained possession 10 times to bring a point back to El Paso.
This is Yuma’s second appearance on the Team of the Week Starting XI, last earning the accolade in Week 15 of the 2020 USL Championship.