EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Locomotive FC (6-West, 3-3-1, 10 points) are back on road this weekend, this time making a trip to Southern California for a Western Conference contest against San Diego Loyal SC on Saturday at 8 p.m. MT.
With both teams on a 4-game unbeaten streak, Locomotive will go into Saturday’s match looking to become the first side to bring back points from Torero Stadium, where Loyal have posted a perfect home record to begin the season.
Meeting for the first-time last season, Locomotive had bright moments in two matches against Loyal but unfortunately fell on both occasions. Coming into the weekend high in confidence, the third time might be the charm for El Paso to reverse last year’s results.
EL PASO LOCOMOTIVE FC (6TH WESTERN CONFERENCE, 3-3-1, 10 PTS)
Locomotive have turned around a slow start to the season in impressive fashion, going 3-0-1 in its last four matches, outscoring opponents 8-2 and recording three clean sheets.
Loyal may be undefeated at home but Locomotive has yet to drop points on the road. Their first away match saw them beat the odds and pull off one of the season’s biggest upsets so far, a 3-0 win at the home of 2022 Eastern Conference champions, Louisville City FC. Though the match at FC Tulsa finished in a 2-2 draw, Locomotive’s offensive ability was on full display that night and even saw forward Luis “Lucho” Solignac open his 2023 goal account with two goals.
Now the club’s all-time leading goal scorer in all competitions, Solignac has found his scoring form that is sure to keep Loyal’s defense on their toes. In his last three matches, he has found the back of the net on four occasions, which currently has him sitting as the joint-second top scorer in the Western Conference.
SAN DIEGO LOYAL SC (2ND WESTERN CONFERENCE, 4-1-2, 14 PTS)
Loyal are off to a strong start in 2023, currently undefeated at home and their only loss of the season handed to them by current Western Conference leaders, Sacramento Republic FC.
Falling to the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday, the quick turnaround could influence the squad’s physical performance as they, unlike Locomotive, have less time to rest and prepare ahead of Saturday’s contest. The loss, however, will serve as fuel for them as they look to get back into the win column and defend their unbeaten home record.
Forward Ronaldo Damus and midfielder Joe Corona, two of Loyal’s greatest chance creators so far this season, will be two players that Clarhaut is highly familiar with, having coached them just last year during his time as manager of GIF Sundsvall in Sweden.