EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso Locomotive FC will travel to Utah for a road match against Real Monarchs for the second time in three weeks on Friday. Another win at Zions Bank Stadium would put Locomotive (5-1-3, 18 points) in a tie for first place with Rio Grande Valley FC (6-3-3, 21 points) in the USL Championship, Western Conference Mountain Division.
El Paso is coming off a 3-2 loss last Wednesday against the Toros, followed by a 2-1 win over New Mexico United last Saturday, a game in which midfielder Dylan Mares scored two rapid goals in the span of two minutes. The performance netted Mares USL Championship Player of the Week honors, just the second player in team history to do so.
With momentum still squarely on the side of El Paso, the team now takes on a Real Monarchs side that has begun to take shape over the course of the last couple weeks.
“They’ve got something to prove,” said Locomotive FC head coach Mark Lowry. “They want to make it to their MLS team, or, if it’s their MLS players, they have quality and experience. It’s going to be a really difficult game.”
Similar to Locomotive, Real Monarchs are coming off a two-game week, having earned a win over New Mexico United with three unanswered goals last Wednesday before falling on the road to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC last Saturday.
“Going into this game — we do it everyday here in training — we just need to prepare ourselves as a team with what Mark [Lowry] presents to us and what we need to do to win this game,” said Mares. “It’s a turf field, it’s high altitude and we have to take into consideration some of those environment factors.”
Lowry was pleased with the way his club bounced back in Saturday’s win against United, this coming after their first loss in a regular season match since August of 2020.
“We have to go there and start another win streak.,” said Lowry. “This game has to be the start of another 18-game unbeaten streak. We lost one and it happens to the best of teams, but the best teams don’t lose often. It’s a case of getting the win [against New Mexico United] and going on another unbeaten run if we want to be the team we want to be at the end of the season. It started with New Mexico, now it’s onto the Monarchs to get a result there.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. MT at Zions Bank Stadium. The match will stream live on ESPN+.