EL PASO, Texas – Back from a bye week, El Paso Locomotive FC return to action this Saturday, June 3 for a fierce matchup against rivals New Mexico United in the Derby Del Camino Real, as Los Locos prepare to defend their six-match winning streak.
Locomotive FC also has an eight-match unbeaten streak in USL Championship play and currently sits in second place in the league’s Western Conference with 22 points, behind only Sacramento Republic FC.
In 13 meetings, both teams have won three times, with seven draws between the two. El Paso are 2-1-2 in its last five matches against New Mexico and in the last match between them, two goals from forward Luis “Lucho” Solignac helped propel Locomotive to its first ever win at Isotopes Park in the summer of 2022.
“I’m excited for it but we got to focus on what we’re doing and not let the emotions take care of us,” Locomotive FC head coach Brian Clarhaut said. “We’ve got to match their intensity and enjoy these types of matches as well.”
A win for either side would put the respective club ahead in the overall series. Currently on the longest winning streak in club history, Locomotive will come into Saturday’s match looking to pick up a second consecutive win on the road at New Mexico United.
Under Clarhaut, Locomotive has built up an impressive road record. They’re undefeated away from home in USL Championship action so far in 2023.
El Paso’s win against Birmingham was also the first time in over a year that the team won a match after conceding the opening goal, another indicator of the strong mentality Clarhaut and the coaching staff are continuing to instill into this squad.
“A team in good form can never get too relaxed. I think our next step to evolve where we are at is to score more goals, widen the scoreline,” said Solignac. “All that effort we put into a match needs to translate into more goals and chances.”
Meanwhile, New Mexico’s four-match unbeaten streak came to an end last Saturday in a 2-1 loss at the hands of San Antonio FC.
Since their opening game of the season, New Mexico have been unable to keep a clean sheet against opponents. Against a Locomotive side that’s fourth in the league in shots taken, New Mexico’s Alex Tambakis will have to stay on his toes for any opportunity Locomotive manages to string together at goal.
However, Locomotive will need to make sure to keep its defensive line strong and limit chances against a clinical New Mexico side. Though they are bottom of the league in shots, New Mexico sits top of the league in shot accuracy and second overall in conversion rate, showcasing an ability to create opportunities for themselves with the chances they create.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. on Saturday night in Albuquerque.