EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Best in Texas.
It wasn’t quite the poetic ending El Paso Locomotive FC (14-2-10, 52 points) felt like they deserved, but Copa Tejas belongs to El Paso and their group of supporters, 8th Notch. Los Locos playing San Antonio FC to a 3-3 draw on Wednesday night at Southwest University Park, earning a point and clinching the Copa Tejas table in the process.
“It’s important for us to get our first trophy,” said midfielder Nick Ross. “It has been a long season and I think we deserve some sort of recognition for the hard work we’ve done, and the performances we’ve had.”
Founded in 2019, Copa Tejas is awarded annually to the top USL Championship club in Texas, based on a series of matches in the regular season between Locomotive, San Antonio FC, Austin Bold FC and Rio Grande Valley FC. Locomotive clinches the cup with 20 points in Copa Tejas play, and still has matches against Austin and Rio Grande Valley on the schedule.
El Paso found themselves down 2-0 at halftime to San Antonio, but came storming back to score three consecutive goals in the second half. Macca King sparked Locomotive with a header into the back of the net off a corner kick from Dylan Mares in the 57th minute. Just 16 minutes later, Nick Ross beat the keeper just inside the box to level the game at 2-2. In the 85th minute, 18-year-old Diego Luna scored his seventh goal of the season to give Locomotive their first lead of the game.
“The guys were great in the second half,” said Locomotive FC head coach Mark Lowry. “They had resiliency and character. You can’t fault them at all. The guys we have available were absolutely superb.”
However, after five minutes of added time was put on the clock, Mathieu Deplagne connected on the equalizer to help San Antonio FC escape El Paso with a point.
“We are disappointed we didn’t win,” said Ross. “Overall, we probably deserved to win, but we’re happy with the trophy and staying undefeated at home.”
In the process of claiming Copa Tejas, Locomotive extends their home unbeaten streak to 22, the longest active streak in the league. It’s a streak that dates back to the 2020 season.
UP NEXT: El Paso Locomotive FC goes back on the road for a match against FC Tulsa on Saturday, Oct. 9. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. MT and will stream live on ESPN+.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
SA: Justin Dhillon, 10th minute: The young Jose Gallegos took it to the Locomotive defense, outmaneuvering his marking to open up a shot on goal which Ben Beaury was easily able to deflect. Unfortunately, the deflection went straight into the path of Dhillon who simply the ball back for the first goal of the night.
SA: Mathieu Deplagne, 27th minute: The continued San Antonio pressure paid off once more as Marcus Epps took a header that bounced past a diving Ben Beaury, only to bounce off the post and back into the path of Deplagne, who once against cleaned up the deflection and furthered San Antonio’s lead.
ELP: Macca King (Dylan Mares), 57th minute: Off a set-piece opportunity, Mares sent a ball into the far post where King rose above the rest to get a head on the ball. King sent the ball back to the near post where Matt Cardone’s reach was just not enough to stop.
ELP: Nick Ross, 73rd minute: Securing a poor clearance from the San Antonio FC backline, Nick Ross latched on to the ball, juking past his defender before taking a quick shot at the near post. While Matt Cardone was able to get a touch to the ball, it wasn’t enough to make the stop as it rolled deep into the back of the net.
ELP: Diego Luna, 85th minute: On a loose ball at the middle of the box, Luna sprinted to beat the defender. As the San Antonio defender stepped up to put an end to Luna’s attack early, the 18-year-old broke past him before taking a shot that bounced off the post and into the net.
SA: Kortne Ford (Mitchell Taintor), 94th minute: From the midfield, Taintor sent a deep ball into the penalty area where Ford got a head that redirected the ball past Ben Beaury in goal and end the match level.
– El Paso Locomotive earned the Copa Tejas title with their draw against San Antonio, eliminating Austin Bold FC from contention.
– Goalkeeper Ben Beaury made his second start in goal for El Paso Locomotive make three saves throughout the night.
– While Locomotive failed to clinch a playoff spot tonight, they have another opportunity with a result against FC Tulsa on Saturday.
– With his assist for Macca King, Dylan Mares is now tied for in all-time leading assists through the regular season at 8 assists.
Match: El Paso Locomotive vs San Antonio FC
Date: October 6, 2021
Venue: Southwest University Park; El Paso, Texas
Weather: 65F and mostly cloudy
Scoring Summary 1 2 F
El Paso Locomotive 0 3 3
San Antonio FC 2 1 3
SA – Justin Dhillon, 10’
SA – Mathieu Deplagne, 27’
ELP – Macca King (Dylan Mares), 57’
ELP – Nick Ross, 73’
ELP – Diego Luna, 85’
SA – Kortne Ford, 90’+4
El Paso Locomotive FC (4-4-2): Ben Beaury; Eder Borelli, Matt Bahner, Mechack Jerome (Cole Turner, 60’), Macca King, Nick Ross, Yuma (Aaron Gomez, 45’), Jose Aguinaga (Dylan Mares, 45’), Bryam Rebellon (Ricardo Zacarias, 81’), Leandro Carrijo, Diego Luna (Lucho Solignac, 87’)
Subs not used: Logan Ketterer, Chapa Herrera
San Antonio FC (4-2-3-1): Matt Cardone; Jasser Khmiri (Axel Sjoberg, 45’), Kortne Ford, Mitchell Taintor, Connor Maloney, Mohammed Abu (Shandon Hopeau, 87’), Mathieu Deplagne (Chris Lema, 67’), Justin Dhillon (Cameron Lindley, 56’), Marcus Epps, Jose Gallegos, Nathan
Subs not used: Joaquin Varela, Jose Carlos Mercado,
Stats Summary: ELP | SA
Shots: 14 | 20
Shots on Goal: 6 | 6
Saves: 3 | 3
Corner Kicks: 4 | 4
Fouls: 14 | 19
Offside: 0 | 1
ELP – Yuma (Caution), 42’
SA – Kortne Ford (Caution), 45’+1
SA – Mathieu Deplagne (Caution), 62’
SA – Nathan (Caution), 82’