EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – El Paso Locomotive FC defeated Portland Timbers II 4-1 on Tuesday night to punch its ticket to the playoff in the club’s inaugural season.
“It feels great. There’s a lot of relief,” El Paso head coach Mark Lowry said. “We feel like we’ve put a lot into this season and a lot of circumstances haven’t gone our way, but the guys have been phenomenal. This performance tonight, the goals, the entertainment, everyone was so phenomenal. I’m just so proud of the group.”
Locomotive struck early and often, with Sebastian Velasquez getting the scoring started in 4th minute with an incredible jaunt through the penalty area, before hammering home a great finish. Nick Ross followed it up with a 24th-minute goal, as El Paso led 2-1 at halftime.
In the second half, Los Locos squandered multiple chances to grow their lead, before finally breaking through in the 68th minute, when Velasquez found Josue Aaron Gomez open in the box. 11 minutes later, Gomez put the finishing touches on the postseason-clinching win with his second goal.
“What a feeling it is,” Velasquez said. “We all had the same goal, everyone fighting for the same thing and we did our first step which was make the playoffs. Now, it’s to go off and win a championship.”
El Paso entered the evening needing only a draw to advance to the playoffs, but with the win Locomotive assured itself a finish of at least eighth place in the USL Championship’s Western Conference. Depending on multiple scenarios, Locomotive can rise as high as fourth in the West.
If El Paso finishes in seventh or eighth, they will host a Play-In Round match next week at home. If they finish sixth or better, they’ll get a bye into the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Locomotive FC will wrap up the regular season Saturday at LA Galaxy II at 8 p.m., looking to rise even higher in the standings before season’s end.