EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – El Paso Locomotive FC’s Cinderella playoff run will continue on Saturday in the USL Championship’s Western Conference final against Real Monarchs in Salt Lake City, Utah.
In its inaugural season, Los Locos got to this point thanks to one of the league’s best defenses, and lately, arguably its most explosive offensive attack.
If you don’t know who to stop, then how can you stop them? That’s the riddle Locomotive FC opponents have been looking to solve since the start of September. Nine different players have netted a goal for El Paso since then and Los Locos have lost just twice.
“It doesn’t really matter who scores,” striker Jerome Kiesewetter said.
“I think we’ve jelled really well together. I think we’ve finally found the formation that’s working for us,” said midfielder Sebastian Velasquez.
There was a time earlier in 2019, when El Paso struggled to score, unless it was Kiesewetter. The German striker scored 10 goals in seven USL matches in May and June. However, the goals dried up over the summer, until Locomotive diversified its attack by adding Velasquez and Josue Aaron Gomez.
“When you look at our team on paper and when you come up against us, you’ve got four different guys to worry about, where maybe earlier in the year that wasn’t the case,” Locomotive FC manager Mark Lowry said.
Gomez and Velasquez have keyed that surge. On lone from FC Juarez, Gomez has scored eight times since early September and Velasquez has scored in four of the last five Locomotive matches.
“You become so unpredictable. Instead of just being able to focus on just one player or trying to stop a certain way of playing, we have guys that can make something happen out of special plays,” Velasquez said.
With Omar Salgado and James Kiffe creating chances on the outside, El Paso is optimistic as it prepares to play Real Monarchs in the USL Western Conference Final.
“I actually think our best is yet to come. I think we have room for improvement still,” said Kiffe.
Locomotive FC will look to keep its incredible run rolling at 1 p.m. Saturday against Real Monarchs. The winner will advance to the USL Championship final on November 17.
“We’ve got four or five guys that are capable of scoring goals,” Lowry said. “In the playoffs, that is a very important thing to have.”