EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — After what has turned into the longest preseason of all-time, El Paso Locomotive FC is finally set to take the pitch at Southwest University Park on Saturday night against New Mexico United. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
It has been six long months since we last saw Locomotive FC on the field, and this year’s club has a much different look than the two previous years. Head coach Mark Lowry has a core of returners on the 2021 roster in addition to several newcomers.
El Paso returns 14 players from the 2020 roster, nine of which also played in the inaugural 2019 season. Goalkeeper Logan Ketterer returns as the man between the pipes after topping the league in clean sheets with eight last season. Ahead of him is a regular cast of players including Yuma, Mechack Jerome, Yuma, Richie Ryan, Nick Ross, Bryam Rebellon, and Aaron Gomez — all of whom join Ketterer as third year veterans for Locomotive — who are eager to reach a third consecutive Western Conference Final. Macca King, Matt Bahner, Eder Borelli, Leandro Carrijo, and Dylan Mares round out the list of familiar faces returning to the club in 2021.
Lowry brought in five new players to round out Locomotive FC’s roster in 2021, focusing mainly on players to add to its attack. Former Phoenix Rising midfielder Jose Aguinaga and 17-year-old Barca Academy standout Diego Luna add creativity to the midfield, while Luis Solignac and Aidan Apodaca will provide goal-scoring opportunities. Niall Logue adds depth to the backline, bringing with him accuracy in passing to aid Lowry’s play from the back style.
“The guys have bought in and they’ve made an impact during preseason,” said Lowry. “They’re still learning the system, which takes time. We are going to give them time to do that, but I expect them all to make an impact early on this season. They fit the profile of what we needed for those roles.”
“We’ve added a lot, a lot to our game,” said Ross. “We have a lot of good strikers. Last year and the year before that, we relied heavily on one or two guys to score goals. Now we have three, four, maybe even five players who can go on and score.”
Locomotive FC has built a record of 18-6-7 at Southwest University Park and has not lost a home game since July 24. El Paso will look to notch their fourth consecutive result (win or draw) against New Mexico on Saturday. Lovomotive FC defeated United in penalty kicks in last year’s Western Conference Semifinal.