EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Soccer can be one of the cruelest sports in the world and nothing was more true on Friday night at Southwest University Park.
El Paso Locomotive FC, one of the top teams in the USL Championship all season, was upset by Oakland Roots SC, 1-0, in the quarterfinals of the Western Conference Playoffs on Friday evening.
The game was played to a scoreless draw into the 76th minute, when a drop kick from the Oakland goalkeeper was directed to striker Jeremy Bokila, who needed only moments to find the winner, slotting a winning goal past Logan Ketterer.
Locomotive FC effectively dominated every statistic in the game other than the final score; El Paso held 63% of the possession, took 20 shots to Oakland’s 11, earned two more corner kicks and completed over 200 more passes.
Yet, none of that matters, because in one moment, Roots SC snatched away everything El Paso worked for all of 2021.
The club could now enter a period of uncertainty. Multiple players could earn interest from higher leagues such as MLS, including goalkeeper Logan Ketterer and 17-year-old midfielder Diego Luna. Then, there’s head coach Mark Lowry, who has built El Paso into an immediate winner.
Lowry’s success in the second division of American soccer has not gone unnoticed internationally; it’s entirely possible a bigger club could swoop in and hire Lowry away from El Paso this offseason, though nothing of the sort has even been rumored yet.
The club’s direction beyond 2022 will be decided in the coming months; for now, the team and its fans will be left thinking about what could have been, if the bounces had gone their way on Friday night at the SWUP.