EL PASO, Texas – El Paso Locomotive FC is unbeaten in its last four games at Southwest University Park. Now, the Locos are looking to extend that streak to five with a victory over Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday.

On March 12, El Paso Locomotive was ready to take on Sacramento Republic FC as it opened a new season under new management with new players on the roster. When Midfielder Emmanuel Sonupe scored the opening goal in the 27th minute after an intense and aggressive Locomotive press, it seemed like Locomotive wouldn’t skip a beat as it charged into this new era.

Of course, history will show that despite the Locos outplaying its early opponents in every sense of the game, fortune would not favor the bold. Sacramento Republic went on to down El Paso, sending the Western Conference juggernaut into an early tailspin that left the club without a win its first four regular season matches.

Since the opening night of the season, however, El Paso Locomotive has turned its season around. Through its last five matches, El Paso has picked up 10 points to stay within five points of fourth in West. Now, on Wednesday night, Locomotive can prove it has righted the wrongs from its opening night as it plays Sacramento Republic in a rematch at Southwest University Park.

“We feel good. We feel like we have something that we missed from last game that hopefully we can get this game,” said Midfielder Chapa Herrera. “We’re just working on the things we did wrong in that first game and now hopefully we can get that win.”

The team has been hard at work on the training ground since the opening weekend. After every match and every training, Head Coach and Technical Director John Hutchinson has noted there are elements that he has enjoyed from Locomotive games and elements that he recognizes still needs improvement. Compared to the that first night on March 12 though, Hutchinson is overall pleased with how far the squad has come.

“[The team is] is improving,” commented Hutchinson. “I think where they have improved the most is in controlled possession. We are dominating the game in the attacking half. I know Pittsburgh [Riverhounds SC] wasn’t expecting us to do that in their home patch [last weekend] and we had done it. We had a lot of ball, we just didn’t penetrate enough again. We are working hard on that. We’re a much better team defensively. We’re a much better team going forward. and we’re a much better team in possession. We are always improving, and the proof of that will be at full time.”

While there is a small bit of desire for ‘revenge’ in the squad, Hutchinson doesn’t view this game as a revenge match by any means. The Australian manager sees this game as another opportunity to prove what El Paso can do. He expects his team to go onto the field and play their brand of exciting and engaging football for 90 minutes in front of a home crowd cheering them on.

Hutchinson sees this game as an opportunity to take away three points at Southwest University Park – a place that has always been a fortress for Locomotive. A place where Locomotive is currently four games unbeaten.

“It’s our home. You don’t let people come and rob your home do you,” joked Hutchinson on Tuesday after training. “It’s the same philosophy in football as it is in life. It’s our house, our home, our fans. We want to entertain our fans, but we know that the entertainment of the attacking brand of football we want to play is they want to win. Our players want to win. We are desperate again to get back to winning ways in the league and continue our home form.”

In training sessions before a home game, the team always looks a little more alive and ready to take on the week. Tuesday’s training session was no different as the team turned up bright-eyed and ready to tackle the work.  As the team has bonded more on and off the pitch, they have a greater understanding for one another that is translating into the improved performance. The locker room is alive and working hard, especially after the recent form for Locomotive.

Despite the weekend loss against Pittsburgh Riverhounds, there is an understanding and a desire to claim the full three points at Southwest University Park. The players know what is at stake at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

A five-game undefeated streak at Southwest University Park on the line. It’s a critical three points that could see Locomotive jump as high as fifth in the West depending on results around the league. More importantly, it’s entertaining the fans on our own home pitch.

As Midfielder Christiano Francois commented, “the mindset is we are going to hard against Sacramento and try to win the game.”