EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – An up-and-down 2022 season has all led to this for El Paso Locomotive FC.
With just one match remaining on its regular season slate, El Paso is clinging to the seventh and final playoff spot in USL Championship’s Western Conference, sitting on 46 points. They’re one of six teams still in the hunt for a playoff berth, separated by just six points.
What’s more Los Locos are one of three teams with 46 points; New Mexico United have 45 points and Las Vegas Lights have 44.
Locomotive FC will close out its 34-match schedule on the road at Tampa Bay Rowdies on Wednesday night in Florida. Tampa Bay has already secured a top-three playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, so they could be resting some players to prepare for the postseason.
If so, it may be a golden opportunity for El Paso to pick up three important points, before sitting and watching the last weekend of the season to see how the rest of the table shakes out.
“We have literally nothing to lose. We’ll go throw everything into that game and just go for it,” said Locomotive FC head coach John Hutchinson. “We’ll do exactly what we’ve done all season and continue to play our football. Our boys will fight right to the end. Nothing to lose, everything to gain and we’re going to go for it.
Simply getting a win may not be enough for Locomotive; they may need some help from other teams, because of how close the standings are. Making matters even more interesting, New Mexico United (eighth place with 45 points) and Monterey Bay (10th place with 40 points) both have two matches remaining this week, which gives them each one more opportunity to make up ground on El Paso.
New Mexico plays both of its last two games at home; Monterey Bay will go on the road. El Paso will try to win Saturday, then cross its fingers the rest of the week.
El Paso and Tampa Bay kickoff at 5:30 p.m. MT on Wednesday in Florida.