EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso Locomotive FC will take their home pitch on Thursday night against Austin Bold FC with a playoff spot on the line. El Paso needs just three points over the course of their next three matches to clinch a playoff berth in their inaugural season. A win on Thursday would get the job done.
However, Austin finds themselves in a similar position. In fact, the exact same position. A Bold FC win would put them into the playoffs.
“We still have something to play for,” said Locomotive FC head coach Mark Lowry. “We are in a good spot, but there’s a lot of spice to it. There’s a lot of added pressure on both sides. That is going to make for a good game.”
Playing with their backs against the wall is not new for a team looking to bring playoff soccer to El Paso in their inaugural season.
“The last few games we’ve talked about how they’re like cup finals for us,” said Locomotive FC defenseman Andrew Fox. “Nothing needs to change. We’ve been getting success from that mindset and approaching games that way.”
Few expansion teams find themselves in this position, which is something Lowry would like to share with a home crowd.
“These moments don’t come around that often. These kind of games, which are almost finals, they don’t come around that often,” said Lowry. “I would like to think we’ll be in a better position next year and we’ll have these opportunities again, but right now this is an opportunity we have to bring an incredible game here. It’s playoff soccer here in El Paso. Come out and experience it with us because we want to do it with you. We want to move forward, we want to win these games with the crowd, with everybody.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Southwest University Park. The game can be seen on ESPN+.