El Paso Locomotive FC at New Mexico United at Southwest University Park (Home Match Relocated). TV: Estrella Channel 7.2 and Radio: ESPN 101.7 FM The Team | Live-Streaming via ESPN+ (Requires Subscription)
By Chris Walker | Photo: Marc Reis
Rapid Fire: United Has Rocky Start, Switchbacks The Better Side In 1-1 Draw
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC exited their last two matches against top-tier USL Championship Group C and D reputable sides, El Paso Locomotive FC and Austin Bold FC, with a draw from each match. Last Saturday, New Mexico United made it Switchbacks FC’s third draw by losing a 1-0 lead and playing short a man trying not to concede another goal. The final score would be 1-1 full time.
A month prior to this endeavor, Switchbacks FC had lost two of their previous two matches. United would be their next opponent. United managed to score a goal at the end of the first half as Amando Moreno found Chris Wehan on a forward strike towards goal. United managed to keep Switchbacks FC scoreless the rest of the match and won 1-0 in full time. This would be Switchbacks FC third loss in-a-row.
It wasn’t United’s night.
Moreno and Andrew Tinari were the only two to take shots. Moreno and Tinari managed to be on target once each. Moreno’s shot was the penalty kick he took after Romeo Parkes drew the foul in the penalty area. Tinari had a low ripper en route, by way of Wehan’s short cross, that was saved by Switchbacks FC goalkeeper Sean Melvin. Moreno’s other shot was off target.
It was Switchback FC’s night and if you think this draw feels like a win to the home side, you would be mistaken. They believe they fell short of the results they were due.
“You can see in the last couple games, you know minus the Austin first half cause that was embarrassing for us, but you saw in the second half we rallied and ultimately we could have won the game. We could’ve won tonight and we could’ve won against El Paso,” Forward Aidan Daniels said at the post-match press conference.
The continuous effort by Switchbacks FC shows the product they brought onto the pitch. Aidan Daniels has given New Mexico the fits in two of the three matches played by equalizing with a long curling shot on goal past United netminder Cody Mizell. Daniels had the lone shot on target for Switchbacks FC and 3 of 5 total shots on the evening.
Wehan was expected to impact this match for United. He had goals in the previous two matches. His evening came to an end at 62 minutes with a pair of crosses to his name.
Daniel Bruce made a bad pass and Ryan Williams realized that it was short and attempted a slide tackle to maintain possession. He was late and clipped Switchbacks FC’s Hiroki Kurimoto and picked up his second yellow card, which turns into a red card as he is sent off the pitch. United played down a man for 15 minutes.
During the first half, Switchbacks FC relied heavily on the cross pass 12 times in both set and open play. In the second half, Switchbacks FC were met with United’s high press following Williams’ red card send off and were unable to go to the air.
United and Switchbacks FC will face each other for the final regular-season matchup on September 19, 2020.
Front & Centre: Derby Del Camino Real, New Mexico’s Press Must Slow Down El Paso’s Express
The last time these two sides met was on July 24, 2020, at Southwest University Park. United managed to stave off the late attacking efforts by Locomotive FC to leave with a 2-1 victory. On this evening, Locomotive FC arguably made a case for being the more dominant of the two sides on the team sheet by out-possessing, out-passing, and out-tackling United. However, it came down to quality over quantity as United was able to convert on its shots on target and minimize opportunities for Locomotive FC.
Locomotive FC Technical Director & Head Coach Mark Lowry was noticeably disappointed after the last match and shared his thoughts in response to a question about what he took away from the match.
“We’re the better team again. That’s probably about it,” Lowry said. “You know, I think the guys have to start turning these performances and these dominating performances both objectively with the stats and then subjectively. You can see we’re the better team in the results and that’s a bottom line. Execute in the final third it’s as simple as that.”
Trainspotting: New Acquisitions
Locomotive FC’s Technical Director & Head Coach Mark Lowry has added mid-season signings again for the second season now. Last season, Lowry added Jerome Kiesewetter, Sebastian Velasquez, Alexy Bosetti, and Drew Beckie. These additions helped Lowry’s side advance to the USL Western Conference Finals.
This season, Lowry signed Forward Leandro Carrijó (FC Juarez) and Eder Borelli (FC Juarez) in early July. Following the last United match, Lowry signed Defender Macauley “Macca” King (Indy Eleven), Defender Matt Bahner (Saint Louis FC), and Defender Brent Kallman (on loan from Minnesota United FC). All have seen playing time except Borelli.
Will United Be Signing New Players?
In this week’s Press Conference, United’s Technical Director & Head Coach Troy Lesesne commented on Locomotive FC’s latest signings as to whether it will alter his match week preparations.
“There’s not an extra emphasis, I think there’s more awareness that they’ve added to their roster,” Lesesne said. “They’ve continued to improve in general throughout the season. I think they’ve gotten some good results lately. There’s not an extra emphasis per se because of individual players.”
Back in mid-August at a Press Conference, Lesesne commented on whether or not he would add new signings to the roster in order to stay up with the competition in Group C, namely the new acquisitions by the rest of their opponents.
“I wouldn’t completely rule it out by any means. Mainly because of the situation of COVID or injuries. If we were in that period of time with multiple guys out and in that stage, it was something to at least discuss. So I wouldn’t rule it out completely,” Lesesne said.
“But at the same time, the team knows how I feel, I trust them. That’s the group we determined at the beginning of the year to get it done. I think they’re all performing at the level they should perform in order to get results. And if we hit a snag where maybe we have some injuries, or something COVID-related, or the results aren’t great then we re-evaluate it,” Lesesne added.
Lesesne isn’t looking to add new talent to the roster strictly because other clubs are signing new talent. United did not sign a new player when it released Manny Padilla from his contract back in July, nor have they mentioned a signing with Justin Schmidt being out for the season. Lesesne doesn’t feel he’s there yet. There are twenty-one players available on the roster including goalkeeper Ben Beaury, who is at Reno 1868 on loan for the season.
“We also have to think about the sustainability of the club. There’s six weeks left. Does it make the best sense financially given the constraints that we’re under and the challenges that we have this season to add someone for four or five weeks and take on another salary? I don’t know. That’s difficult to say. So, I am happy with the group that we have. They’re doing the job and I want to continue to put faith in them as they have been through a lot this year, but they also have to reciprocate and continue to perform like they’ve been performing,” Lesesne concluded.
A Collision of Sorts: Team Statistics
United nearly doubles Locomotive FC when it comes to the Conversion rate of shots attempted.
United has scored 17 goals from its 77 total shots, which is a 22.1% conversion rate. When it comes to shots on target they have 39 of 77 total shots, which is 50.6%. United are more likely to score first, which has been true in their matches. United scores every 52.9 minutes.
Locomotive FC has scored 12 goals from it’s 94 total shots, which is 12.8%. They have 40 shots on target of their 94 total shots, which is 42.5%. Locomotive FC scores every 67.5 minutes.
Conversion rate vs Last Match
Both teams met their team averages for Conversion rate.
Pass/Long Pass Success rate
Locomotive FC has high ratings for both categories. They engage in both areas less than United.
Locomotive FC has an 82.8% pass rate (3,516/4,248) and a 57.4% long pass rate (314/547). They have a 74.6% passing accuracy rate in their opponent’s half.
United has a 78.4 pass rate (3,320/4,235) and a 45% long pass rate (342/760). They have a 66.9% passing accuracy rate in their opponent’s half.
Pass/Long Pass Success rate vs. Last Match
Both teams were below their team averages.
Locomotive FC has high ratings for tackles, duels, and aerial duels. United values are higher because they are committed to the high press.
Locomotive FC has a 65.3% success rate in tackles (66/101), a 50.3% success rate in duels (383/763), and 58.2% in aerial duels (113/194).
United has a 56% success rate in tackles (93/166), a 48% success rate in duels (483/1007), 43.1% success rate in aerial duels (127/295).
Defense vs. Last Match
Both teams were above their team averages.
Locomotive FC concedes fewer fouls than United.
Locomotive FC has won 114 fouls and conceded 94 fouls.
United has won 125 fouls and conceded 135 fouls.
Discipline vs. Last Match
Both teams are proportionately set.
Impact Players: Locomotive FC
- Aaron Gómez 3 goals, 19 shots, 7 on target, 10 chances created
- Dylan Mares 2 goals, 2 assists, 15 shots, 7 on target, 27 chances created
- Logan Ketterer 26 saves, 4 clean sheets
- Andrew Fox 15/10,
- Bryam Rebellion 10/7,
Passing in Opponents Half
- Richie Ryan 81.8,
- Louis Herrera 86.9
Impact Players: United
- Chris Wehan 6 goals, 19 shots, 11 on target, 2 assist, 14 chances.
- Amando Moreno 4 goals, 16 shots, 6 on target, 3 assists, 11 chances.
- Mizell 19 saves, 3 clean sheets
- Estrada 13/9,
- Wehan 10/7
Passing In Opponents Half:
- Juan Pablo Guzman 80.5,
- David Najem 77.4,
Shout out to Seriously Loco podcast for collaborative efforts and for Mikka Burrell’s appearance on We Are Seek & Strike Podcast Episode 20 on Apple, Spotify.
Enjoy Derby Day!