New Mexico United will look to derail El Paso Locomotive’s unbeaten streak
By Sombrero Man | Alvarado Photo Team
After 13 days United returns home to host Locomotive FC. Locomotive is Unbeaten in 8 straight matches including a 0-0 draw in the last meeting in Albuquerque. The last match also resulted in 37 fouls between the two clubs. The high-level rivalry is seen in the record of 2-2-5.
El Paso is leading the USL in points earned in matches with 37 points. That’s good enough for a 9 point lead in the Mountain Division. Mark Lowry ,head coach for El Paso Locomotive, won coach of the month honors in July rolled into August without missing a beat with back to back wins to start the month. A 3-0 win over Austin Bold showed that Locomotive is firing on all cylinders.
The problem with not playing any games for almost two weeks? Other squads are earning points well you are resting. United has fallen to 6th place without playing any matches. There is no need for alarm just yet as games will be coming fast and quick with United having a quick turn around after tonight as the host Oakland Roots on Wednesday night at the Lab.
Players to watch for El Paso Locomotive will be Andrew Fox, Dylan Mares, and Logan Ketterer. Fox is back from injury and boy did he make everyone know he was. Fox scored a header shortly after coming on for Los Locos. Fox can get up high on Locomotive set pieces as well as being a set piece killer for United. “I think that’s a big reason why New Mexico does so well on set pieces — they probably have to focus more on them because their field doesn’t allow them to score different goals. We have to make sure we defend set pieces well…” Lowry said. Mares who is another deadly weapon off the bench for Lowry. Mares came on in the last match and scored fast and quick making it 2-0 over Bold at the time. Ketterer, like I’ve said all year, is the best keeper in the USL Championship. He is a huge factor in El Paso’s most recent success being a brick wall. Expect his leadership to show on set pieces to calm the Locomotive defense.
Players to watch for Amando Moreno, Harry Swartz, and David Najem. Moreno is back got his first home game since returning from international duties. The crowd energy as well as this rivalry should put and extra pep in his step. Swartz is back after being out for a few weeks with a lower leg Injury. Harry can creat those chances that result in set piece’s. Najem will play his first ever game at Isotopes park tonight. The quick feet defender helps United stop attacks and he can lead to United set pieces opportunities.
Sombrero’s spin: El Paso is on fire, but in a rivalry game you can throw records and momentum out the window. United has not beaten El Paso in over a year and a win would shoot them up three spots in the table. However I just don’t see either team walking away with three points. A 1-1 draw keeps El Paso unbeaten streak going and United gets a point ahead of Oakland. El Paso has not given up a goal since June and getting at least one goal in would be a success for United.
Side Note: El Paso’s supporters group the 8th Notch lost an original member in the past few days. Ramiro ‘Rico’ Sousa was a big supporter of the club since day one. The 8th notch will be doing a celebration of life fundraiser for him on August 28th. Please head to the 8th notch Twitter page for more information on how you could help.