El Paso Locomotive FC hold their inaugural opener

Soccer fans welcomed Locomotive FC to El Paso on March 9, 2019, for their inaugural season opener. 8,324 people turned out to see the “Locos” play against Oklahoma City Energy FC (OKC Energy), marking a sell-out for Southwest University Park.

Before the game, UTEP alumnus and Green Bay Packers’ current running back Aaron Jones was given the honor of pulling a cord imitating the classic steam whistle sound, paying homage to the Locomotive’s namesake. 14-year-old Isis Gonzalez sang the national anthem and the US Army Color Guard presented the colors. A small firework display was also featured before the match.

Although Deshorn Brown scored for OKC Energy within the first minute, forward Derek Gebhard leveled the score at the 15th minute with the first ever goal for Locomotive FC. Before playing for Locomotive FC, Gebhard played for Jacksonville Armada FC for three years. The 23-year-old is one of the nine Americans on the team, with two players from England, two from Mexico, and one from each of Colombia, Spain, Belgium, Haiti, Ireland, and Scotland.

The score remained 1-1 at halftime, but goals by Deshorn Brown and Cordell Cato in the second half sealed the result 3-1 to OKC Energy. Following the final whistle, fans stayed behind and clapped for the home team’s performance.

The fans’s enthusiasm was electric throughout the entire match, with fans donning blue and yellow Locomotive gear and chanting lyrics of support throughout the match.

Despite losing the game, post-match stats reveal that Locomotive FC had 83% of the possession and took more shots on goal. There were several opportunities to equalize, and even win, but Locomotive FC wasn’t able to execute the final touch.

“We should have scored. At 1-1 we should have made it 2-1,” head coach Mark Lowry said, according to the El Paso Times.  “At 2-1 to them we should have made it 2-2. Those goals go in we probably win the game.”

Gebhard remarked that the team will focus on looking forward to future games.

“…we wanted to come out and get a win for the fans, but there’s lots of games in this season,” Gebhard said, according to the El Paso Times. “We’re going to keep looking forward and things will be better.”

After a post-game firework show, players greeted fans and signed autographs.

Locomotive FC will play their first away game against Real Monarchs SLC on Saturday, March 16, at 1:00 p.m.  Their next home game will take place against Rio Grande Valley FC on Saturday, March 23, at 7:30 p.m. Fans unable to attend the match can tune into the El Paso-Las Cruces CW network for live broadcasting.