It has not been the kind of start to the 2023 season that first-year head coach and technical director Brian Clarhaut was hoping for. El Paso Locomotive FC suffered its third straight loss at home in the span of the week, most recently last Saturday night to Detroit City FC by the score of 3-1. If starting the 2023 campaign with a three match week wasn’t brutal enough, failing to obtain a lone point by losing all three matches makes the situation exponentially worse.

Results aside, Locomotive hasn’t necessarily played bad in the first 270 minutes of the season, however it is evident that where the problem lies, thus far for this team, is their execution in both goalboxes.

What has been happening there has been like Clarhaut put it, "a Groundhog’s day”". Their mistakes and the misses have been eerily similar. Still, it is early enough in a very long season to turn things around.

Here’s what happened

Once again Locomotive allowed an early goal. This time it was in the ninth minute. Detroit attacked down the right flank. Connor Ruiz took the shot that deflected off of Yuma ever so slightly but enough to get in the back of the net. Goalkeeper for the Locos, Benny Diaz was frozen by the defection, there was nothing he could do.

USL Championship Soccer Match: El Paso Locomotive vs Detroit City FC
Ivan Pierre Aguirre

Eight minutes later El Paso got the equalizer when Josue Aaron Gomez attempted a cross from the right flank, the cross was deflected and that allowed Denys Kostyshyn to get his head on the ball sending it to the lower right corner of the goal.

Detroit City retook the lead in the 61st minute when a player went down for El Paso and it was not called by referee Greg Dopka resulting in a counterattack. Yazeed Matthews took a right footed strike to get the ball just inside the right post.

The final nail in the coffin came in the 78th minute when Detroit’s Maximilano Rodriguez took a shot from just outside the goal box getting past a diving Diaz to make it 3-1.

USL Championship Soccer Match: El Paso Locomotive vs Detroit City FC
Ivan Pierre Aguirre

What was said
After the game, Locomotive star forward Luis 'Lucho' Solignac spoke with the media and was astute in his comments as to how he saw things. Solignac said, "It has been a difficult start (to the season), similar to last year. I think making a thorough analysis so early in the season is difficult, none of us wanted this, it is difficult to be worse off than we currently are. The only thing to do is to continue working to turn this thing around, it’s a long season to reach our objective which is the playoffs, which is what we are all committed to accomplish."

Solignac continued, "We are aware that our execution from box to box is very good. Just as the Locomotive has always been historically, the problem is in the goal boxes, our own as well as in the opponent’s. We have to be more thorough defensively as well as up top and that’s where the difference lies."

What’s Next
It is now time for the Locomotive to hit the road for the first time this season. El Paso will head to the bluegrass state to face Louisville City FC tomorrow. It will be the second time these two teams face each other. Last year Louisville made the trip to the Sun City for the first time and defeated Locomotive 1-0.

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