El Paso Locomotive season opener


The El Paso Locomotive face Sacramento Republic for their season opener. The Locomotive fell short by a score of 0-1. Photo courtesy of Mia Badillo

Mia Badillo, Co-Editor-in-Chief

On Saturday, March 11, 2023, it was kickoff time at Southwest University Park for the El Paso Locomotive as they hosted Sacramento Republic for their season opener. 

At 7:30 p.m., the home crowd cheered, the referee’s whistle blew, and the match commenced.

Both teams were scoreless 30 minutes into the match, each with a few close shots on goal. 

However, in the 42nd minute, Sacramento’s Russell Cicerone scored with a close-range shot a few minutes before halftime. 

In the second half, the Locomotive came out with counterattacks that put Sacramento’s goalie to the test. 

Unfortunately, even with 12 shots on goal to Sacramento’s 10 shots on goal, the Locomotive fell short to Sacramento with a final score of 0-1. 

El Paso has an overall record of five wins and two losses against Sacramento.

Despite the loss, the crowd at Southwest University Park remained energetic and supportive of the Locomotive. 

Here were the lineups (courtesy of eplocomotivefc.com):

ELP: Benny Diaz, Nick Hinds, Yuma, Bence Pavkovics, Marc Navarro (Miles Lyons 66’), Emmanuel Sonupe (Chris Garcia 45’), Eric Calvillo, Liam Rose (Louis Herrera 66’), Denys Kostyshyn (Ander Egiluz 85’), Aaron Gomez, Ricardo Zacarias (Diego Abarca 78’). 


Subs not used: Eder Borelli, Javier Garcia 


SAC: Daniel Vitiello, Shane Weidt, Conor Donovan, Jared Timmer, Damia Viader, Luis Rodrigues, Arnold Lopez (Matt LaGrassa 78’), Jack Gurr, Rodrigo Lopez (Zeiko Lewis 76’), Russell Cicerone (Aldair Sanchez 86’), Juan Herrera (Luther Archimede 76’). 


Subs not used: Carlos Saldana, Johnny Fenwick, Nick Ross 


Loco’s fifth-year anniversary 

Ozzy, the mascot for the El Paso Locomotive, leads the home crowd by playing the tambourine. Ozzy is a bat “from the caves of the Franklin Mountains.” Photo courtesy of Mia Badillo

This is the Locomotive’s fifth season playing in the USL Championship since the team’s establishment in 2019. 

For this season, the Locomotive partnered with KTSM-9 TV and Estrella TV 9.2 to broadcast all home matches. 

Both home and away matches will be broadcast on ESPN+. 

The 2023 season consists of a total of 34 matches; 17 home matches and 17 away matches. 

The full schedule of matches can be viewed on the Locomotive’s website, eplocomotivefc.com.


New additions 

Following the exit of John Hutchinson at the end of the Locomotive’s 2022 season, Brian Clarhaut was announced as the club’s new Head Coach and Technical Director.

Clarhaut, a 36-year-old New Jersey native, has 11 years of professional coaching experience. 

For the last seven years, Clarhaut coached in Sweden.

Most recently, he coached GIF Sundsvall in the Allsvenskan, the top tier of Swedish professional soccer.

As for the players, the Locomotive signed many new stars in the offseason. 


Here are the newly signed players for the 2023 season:

  • Forwards: Chris Garcia 
  • Midfielders: Denys Kostyshyn, Diego Abarca, Joel Maldonado, and Luis Moreno
  • Defenders: Bence Pavkovics, Erik McCue, Marc Navarro, and Petar Petrović
  • Goalkeepers: Benny Diaz and Javier Garcia


Homegrown academy products and midfielders Diego Abarca (17 years old) and Joel Maldonado (19 years old) signed with the Locomotive’s first team prior to the beginning of the 2023 season. 

Additionally, at 16 years old, midfielder Luis Moreno became the Locomotive’s youngest signing ever. 

Benny Diaz, a goalkeeper from Club Tijuana in the Liga MX league, is the only Locomotive player who is currently on loan.


Here are the players returning for the 2023 season: 

  • Forwards: Aaron Gomez, Emmanuel Sonupé, Lucho Solignac, and Ricardo Zacarias 
  • Midfielders: Chapa Herrera, Eric Calvillo, Liam Rose, and Nick Hinds 
  • Defenders: Ander Egiluz, Artem Kholod, Eder Borelli, Miles Lyons, and Yuma 

Captain and defender Yuma is returning for his fifth season with the Locomotive after his debut during their inaugural season in 2019. 


Upcoming matches

On March 13, the Locomotive lost 1-2 to the Colorado Springs Switchbacks after Colorado’s controversial last-minute goal in extra time.

On March 18, the Locomotive lost 3-1 to Detroit City. 

With no more home matches in the month of March, the Locomotive have two away matches to close out the month. 

On March 25, the Locomotive secured their first win of the season with a score of 3-0 against Louisville City.

On March 31, the Locomotive play FC Tulsa. 

Fans are encouraged to support the Locomotive by cheering them on at home and during away matches. 

With multiple streaming options, fans are guaranteed to enjoy the experience even from the comfort of their home. 

If fans are looking for a more interactive atmosphere, they are sure to have a great time at Southwest University Park for a home match. 

The Prax Staff wishes the Locomotive good luck this season- Go Locos!