(Courtesy: El Paso Locomotive FC)
EL PASO, Texas - El Paso Locomotive FC (Western Quarterfinals) bowed out of the 2021 USL Championship playoffs with a 1-0 loss against Oakland Roots SC.
Locomotive closes out a historic 2021 season that saw the club go 25-games undefeated at Southwest University Park, including a 13-0-3 record at home.
“This is the reality of playoff soccer,” said Head Coach and Technical Director Mark Lowry. “We had a great season. The guys did a tremendous job and I’m proud of the work they put in every day. One game doesn’t define them. They deserved to win tonight. The ball just didn’t go in but they did what they could. The play was fantastic so we go with their heads held high, staying optimistic, and looking ahead.”
El Paso dominated the flow of the game from the offset, nearly finding an opening goal within the first minute as a cross into the box looked destined to find f orward Aaron Gomez, but ultimately floated over to be cleared by an Oakland defender.
Minutes later, Oakland’s Johnny Rodriguez took a rocket towards goal but goalkeeper Logan Ketterer got a beautiful touch to the ball to send it over the bar.
Both sides pressured the final third throughout the remainder of the half but strong defending from both ends left the first half without a goal.
The press from Oakland Roots in the second half continued to test the Locomotive FC backline, which held their own through the majority of the half.
Ketterer came up big again stopping a headed chance towards goal, rebounding it out to Kai Greene who mistimed the touch to send it flying over the crossbar.
The breakthrough finally came in the 76th minute however with a long ball that found Jeremy Bokila who took the touch through Ketterer and provide Oakland with the goal lead.
El Paso used the remaining 15 minutes to dominate the game, searching for the would-be equalizer as midfielder Diego Luna took shots that flew wide of the net.
Forward Lucho Solignac’s opportunities ended blocked by the Roots goalkeeper or barely stopped by a packed-in defense. At the end of the 90 minutes, Locomotive was unable to equalize to shut the book on a historic 2021 season.
UP NEXT: El Paso Locomotive returns to action in the 2022 USL Championship season. Lock in your seats for Locomotive’s fourth campaign in the USL with season tickets available now at eplocomotivefc.com or by calling 915-235-GOAL.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
OAK: Jeremy Bokila (Quinc Amarikwa), 76th minute: A long ball from the goalkeeper landed off the knee of an Oakland midfielder, taking a bounce towards Amarikwa.
Amarikwa took one touch to send the pass in front of Bokila who broke past the Locomotive defense and slipped in the go-ahead goal that would be the game-winner.