JUAREZ, Mexico - In what's becoming one of the coolest annual sports traditions here in the Borderland, El Paso Locomotive FC played their closest road match of the season Wednesday against sister club FC Juarez in Juarez, Mexico.
FC Juarez prevailed in a 2-1 contest.
It was a day-trip for the Locomotive organization, who crossed by foot over the Paso Del Norte Bridge into Mexico at approximately 9:30am.
"It's an away game but it took us six, maybe seven minutes to get here today," said Head Coach Mark Lowry of the travel to Estadio Olimpico Benito Juarez for the 11am kickoff.
The team, in full uniform, each paid a 50-cent fare to cross into Mexico before a shuttle bus picked them up on the other side and took them to the stadium.
"There's nothing like it in the world of football I don't think," said Lowry.
"I know there's borders on countries but not where there's two countries next to each other. But I don't think we have that type of two professional clubs right next door to each other and they play across the border."
"It's a really unique situation. I love it."
The opponent was a good one in FC Juarez, a member of Mexico’s Liga MX top flight division.
And it helps that both teams are owned by the same parent sports group, MountainStar Sports. The familiarity takes the term friendly to a new level for both sides.
"It's a like a classic," said FC Juarez's Francisco Contreras in Spanish. "I think we all take it pretty well, and above all we just to win every time."
In game action, El Paso native Louis "Chapa" Herrera scored the game's first goal for Locomotive FC from point blank range off a center service.
"I just had to tap it in," said Herrera of the simplicity. Lowry called the team's first half play "unbelievable."
In the 2nd Half Locomotive FC played a majority of it's reserve squad, including some teenage players on trial with the club.
FC Juarez scored both goals off mishaps at the back line.
But at the end of the day, the meeting between the teams in itself was the biggest takeway.
""Beautiful football against great friends....in another country! I mean what a story that is," concluded Lowry.
Locomotive FC and FC Juarez will play again this coming Saturday under the lights at Estadio Juarez.