EL PASO, Texas - The crowd at Southwest University Park was capped at 70% for Saturday night's season-opener vs. New Mexico United. But from the constant sound and energy, it felt a lot like 100%.
Playing in front of more than half capacity for the first time in two years, Locomotive FC started slow but a 95th minue stoppage time goal from Leandro Carrijo earned the Locos 1-1 draw against their border rivals.
Trailing 1-0 with less than a minute of stoppage time to play, 17-year-old Digeo Luna created space in the attacking half and played a cross to the box to Josue Aaron Gomez. Gomez headed it back center and found the foot of Carrijo, who volleyed it past the keeper and into the net for the equalizer.
The goal sent the rowdy support group 8th Notch into a frenzy behind the team net, with blue smoke emerging as the final whistle sounded.
It ensured a one-point takeaway for El Paso from an otherwise uneventful game offensively for both sides.
Devin Sandoval put New Mexico on top in the 57th minute, when he found himself all alone at point blank range off a low driven cross that started on a counter attack.
Both teams split possession, with Locomotive barely edging New Mexico 51-49.
Both Luna and Carrijo, the all-time leading goal scorer in the history of Liga MX side FC Juarez, came on as substitutes for Mark Lowry in the second half.
Next up for El Paso is another home match on Saturday, May 22 against Rio Grande Valley Toros at 7:30pm.
Locomotive FC have not lost a home match since July 24 of last year, ironically against New Mexico United.