EL PASO, Texas – March 12, 2022 – El Paso Locomotive (0-1-0, 0 points, West-9) opened its 2022 USL Championship season with a 1-3 loss against Sacramento Republic FC at Heart Health Park on Saturday. Midfielder Emmanuel Sonupe recorded the first Locomotive goal of the season with his first in a Locomotive jersey.
Los Locos began their 2022 season with a fast start, immediately utilizing a high press to pressure the Republic defense. The Sun City club found three quick chances in the sixth minute through Midfielders Dylan Mares¸Diego Luna, and Sonupe.
Despite an early penalty save from Sacramento Republic goalkeeper Carlos Saldana, Locomotive found the first goal, with Sonupe burying a shot in the 27th minute. The lead wouldn’t last the half, however, as Republic’s Rodrigo Lopez converted a penalty kick opportunity in stoppage time before the break.
Sacramento Republic ran away in the second half following some tactical adjustments. While Goalkeeper Evan Newton made an incredible goal-line clearance late in the 89th minute, it wasn’t enough to stop the hosts from finding the back of the net twice. Douglas Martinez recorded the second Republic goal in the 84th minute before Keko secured the three points for Sacramento in second-half stoppage time.
UP NEXT: El Paso Locomotive hosts its Home Opener against New Mexico United on Saturday, March 19 at Southwest University Park. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. MT with gates set to open at 4:00 p.m. MT. The night is highlighted with a flag giveaway for the first 3,000 fans through the gates and a fireworks show post-game. Tickets are available online at eplocomotivefc.com/tickets or by calling 915-235-GOAL.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
ELP: Emmanuel Sonupe (Diego Luna), 27th minute: From the top of the box Luna sent a speeding ball right to Sonupe. Sonupe’s first touch stopped the ball dead, providing him with the opportunity he needed to strike it deep into top right corner and find the first Locomotive goal of the season.
SAC: Rodrigo Lopez (Penalty Kick), 50th minute: Following a tackle into the side from Locomotive goalkeeper Evan Newton, the referee pointed to the spot, prompting a penalty kick for Sacramento Republic. Lopez stepped up, sending the ball down the middle to bury the goal and level the field before the half.
SAC: Douglas Martinez (Ferrety Sousa), 84th minute: Douglas Martinez found a gap in the Locomotive defense, speeding through to latch onto a long ball over the top. Setting himself up to be one-on-one with Evan Newton, Martinez swiftly placed the ball to the far corner to put Republic in the late lead.
SAC: Keko (Douglas Martinez), 91st minute: Catching Locomotive on a counter, Martinez and Keko went two-to-one against the El Paso defense. Martinez sent the pass to Keko, who rounded a rushing Evan Newton to pass in the ball on an open goal to secure the win.