EL PASO, Texas – Logan Ketterer made a key save to redeem himself from an earlier error as El Paso Locomotive FC earned a 4-2 victory in a penalty shootout after playing to a 2-2 draw with FC Tulsa after extra time at Southwest University Park in a pulsating clash in the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2020 USL Championship playoffs.
Each side had held the lead in regulation as Leandro Carrijo scored twice for the hosts, including an equalizer in the 83rd minute after Callum Chapman-Page had put Tulsa ahead midway through the second half. Chapman-Page was then sent off in the 101st minute to reduce the visitors to 10 men, but thanks to a remarkable display by goalkeeper Sean Lewis and some good fortune with the woodwork, Tulsa sent the game to a shootout.
The visitors shot first from the spot, too, and Christian Altamirano converted with the opening shot. After El Paso’s Nick Ross had matched him, though, Lebo Moloto sent Tulsa’s second shot over the crossbar, opening the door for Locomotive FC. Bryam Rebellon converted for the hosts, and then Ketterer made a diving save to keep out Tulsa’s Ariel Martinez as he shot to the left corner.
After Richie Ryan buried El Paso’s third into the top-right corner to give the hosts a two-goal advantage, Saeed Robinson’s shot just out of the reach of Lewis to the bottom-left corner sealed victory for Locomotive FC and a place in the Western Conference Semifinals against rival New Mexico United.
The game had begun with more drama as Tulsa appeared to have taken the lead in just the fifth minute as Rodrigo Da Costa headed home a cross into the left corner only to be ruled offside on a late flag. It was instead El Paso that took the lead in the 19th minute as a miscommunication between Tulsa center back Kevin Garcia and Lewis saw the former misdirect a header that Leandro Carrijo seized on to put home his first goal for Locomotive FC.
Tulsa leveled seven minutes before halftime, however, as Ketterer made a crucial error in letting a low cross from the right by Marlon under his arms as he tried to claim which allowed Da Costa to finish easily from close range to make it level at the break. Tulsa threatened to take the lead in the 64th minute as Eric Bird fired a long-range shot toward the left corner that Ketterer turned wide of the post, but four minutes later a long ball into the penalty area by Moloto after an initial free kick had been blocked found Chapman-Page for a looping header into the net as Ketterer came but didn’t claim the ball.
Ryan almost leveled for El Paso in the 70th minute as he got on the end of a corner by Mares from the left but saw his header clip the crossbar and go over, but then another corner kick provided the leveler as Carrijo struck again. A deliver from the right by Mares came to the Brazilian near the top of the six-yard area and he flicked his header into the left corner of the net.
Both teams had chances late in regulation to grab the lead, with Tulsa’s Tobenna Uzo finding himself in space after being played in by Altamirano in the 90th minute only to send his finish wide of the right post with only the goalkeeper to beat. El Paso went even closer in stoppage time, though, as Josue Aaron Gomez first rattled the crossbar with a finish from 14 yards in the left side of the penalty area and then had a 1-on-1 chance denied by Tulsa goalkeeper Sean Lewis before the game went to extra time.
Gomez continued to be a threat as the extra session opened and in the 96th minute fired a low shot through traffic that Lewis got down well to keep from going into the right corner of the net. A couple of minutes later the woodwork would again deny Gomez as he hit a curling shot from 25 yards out that hit the top-right side of the crossbar, and soon after Chapman-Page was sent off after an off-the-ball incident before a corner kick.
The chances continued for Gomez into the second period of extra time as he got on the end of a cross from the left by Moses Makinde but was again denied by a fine save from Lewis, who got enough on his parry to send it the way of one of his defenders to clear. Then with 10 minutes to go, Gomez almost squeezed a shot beneath Lewis, but the goalkeeper got just enough of the effort to slow it down and allow defender Vangjel Zguro to clear.
Zguro proved in the right place at the right time again with four minutes to go as he nicked the ball off the foot of Dylan Mares as he broke in for what would have been a big chance to decide the game, while Lewis made one more key save late to keep out Memo Diaz’s shot from the left side of the penalty area. While Lewis produced the goods in the opening 120 minutes, however, it was Ketterer’s turn in the shootout to send El Paso through.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Leandro Carrijo, El Paso Locomotive FC – Carrijo scored both goals for the hosts, including a key late equalizer, and won 12 of 21 duels while recording two key passes in a 120-minute performance.