EL PASO, Texas – Dylan Mares scored twice in as many minutes as El Paso Locomotive FC turned around a halftime deficit to take a 2-1 victory against New Mexico United on Saturday night at Southwest University Park and maintain its hold on second place in the Championship’s Mountain Division.
New Mexico almost grabbed an early lead as a short corner on the right set up Josh Suggs for a curled cross-shot from outside the top-right corner of the penalty area that just drifted wide of the far post after beyond the reach of a teammate. The visitors tested El Paso goalkeeper Logan Ketterer from distance midway through the half as Andrew Tinari fired toward the left side of the net to produce a save.
Chances proved limited overall, but United took the lead four minutes before the halftime break. After being awarded a free kick just right of center, 25 yards from goal, Brian Brown anticipated the defensive wall jumping on his shot and fired underneath the feet of the Locomotive FC players, sending the ball into the bottom-right corner of the net.
El Paso looked to get back into the game early in the second half as Nick Ross fired a long-range effort that was saved by New Mexico’s Alex Tambakis, but then Mares turned the game around in an instant. In the 56th minute the playmaker recorded his first goal of the season as he received a pass centrally from Diego Luna and fired a low shot that skipped into the left corner of the net.
Just over 90 seconds later, Mares struck again to put the hosts ahead. Bryam Rebellon created space for a shot from the left side of the penalty area to the right corner of the net that Tambakis got down to save, but Mares was in the right place to clean up the rebound from close-range as the game’s momentum shifted rapidly.
New Mexico went close to a response with 20 minutes to go as a throw-in down the left side was flicked on toward Brown inside the penalty area, and his shot from a narrow angle was tipped by Ketterer and sent wide of the far post. The visitors then got another chance from a free kick right of center – on this occasion El Paso placed a man on the ground behind the defensive wall – but Devon Sandoval’s attempt to go over and in clipped the head of a defender and went behind to safety.
Brown had another chance to level with seven minutes to go as a cross from the left skipped all the way through the penalty area to find Daniel Bruce in the right side of the box. Bruce laid a pass back to the Jamaican but his shot from 10 yards out went high over the crossbar. But while Locomotive FC had a pair of late chances to put the game away, Mares’ brace would be enough as the hosts salted away the final minutes to claim victory against their biggest rival.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Dylan Mares El Paso Locomotive FC – Mares produced his first two goals of the season at just the right moment for the hosts, tilting the game back in their favor after a quiet first half display.
NM – Brian Brown 41’
ELP – Dylan Mares (Diego Luna) 56’
ELP – Dylan Mares 57’