EL PASO, Texas – Three second-half goals sent El Paso Locomotive FC to a 4-2 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Wednesday night at Southwest University Park as a pair of assists by Nick Ross and a goal and assist from Luis Solignac gave the hosts another dramatic home victory and moved it within a win of clinching the USL Championship’s Mountain Division title.
The Switchbacks grabbed an early lead as Hadji Barry tied the Championship’s single-season scoring mark with his 25th goal of the season in the fifth minute. The Guinean forward was involved in the build-up on the right side that released Sebastian Anderson into the penalty area for a cutback from the byline that took a deflection by was controlled by Barry before he thumped a finish into the left corner of the net.
Locomotive FC’s first good look at goal came nine minutes later when Diego Luna played Ricardo Zacarias into the right side of the penalty area for a low shot to the near post that Colorado Springs goalkeeper Sean Melvin saved. Zacarias was on target for the hosts as they leveled in the 21st minute, though, as he met a free kick from the left by Ross to the back post on the volley to sneak home a shot just inside the upright.
Colorado Springs hit back to regain the lead 10 minutes before halftime as Deshane Beckford first won possession in the El Paso half with a tackle that sent the ball to teammate Andre Lewis before Lewis quickly fed Beckford the ball back as he broke toward the top of the penalty area. Beckford cut onto his left foot to make space and shot into the bottom-right corner of the net from 16 yards to put the visitors back on top.
Beckford and Lewis combined again to almost give the Switchbacks a two-goal lead in the 44th minute after Beckford wove past a pair of defenders in the left side of the penalty area before cutting a pass back to Lewis, whose shot was blocked by El Paso’s Eder Borelli before Barry send the loose ball off target as he followed up. The hosts then hit the woodwork in stoppage time as Jose Aguinaga’s header off a corner kick from the left by Ross hit the turf hard and bounced up allowing Melvin to squeeze the ball onto the crossbar before his defense smuggled the ball to safety.
Ross picked up his second assist of the night just past the hour-mark, though, as from another set piece – this time from the right – his delivery found Macauley King, who contorted around his defender to volley home in midair back into the right corner of the net. El Paso threatened to take the lead as the game entered the final 10 minutes, too, as both King on a header and Dylan Mares on a low shot were denied by Melvin.
Then Solignac delivered. Brought on as a second-half substitute, the Argentine judged a floated cross from the left by Borelli perfectly and caught the ball on the half-volley at the top of the six-yard area, popping it up into the top-left corner of the net while leaving Melvin with little chance.
Locomotive FC added one more late in second-half stoppage time after Solignac broke forward on a counterattack, drawing Melvin as he approached the penalty area before slipping a pass to his left for Luna to finish into an open net, and that provided the final blow as El Paso moved closer to a division crown.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Nick Ross, El Paso Locomotive FC – Ross notched a pair of assists and finished the game with six key passes overall while winning 7 of 7 duels, making 13 recoveries and completing 37 of 49 passes in the center of midfield.
COS – Hadji Barry 5’
ELP – Ricardo Zacarias (Nick Ross) 21’
COS – Deshane Beckford (Andre Lewis) 35’
ELP – Macauley King (Nick Ross) 61’
ELP – Luis Solignac (Eder Borelli) 86’
ELP – Diego Luna (Luis Solignac) 90+7’