EL PASO, Texas – Josue Aaron Gomez and Macauley King each scored twice while Dylan Mares had a pair of assists as a flurry of four goals in eight minutes in the final stages of the first half sent El Paso Locomotive FC to a 4-0 victory against OKC Energy FC before a sellout crowd of 8,011 fans on Sunday night at Southwest University Park.
Locomotive FC had a pair of half-chances in the opening 10 minutes as both Gomez and King put efforts on target that produced comfortable saves from Energy FC goalkeeper CJ Cochran, but five minutes before halftime the hosts went on an attacking surge that effectively put the game to bed. Gomez struck first in the 40th minute when Diego Luna intercepted a pass in the OKC half and quickly shifted possession to Mares centrally as he broke forward. Mares then found Gomez to his left, and the forward lifted his finish over Cochran with his first touch to find the back of the net.
Two minutes later came the second when Mares delivered a corner kick from the left that was flicked on at the near post by Gomez and came through to King and the back post, where his finish was parried by Cochran but only after it had crossed the goal line fully to record the goal. Gomez notched his second of the night two further minutes on as he ran onto a first-time pass from Matt Bahner on the halfway line into the left channel that sent the Mexican in behind the Energy FC back line before Gomez lashed home a finish into the top-left corner of the net from 16 yards that Cochran was helpless to keep out.
King then notched his second of night in the third minute of first half stoppage time as off another corner kick from the left the defender was first to Mares’ delivery to the top of the six-yard area where he headed into the left corner of the net. Gomez almost then added a fifth before the halftime whistle blew as he broke forward onto a long ball forward and lifted a looping finish over Cochran as he came off his line, only to see the ball hit the top of the crossbar and go behind for a goal kick.
Jose Aguinaga also went close for the hosts two minutes into the second half with a curling shot from 20 yards toward the left corner that Cochran turned wide of the post after El Paso had turned possession over in the OKC defensive third, but from there Locomotive FC began to take its foot off the gas pedal a little as it maintained control of the game. OKC had an opportunity to pull a goal back on the hour-mark as Villyan Bijev curled a shot from the top-right edge of the penalty area just wide of the right post, but the visitors ended the game without registering an official shot on target as Locomotive FC kept its chances of finishing with the best record in the Western Conference alive.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Josue Aaron Gomez, El Paso Locomotive FC – Gomez recorded two goals and one assist while finishing the night with six shots and three key passes to lead the hosts to a rousing victory before a sold-out crowd.
ELP – Josue Aaron Gomez (Dylan Mares) 40’
ELP – Macauley King (Josue Aaron Gomez) 42’
ELP – Josue Aaron Gomez (Matt Bahner) 44’
ELP – Macauley King (Dylan Marez) 45+3’