New Mexico United and El Paso Locomotive FC will square off on Friday night in the 13th edition of the Derby del Camino Real. | Photo courtesy Ivan Pierre Aguirre / El Paso Locomotive FC
Another contender for the best rivalry in the USL Championship opens up the weekend’s action in Week 26 of the season with pressure on both sides to take victory before what should be a tremendous atmosphere in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Here’s a look ahead to the action.
Venue: Isotopes Park
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: NM 43%, ELP 29%, Draw 28%
The Lowdown: The 13th edition of the Derby del Camino Real across the USL Championship’s regular season and playoffs will kick off on Friday night as New Mexico United plays host to El Paso Locomotive FC in one of the best current rivalries in the league. New Mexico gained a narrow lead in the all-time series between the clubs earlier this season as it took a 2-1 victory at Southwest University Park behind goals from Tabort Etaka Preston and Neco Brett in Locomotive FC’s home opener, earning a third win for United in a series that has seen seven prior drawn contests. The hosts will be hoping to rebound from a 1-0 setback to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC this time around, however, as they try to jump back into the top four in the Western Conference standings and closer to a return to the postseason in October. El Paso, meanwhile, is aiming to build on a 3-1 victory against Phoenix Rising FC last Saturday night that broke a six-game winless streak for the side as Luis Solignac scored a pair of goals and Dylan Mares struck once to lead Locomotive FC to victory. The visitors arrive in New Mexico in sixth place in the Western Conference, but with only six games to go in the regular season Locomotive FC is not currently in control of its playoff destiny. As it looks for its first victory in New Mexico in its history – United is 1-0-2 in prior meetings at Isotopes Park – the pressure is on El Paso to deliver all three points and even the all-time series again.
New Mexico United – Chris Wehan: The club’s all-time goalscoring leader has recorded four goals and one assist against Locomotive FC in eight prior contests and should have a major role to play once again.
El Paso Locomotive FC – Dylan Mares: The attacking playmaker’s five goals against New Mexico in nine appearances are the most for any Locomotive FC player against a single opponent, and Mares is on a run of four goals in his last three games currently.