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Why Locomotive FC could be confident of success against Switchbacks on Friday

By NICHOLAS MURRAY -, 05/04/23, 4:33PM EDT


El Paso enters one of Week 9’s big games having never lost in Colorado Springs in six prior visits

El Paso Locomotive FC has found its fair share of success on the road in Colorado Springs in its history, going undefeated in six prior road contests against the Switchbacks. | Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

There’s no doubt in the mind of El Paso Locomotive FC Head Coach Brian Clarhaut’s mind as to how big his side’s visit to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC is when it comes to the USL Championship’s Week 9 slate.

“This is going to be a top game in the Western Conference, one of the top games in the USL Championship for the weekend,” said Clarhaut this week. “They’re in really good form, they have good players – athletic, fast, we saw that at home in the second game of the season, a bit unlucky not to get a point there.

“It’s a bit of a revenge game for me, but we need to respect some of the pace on their players and how they play, and how potent they are. It’s going to be a tough game.”

With the Switchbacks in second place – having won four of their last five league games – and Locomotive FC undefeated in its last five – also with four wins in that span – all eyes should be on Weidner Field on Friday night (9 p.m. ET | ESPN+).

But there’s an additional reason El Paso should feel confident as they head north looking to avenge their late 2-1 loss on March 15 at Southwest University Park.

In six visits to Colorado Springs in its history, Locomotive FC has never lost.

Now, that doesn’t automatically mean that El Paso has won either. In fact, since winning 2-0 in the club’s first trip to Colorado Springs during the 2019 season, the teams have played to five consecutive draws on the Switchbacks’ home turf. That included this 4-4 thriller that saw the hosts take a three-goal lead, Locomotive FC score four goals in 15 minutes in the second half, and the Switchbacks equalize in stoppage time in one of the wildest back-and-forths in Championship regular season history.

At the same time, El Paso is one of only 11 teams in the Championship’s history to have played at least six away games against an opponent and never suffered a loss.

The current gold standard? That, unsurprisingly, would be Louisville City FC, although the opponent might be. LouCity has never lost in nine road games against perennial Championship Playoffs contender Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, with five wins and four draws that include a memorable comeback in the 2019 USL Championship Playoffs.

Another team to have achieved road dominance in a head-to-head series is Sacramento Republic FC, which has never lost – period – against FC Tulsa and is 5-0-1 in its visits to ONEOK Field after last weekend’s 1-1 draw between the clubs.

With the Switchbacks and Locomotive FC currently separated by three points as the second quarter of the regular season begins, there should be plenty to look forward to at Weidner Field this time around.

But Locomotive FC will be hoping it ends up with a familiar, positive feeling at the end of the night.

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