EL PASO, Texas – A second-half goal by Josue Aaron Gomez proved the difference as El Paso Locomotive FC took a 1-0 victory against Las Vegas Lights FC on Saturday night at Southwest University Park that saw the visitors twice denied by key saves from El Paso goalkeeper Ben Beaury to claim all three points.
Looking to add to its two-game winning streak, Locomotive FC maintained control for much of the first half and twice threatened inside the opening 10 minutes. First a chance fell to Sebastian Velasquez after a mis-hit clearance by a Lights FC defender ended up being shot over the crossbar, and soon after Chapa Herrera fired a low shot from the top-left edge of the penalty area that was saved by Las Vegas’ Alex Rando.
That pattern continued for most of the first half as Velasquez forced a good save from Rando in the 12th minute with a shot from 25 yards to the bottom-left corner of the goal. As much control as the hosts half – keeping Lights FC without an official shot in the opening 45 minutes – they were unable to find a breakthrough before halftime as a late piece of interplay with two teammates inside the penalty area led to a chance for Diego Luna that he fired high from a narrow angle on the left.
The pattern continued into the second half as Eder Borelli fired into the side-netting from the left side of the penalty area for the hosts five minutes after the break. El Paso almost got a fortuitous break to take the lead, in fact, as a pass back to Rando by a defender skipped on the turf as he looked to clear long upfield, but the goalkeeper was able to recover and clear off the goal line to avoid an own goal.
Las Vegas’ first serious chance arrived in the 56th minute as Tony Leone got up the right side and delivered a back-post cross for Julian Gaines that the youngster headed back across toward the right corner, only for Beaury to make a fine diving save. Two minutes later, Locomotive FC finally took the lead as the ball broke to Borelli on the left and he delivered a great angled cross to the top-right edge of the six-yard area for Gomez to head home.
Gomez tried for a second in the 67th minute as he redirected a chipped cross from the left by Luis Solignac on frame but without enough purchase to trouble Rando, while a minute later Lights FC’s Christian Torres had a shot blocked away by El Paso’s Richie Ryan. El Paso continued to go in search of an insurance goal, and with 18 minutes to go a cross by Luna was palmed into the center of the penalty area by Rando, but Matt Bahner was unable to capitalize as he shot high after the ball was settled by Leandro Carrijo to set up a chance.
Torres went close to an equalizer for Las Vegas with nine minutes remaining when Alvaro Quezada delivered an inch-perfect pass as Torres cut into the left side of the penalty area, only for Beaury to make an equally good save to deny his shot from 10 yards out. Julian Vazquez then went close for the visitors off a free kick in the 87th minute but his shot curled around the wall but into the left side-netting. But while Bryam Rebellon went close for El Paso a minutes later with a shot that flashed just wide of the left post, Locomotive FC held on for victory to remain undefeated at home this season.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Eder Borelli, El Paso Locomotive FC – Borelli served up a perfect assist for Josue Aaron Gomez’s game-winner and had three key passes and two shots in addition to completing 43 of 52 passes and winning 6 of 10 duels.
ELP – Josue Aaron Gomez (Eder Borelli) 58’