Live Blog: Oakland Roots vs. El Paso Locomotive (October 14, 2023)

Hello and welcome to the blog’s live coverage of Oakland Roots hosting El Paso, coming to you from Pioneer Stadium for the final time this season. It’s the season-finale and do-or-die for Roots, requiring a win to get into the postseason with the No. 8 seed.

A tie isn’t enough for Oakland after New Mexico defeated Memphis 4-1 last night. A victory overtakes El Paso at 45 points to claim the final playoff spot for the third consecutive year. No other matches around the Western Conference matter.

In today’s match preview, Bloom highlights Roots’ 3-1 win over El Paso in July. He names Josué Aaron Gómez and Eric Calvillo as his players to watch on Locomotive.

El Paso was hot going into this game, but the Roots got El Paso started on a five-game losing streak, from which they have never fully recovered. The teams were even through the half, although primarily thanks to an excellent Benny Diaz save of a Napo Matsoso shot up and off the cross-bar. El Paso took the lead on a deflected shot (credited as an Emrah own goal). Lindo equalized on the most quintessential Lindo goal–calm chip of the keeper while, frankly, barely running. Johnny headed in a cross for the lead and with five minutes left in regulation, Pelaez put the game away with a simple finish of a Prentice cross, completely unmarked at the back post. In a win-and-you’re-in scenario, the Roots may be the last team that El Paso wants to see from a historical perspective.

Postgame Presser

Initial Takeaways

  • There’s really only one takeaway, the season is over. A two month winless skid and now Roots miss the playoffs for the first time in team history. My heart hurts for Noah Delgado. I feel the roster overperforming earlier this season was a product of good coaching, but he ultimately deserves some blame for the nine game winless streak. Dealing Darek Formella for Baboucarr Njie wasn’t Delgado’s call, in the end, and it undoubtedly played a part the attack’s lack of fluidity. Njie is a dependable defender, but Oakland never replaced Formella’s goals. It feels like not just one person deserves blame, it goes from the front office, to the coaching staff, to the last player on the roster–everyone deserves a finger pointed at them. The only praise goes to The Function, they remain undefeated.
  • Well, it was a historic year for Roots off of the field. The community investment round helped make this the most profitable year in club history, while tonight’s attendance of over 6,100 was a club record by over 400. Being up to third was also a record, perhaps they can make it true next year. Maybe an added year of experience will serve beneficial for the front office, coaching staff, and younger players.

Starting Lineups

  • Oakland Roots Starting 11

Its a return to Johnny Rodriguez, Jeciel Cedeño, and Lindo Mfeka up top. Without Bryan Tamacas, Memo Diaz slots into the right back role while Baboucarr Njie returns to the left side. The midfield includes Danny Gomez and Irakoze Donasiyano–big game for both players. Tarek Morad returns to the central center back role with Neveal Hackshaw on national team duty.

  • El Paso Locomotive Starting 11


  • GAME TIME! It’s the season-finale, can Roots snap the eight-game winless streak to get into the playoffs?

  • Roots corner – 4′

    Barbir flick on

  • Roots corner – 5′

    Cedeño draws another.

  • Roots free kick good area – 6′

    12 yards above area. Memo ball to Barbir, kicks over to Njie

  • El Paso goal – 7′

    Sonupe ball through the back line. Looked a foot-and-a-half offside, no call.

  • El Paso goal – 13′

    Header off a corner. Dollanmeyer.

  • Roots free kick – 19′

    Memo ball out the back.

  • Roots free kick on right side – 29′

    Good area. Draws a corner

  • Roots corner – 30′


  • Cedeño draws a PK – 39′

    Great cutback work to himself on Dollanmeyer.

    Johnny takes it, Benny stops it dive to his right.

  • Roots corner – 43′


  • Roots corner – 44′

    header out back.

  • Roots free kick – stoppage

    From a ways out on left side.

  • First half notes:

    Roots trail 2-0 at the half, support section boos them into the locker room. Oakland needed a complete game, only to concede minutes apart–yet again. 7 shots, 3 on target, a missed pk.

    El Paso 2 shots, both goals.

  • Pelaez halftime sub for Lindo

    Tray for Koze

  • Roots goal – 48′


  • Roots corner – 57′

    leads to another

  • Roots corner – 57′

    Njie bike sails over.

  • Roots corner – 59′

    goal kick

  • Njie shot blocked for corner – 67′

  • Saldaña on

  • El Paso free kick – stoppage

    diving save by Paul, huge.

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