Patriots try for traction against Sockers

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El Paso returns to the SAC lickings its wounds after disastrous road defeats

Friday, June 21, 2013 - 10:27pm

After an ugly road trip, there's no place like home. The El Paso Patriots (1-6-1, 4 points, 6th Mid-South) will try to break the spell of a four-game losing streak against a West Texas Sockers (2-4-1, 7 points, T-4th Mid-South) team that has enjoyed every game it has played against the Patriots this Saturday, 7:30 p.m. MDT, at the Socorro Student Activities Complex.

Though West Texas has allowed eight more goals (18) than they've scored (10), they have earned points against El Paso in each of the three matches the teams have played against each other, including a 2-0 win two weeks ago at the SAC.

Playing without its top scorers, Naoyas Aizawa and Kiki Cervantes, both out with leg injuries, El Paso floundered on the road against border rival Laredo and division-leading Austin.

The Patriots rebounded to tie the match, 1-1, against the Heat in the closing minutes of the first half only to see Laredo score twice more for a 3-1 loss last Friday.

Saturday against Austin, a tired and dejected El Paso team suffered the worst defeat in the franchise's 23 seasons -- an 8-0 evisceration at the hands of the rough and ready Aztex that stung the entire nine-hour ride home.

With the playoffs all but out of reach, the Patriots are facing a test of mettle that unfamiliar to a franchise with a history of prouder moments, and it must start defensively.

El Paso has given up a league-high 25 goals, most in the Mid-South Division and tied for third-most in the 64-team Premier Development League. The Patriots minus-16 goal differential isn't helping matters, either, but a healthy Aizawa and Cervantes can help that stat by scoring goals.

In the meantime, a two-week swing at the SAC and some good home cooking should help put an end to the road blues. Tomorrow night will be the test to see if that's enough. Gates open at 6 p.m. MDT, and fans and media can follow the game action via Twitter by following the team, @ElPasoPatriots.

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