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Go, Go, Diego! El Paso’s Abarca grabs memorable first goal

By Staff, 06/05/22, 9:58AM EDT


16-year-old becomes youngest goalscorer in club history with second-half tally against Hartford

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

A teenager named Diego produces a brilliant finish for El Paso Locomotive FC, sending Southwest University Park into wild celebrations.


But instead of Diego Luna – who earlier in the night had made his Major League Soccer debut for Real Salt Lake almost 2,000 miles to the north in Vancouver – this time it was 16-year-old Diego Abarca who delivered his first professional goal for Locomotive FC in its 1-1 draw against Hartford Athletic.

Just three minutes after coming on as a substitute for fellow USL Academy signing Venancio Calderon, Abarca capped a fine move led by Dylan Mares from midfield, receiving possession in the right side of the penalty area before cutting back onto his left foot and curling a shot into the top-left corner of the net.

“I just made a forward run like the coaches told me to do. Dylan gave me the pass and I controlled inward, I saw the angle took the shot and it went in,” said Abarca. “I have no words, it’s all new to me. It’s just a shock. We keep working.”

There’s going to be a long way to go before Abarca arrives at the level Luna achieved in El Paso prior to his transfer this week. Still, the homegrown product – who was one of four USL Academy signings to see action alongside Calderon, Joel Maldonado and Noe Coutinho – offered a glimpse at the talent that is getting ready to emerge at the club.

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