Fresh off their 2-0 defeat of Seattle Sounders 2, the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC turn their attention to their next opponent, the Oklahoma City Energy FC. This will be the 3rd meeting between the two teams this season, with the 2 previous meetings being settled in the dying minutes. The first meeting was the Switchbacks home opener on April 4th, and ended with a decisive stoppage time goal by Danni Konig, earning the Energy a 2-1 victory. The goal was Konig’s second of the game, and those 2 goals where the first of Konig’s historic season, finishing with 21 goals. While he broke the previous USL single season goal record of 20, held previously by Kevin Molino, he ultimately finished second for the 2015 USL Golden Boot to Lousville City’s Matt Fondy, who netted a record 22.
The second meeting between the two teams was just as thick in drama as the first. The home finale for OKC saw the home side up early after being awarded a PK in the opening minutes. The PK was converted by Konig, for his 21st and final goal of the season. OKC extended their lead to 2-0 twelve minutes later thanks to a shot from Casey Townsend. Colorado Springs held strong however and rallied back in 35th minute with goals from Charles Eloundou, on loan from their upstate MLS neighbors, Colorado Rapids, and 70th minute from Chandler Hoffman, also on loan from MLS’ Houston Dynamo.
All hope appeared lost for the visitors in the 79th minute when OKC’s Sebastian Dalgaard hit with a Goal of the Year candidate shot from 30 yards out. The Taft Stadium record crowd of 6,847 where ready to head home victors, when in stoppage time, Switchback forward Saeed Robinson was fouled in the box, and referee William Tomlinson awarded Colorado Springs a penalty from the spot. Chandler Hoffman stepped up and converted, sending the Energy faithful home deflated. "I don’t even have words right now," König said after the game. "The most important match of the year, and they get a silly penalty in the last minute. That’s hard, man. That’s hard."
All this leads to this Sundays Western Conference Semifinal. The matchup is not only a great one on paper, but also dramatic storylines on the field. The match features the Gonzalez brothers, with older brother Miguel on the Switchbacks, and Daniel playing for the Energy. The game will also see the return of Switchbacks captain, Luke Vercollone, who was unavailable for the previous match in OKC. Look to see him and midfield partner Shintaro Harada battle fiercely with the fiery OKC midfielder Gareth Evans, a matchup that resulted in fists being thrown in the first match in Colorado Springs.
Oklahoma City will be a tough nut to crack at Taft Stadium. They ended the season with an impressive 10-1-3 at home, finishing with a 13-7-8 record. Colorado Springs brings their 14-10-4 record into Taft with aspirations of ending the season for the home side. The Switchbacks are riding in high off of their victory over Seattle, while OKC is entering the playoffs 1-2-1 in the month of September.
The game can be viewed live on YouTube, with a kickoff at 5pm Mountain time.