What To Watch For
Colorado Springs returns home after a mostly successful road trip to California feeling pretty good. Despite the loss to LA, the team came back strong in the final minutes, and carried that momentum over to give Orange County a 3-0 thumping. Back in the friendly confines of Fortress Sand Creek, the Switchbacks welcomes the Portland Timbers 2 to town.
Portland, while not exactly lighting the USL on fire, has had a mostly positive season so far. After overcoming a winless 3 game start, They have been a comfortable 3-1-1 since, and nestled at 10 points, within striking distance of the top of the table. As with most of the ‘MLS 2’ teams, T2’s roster has a lot of turnover, with no one player really standing out. They have a goal differential of -1 and their only real offensive player of note is Kharlton Belmar, who with 2 goals and 2 assists. In goal, they have found some stability in the play of Kendall McIntosh, who has started the last 3 games, including a clean sheet victory over the Tulsa Roughnecks.
The game has been chosen as USL’s "Game of the Week" to be broadcast on ESPN3. This will be Fortress Sand Creek’s introduction to the national spotlight (yeah I know YouTube was national as well, but… come on). Lets hope the place is packed and rowdy, and puts on a good show of support.
Keys To The Game
1.) Don’t Underestimate Portland. I’ll admit it, when I first started to dig into the stats I was surprised to see that Portland was not only in the top 8, but with a win, could jump past us in the standings. They’ve had some impressive wins over Sacramento, Tulsa, and Salt Lake City, and have been under the radar for most of the season, not even once appearing on the USL’s Power Rankings. That all can change with a win on Friday night on the big stage.
2.) Foot On The Pedal, Don’t Let Up! In this very space last week, I implored the team to release the "Goal Storm!", specifically calling out Luke Vercollone on his lack of goals this season. The skipper didn’t disappoint against OC, bagging a goal and an assist, and earning the Back Chat Man of the Match. The team needs to build from the 5 goals they scored on the road, and continue the aggressiveness in the thin air of Colorado Springs.
3.) I Want You to Want Me. If ever there was a time for Colorado Springs to show up in force to support the home team, its this Friday night. It seems like with every passing game, interest and excitement builds, and we as fans need to bring it for this game. We need to send a message to other teams what Fortress Sand Creek is all about. (All apologies to Cheap Trick)
By The Numbers:
2-0.) Last season, the Switchbacks swept the series with Portland, winning both games with a combined score of 4-1. While overall historical records don’t have much of factor in the game, (especially with a roster churn from a MLS 2 team), it is typical to note when a team has yet to defeat another in league play.
3.) Mike Seth is quietly putting together a solid season, and shares the league lead in assists with 3. With 2 goals to add to his production, he is becoming a critical part of the Switchbacks success.
5.) Despite giving up 3 to LA, the Switchbacks still sit near the top of defensive scoring teams with 5 goals given up. Only Sacramento has given up less, with 3. The Switchbacks have yet to concede a goal at FSC.
REF: MALIK BADAWI
AR1: Robert Keiffer
AR2: Lauren Parliament
4TH: Adam Zarrin
None. Only Miguel Gonzalez is within yellow card accumulation sights, with 3. At 5 yellow cards, a player is suspended for one game.
How To Watch
Match Date/Time: Friday, May 13th. 7:00pm MDT
Venue: Switchback Stadium, Colorado Springs, CO
Supporters Event: The Trailheads will be hosting a tailgate in the SE parking lot starting at 4pm
On-Line Viewing: Game will be broadcast on ESPN3, and the WatchESPN app. Available on most devices. (Xbox, Apple TV, Roku, etc)
*NOTE* ESPN3 requires a television package that includes ESPN. If you are cord cutter, make appropriate plans (Friend, Bar, etc) to watch
Weather at Kick-off: 69° at kickoff, partly cloudy with a 0% chance of rain.