Despite 2 late goals, the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC could not overcome a hat-trick by Jack McBean, losing 3-2 to LA Galaxy II. It was a frustrating night all around, starting with a PK awarded in the 31st minute when the ref judged that goalkeeper had fouled McBean in the box. The foul was iffy at best and even had the local broadcaster questioning if it was a proper call. After McBean put it in the net, Gorrick was shown a yellow for his continued protests against the call.
The frustration built for the visitors when LA goalkeeper made a keen save on a shot by captain Luke Vercollone near the end of the first half. The Switchbacks pressured hard to end the half, but could not find the equalizer. In the second half, the Switchbacks continued the pressure, often leaving room for a counter attack by LA. In the 53rd minute, McBean collected his second goal after defender Josh Phillips slipped on the turf, allowing LA forward to run unimpeded in for the perfect pass to set up the goal. It all appeared over in the 71st minute when McBean collected his third goal for the hat trick. All that was left was the celebration for the 1,724 in attendance.
Abandoning all pretense of defense, the Switchbacks went all out from that point on. Their deep passes where often flagged offsides, to the point of redundancy. Finally, in the 77th minute Saeed Robinson tapped in a cross from Mike Seth to pull one back. The visiting side continued to pressure, and Mike Seth found paydirt in the 88th minute, notching his second goal of the season. Despite the late heroics, the Switchbacks fell short in the end, walking out seeing the undefeated Galaxy II collect 3 points, and put even more distance on the rest of the Western Conference.
The Good: Despite the orders in which the goals occurred, the Switchbacks played well for most of the game. They had their fair share of chances throughout the game, and had some unlucky bounces and calls all game. The pressure at the end showed that they weren’t willing to lay down and quit, despite the seemingly insurmountable lead. It is a shame that being down 3-0 will overshadow what was a decent night of work for the lads. With the team staying in California in preparation for the Sunday showdown with Orange County, they can carry the momentum of those final two goals into that game.
The Bad: Oh boy. While positive can be found, there is a lot of work that can be found for the Switchbacks. The insane number of offsides (The stat is not on the official USL stat page and I haven’t been able to find a total) bordered on absurd, and illustrates a trend Ive seen forming this season. The team can get aggressive from the back, often sending the ball deep forward on the first touch, hoping to catch a quick counter play. Last night, that devolved into taking a boot to the ball and praying something happens. LA, unlike other teams had their back 4 hustling forward once they cleared the ball, leaving our forwards not quick enough to match the moving line. With no building from the back, we often saw 2-3 Switchbacks in an offside position when the ball was immediately played back. Conditioning shouldn’t be an issue, with the team coming off an 11 day break. This might have just been good scouting on LA’s part in keeping their back line pressed forward. This is something that the forwards will need to keep in mind when the teams meet again June 11th.
The Ugly: This section of the postgame might have to be renamed "How bad was the officiating?". Even putting aside the questionable penalty kick, the consistency of this officiating crew was a major issue. Some obvious fouls were missed, while other play he was quick with his whistle. Im often willing to forgive a bad ref as long as he’s consistent. Last nights official was far from it.
It Was Over When: Most folks might think that the PK was the start of the bad night, but what was lost was Gorrick receiving a yellow afterwards for dissent. Devala Garrick’s style of goalkeeping is very aggressive, often choosing to play contested balls where other keepers would play it safe. After that yellow in the first half, he was clearly less aggressive in his play, in fear of collecting a second yellow from the inconsistent referee. This put him out of his element, and on the second goal, a crossing pass in the box, I believe had he not been sitting on that yellow, he would more aggressively challenged McBean. Instead he kept his feet on the line, let the ball pass and McBean collected what looked like an easy goal.
Up Next: The boys will need to shake off the loss quickly as they face the Orange County Blues on Sunday. While its still early in the season, coming away from this road trip with points is critical. With a win, they can vault OC and stay in sniffing distance of the top of the table.