This weekend we get back to league play, when the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC head to Texas to face San Antonio FC. Each team enters the game following losses to MLS teams in midweek Open Cup matches, but with different outlooks. While the Switchbacks can take away a lot of positives in the 1-0 loss to Colorado Rapids, San Antonio struggled a bit more in their 4-0 loss to Houston Dynamo. The Switchbacks are riding on a 4-0-2 unbeaten streak (7-2-2 overall, 22 points) in league play, while San Antonio comes in 1-3-3 (2-5-5 overall, 11 points) with their last win coming in April.
While Colorado Springs has been battling for the top of the table, San Antonio has near the bottom looking up. The only Western Conference team below them is Tulsa. The good news for San Antonio is that despite the disappointing start to the season, they are the only team in the bottom 8 without a negative goal differential, at 0. With Saturdays matchup the beginning a 6 game stretch where they play 5 at home at Toyota Field, and their lone away game at last place Tulsa, San Antonio has the opportunity to pull themselves out the bottom and challenge for the last playoff spot.
They will face one of the most dominant defenses in the USL in Colorado Springs, who have only allowed 6 goals this season, lowest in the Western Conference.
Keys To The Game:
1.) Make it count. If there is one complaint about the Switchbacks this season, it is the lack of finishing. Frequently, shots are either unwisely taken from distance, or there are too many touches made in the box, negating scoring chances. It might be a lack of confidence, or just part of the scheme, but more goals are going to be needed in the second half of the season, if we are to challenge LA2, VWC2, or RGV.
2.) Keep the crowd out of it. Toyota Field is one of the larger venues in the USL, and is averaging around 6,000 per game. An early goal or two would be enough to keep the larger partisan crowd from becoming a factor.
3.) Bend, don't break. With defender Josh Phillips out with a broken collarbone, the defense hasn't let up a step with JJ Greer stepping in for him. The team has shown a willingness to bring everyone back and absorb pressure from the opposing team, choosing to rely on scoring chances on the counter. Against a lower scoring team like San Antonio, coach Steve Trittschuh may adopt a more aggressive approach.
By The Numbers:
0.82.) The Goals Against Average for the San Antonio keeper Josh Ford. This puts him at 4th place in the league, just behind Switchbacks goalkeeper Devala Gorrick, averaging 0.68. The two keepers are also 3rd and 4th in save percentage, with Ford at .791 and Gorrick at .825
1.) The amount of multi-goal games the Switchbacks have allowed this year, the 2-3 loss to LA2 earlier in the city.
990.) The amount of minutes defender Christian Ibeagha has played this season. He has played every minute of every game so far this season, the only Switchback to do so (Rony Argueta came close with 986 minutes) Ibeagha also has played every minute of the US Open Cup games as well. He truly is the teams ironman.
REF: MICHAEL LAVERGNE
AR1: Jeremy Weed
AR2: Francisco Bermudez
4TH: Terry Burris
Switchbacks forward Saeed Robinson has served his 3 game suspension for an alleged spitting incident against Arizona last month. Miguel Gonzalez is still riding on 4 yellow cards, one short of a one game suspension due to accumulation.
No San Antonio player appeared on the league's discipline report.
How To Watch
Match Date/Time: Saturday, June 18th, 6:30pm MDT
Venue: Toyota Field, San Antonio, TX
Supporters Event: The Trailheads will be hosting a watch party at Peaks N Pines.
On-Line Viewing: The game will be live streamed via Youtube. Most modern mobile devices and TVs have a YouTube app (XBox, Playstation, Roku, Chromecast, etc)
Weather at Kick-off: 95° at kickoff, partly cloudy with a 0% chance of rain.