The Real Monarchs will play the Switchbacks in a rare 4 day home and home stand, due to a canceled game from late April. That game, originally scheduled for April 30th was rescheduled for June 29th due to a late spring snowstorm that prevented Salt Lake City from traveling over I-70 for the game.
At the time, the postponement seemed advantageous for SLC, as it was the first game in a 2 month road trip due to resurfacing at Rio Tinto Stadium. At the time, they were 2-2-2, and on a 3 game scoreless skid. The delay allowed them some breathing space in, what was at the time, a packed schedule. Backloading the road trip with a 2 game stand at Fortress Sand Creek seemed like an easy solution to get the Real Monarchs back in form, and end the road trip with games against their regional rival.
Things didn't quite work out as they planned however, as they have gone 2-5-2 since the postponed game, and losers of 3 straight games. Despite the poor record, near the halfway mark of the season, they are sitting 2 points behind Orange County for the 8th playoff spot. Grabbing important points against the Switchbacks would help them as the challenge for the franchises first USL playoff appearance.
The Switchbacks sit at 3rd in the Western Conference. Since the postponed game they have gone 4-2-2. They return after a difficult game against San Antonio last Saturday that saw the normally stout defense give up 2 goals, and the offense only able to generate a goal off a Luke Vercollone PK. After an 8 day rest, they should be rested and eager to face a fatigued at FSC. Western Conference Standings as of 6/23
Keys To The Game:
1.) Meet you at the crossroads. At this point in the season, this 2 game stretch is could be a turning point for both teams. SLC is concluding their 2 month road trip, and coming back home with points would be a starting point for a playoff push. For the Switchbacks, this is the beginning of a busy summer schedule that includes a friendly against the Bundesliga team, FSV Mainz 05. With the top of the table getting crowded and every point harder to come by, anything less than 6 points will be a disappointment.
2.) Test of fitness. The Real Monarchs are the only team where the elevation at FSC will not be a factor. However, fatigue could be a factor due to the travel of the past 2 months. The rested Switchbacks will want to pressure hard early to see just how fit SLC will be.
3.) Don't show your hand early. Because of the timing of the two games, both teams will have time to adjust and change tactics between matchups. If coach Steve Trittschuh has a few wrinkles in the game plan, it might be better served holding them until the second match, depending on how the first shapes up.
By The Numbers:
12,570: The rough estimated miles for the 11 game, 2 month Monarchs road trip (including the "home" game at Reno, NV)
.809: The USL leading save percentage of Switchbacks goalkeeper Devala Gorrick. The Switchbacks have only conceded 9 goals this season, tied for best in the Western Conference.
11: The amount of second half goals the Real Monarchs have surrendered this season. The Switchbacks have only given up 4 in the final 45 minutes.
REF: CUAUHTEMOC DELGADILLO
AR1: Adam Finney
AR2: Miguel Urbina-Barrios
4TH: Robert Keiffer
Real Monarchs SLC's Chris Schuler was sent off during Saturday's 1-0 loss to Orange County Blues FC, and he will serve his one-game suspension this Sunday at Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC.
Marty Maybin joins Miguel Gonzalez at 4 yellow cards, one short of a one game suspension.
How To Watch
Match Date/Time: Sunday, June 26th, 1:30pm
Venue: Switchbacks Stadium, Colorado Springs, CO
On-Line Viewing: Live stream on YouTube. Available on any device with a YouTube app (Xbox, Playstation, Apple TV, Roku, etc)
Weather at Kick-off: 82° at kickoff, partly cloudy with a 10% chance of rain.