Saying a game is a "must win" is one of those sports cliches that the more you hear it, the less meaning it has. And the more "must win" games you have, odds are the worse you are doing. As is the story with the 2016 edition of the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. After starting strong, the team has started slipping, letting wins become ties, and ties to become losses. The dynamic powerful offense of 2015 is gone, replaced with a defensive team that has been near the top of the USL all season. While the defense has improved, the offense has been nearly nonexistent. And a team that opened up the season at the top of the USL's Power Rankings, has not been listed at all in weeks.
This weekends game with Sacramento comes off the heels of a Pacific Northwest trip that saw the Switchbacks take an early lead against Portland Timbers 2, only to give up the tying goal late, and getting the lead early against Seattle Sounders 2, and give up a tying, and game winning goal. In a road trip that could have ended with 6 points, only resulted in 1. A trip that had the potential to leave the team in position near the top of the Western Conference, ended with them sitting in 5th place, with several teams nipping at their heels.
Sacramento currently sits at second place in the West, but also on the heals of a couple disappointing results. A loss at Bonney Field to Salt Lake City, and a tie against Orange County. Sitting 3 points behind the first place Vancouver Whitecaps 2.
The 2 meetings last year between these teams where instant classics, with Colorado Springs taking the first meeting at Bonney Field 1-0, and Sacramento mounting a furious late comeback at Fortress Sand Creek to earn a 3-3 draw. Saturday nights matchup is the only regular season meeting between the teams.
Colorado Springs needs to turn the season around, and can do that with a win Saturday night. With a loss, they potentially drop further down the table, and instead of fighting for home field in the playoffs, will be fighting for their playoff lives.
By The Numbers
19.) Of the 23 goals Sacramento has scored, 19 of them have been second half goals. 14 of the 17 goals they have conceded have been second half goals.
37.) The amount of yellow cards Sacramento has been shown. Only LA Galaxy 2 have more, with 40. By comparison, the Switchbacks have 33, and Oklahoma City is the league lowest with 19.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC's Joe Greenspan will sit this game for receiving a red card against Seattle. Sacramento Republic FC's Mike Da Fonte will serve his one game suspension after a red card in his previous game.
REF: MALIK BADAWI
AR1: Miguel Urbina-Barrios
AR2: Brean Roman
4TH: Oscar Arias Ochoa
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Saturday, July 16th, 7:00pm
Venue: Switchbacks Stadium, Colorado Springs, CO
Supporters Event: The Trailheads will be hosting a tailgate in the SE parking lot starting at 4pm
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: 89° at kickoff, cloudy with a 0% chance of rain.