Must-win games are a dime a dozen these days, and the Switchbacks are up against the wall again for this Friday’s match. Coming to Fortress Sand Creek for the first time this year is the Western Conference leading Vancouver Whitecaps 2. After finishing a point out of last place in 2015, Vancouver (10-4-5, 35 points) has turned it around this season leading the West for most of year.
While they have been at the top, their ascendancy hasn't been without issues. They come into town 2-2-1 in their last 5, with the teams leading scorer Kyle Greig (10 goals) being shut out in that stretch. A 0-4 loss at Rio Grande Valley FC shows that they are capable of giving up chunks of goals, and their +4 goal differential is surprising low for one of the conferences top teams. They need a win to keep pace with LA Galaxy 2, who also sit at 35 points at the top.
The Switchbacks had a chance this past week to slip into the Western Conference lead, but a 1-1 tie with Swope Park Rangers and a 1-2 loss at Saint Louis FC, they still find themselves tied for 3rd with Oklahoma City at 31 points. The games they held in hand earlier in the season have all been squandered. The Switchbacks have slipped into old habits and have been giving up late goals and leaving points on the field. They come into this game 1-2-2 in their last 5, that saw them surrender leads in Portland, Seattle and to Swope Park at home.
The good news is that Joe Paisley from the Gazette is reporting that defender Josh Phillips maybe making his return, after 2 weeks of practice. Phillips has been out of action with a broken collarbone he suffered on May 27th against the Orange County Blues. He has been missed, with the team going 3-4-4 without him. The team needs a spark, and perhaps the return of the fan favorite defender will provide it.
By The Numbers
0.01.) The difference in GAA between OKC's league leading Cody Laurendi (0.73) and Switchback's keeper, Devala Gorrick (0.74). Gorrick is also second in the league with a .806 save percentage. Despite the statistical dominance, Gorrick has been a bit unsteady of late, with 2 miscues in the final moments leading to tying goals.
5-3-3.) The Whitecaps 2 away record. They have +/- 0 goal differential, both scoring and surrendering 17.
231.) The Switchbacks are 5th in the league with 231 shots. However, only 89 of those have been on goal. For a team having scoring difficulties, getting quality shots is imperative.
Miguel Gonzalez earned his 5th yellow card of the season against Swope Park Rangers last Wednesday, and served his one game suspension on Saturday against Saint Louis FC. He will be available for Friday's game.
Sitting on 4 yellow cards are Taeseong Kim and Marty Maybin.
Vancouver has two players that are one card away from suspension for accumulation, Deybi Flores and Will Seymour.
REF: FARHAD DADKHO
AR1: Robert Keiffer
AR2: Robert Bartczak
4TH: Chris Greer
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Friday, July 29th, 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: 73° at kickoff, partly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain.