The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC traveled to the Lone Star state Friday night in the hopes of stealing three points and solidifying their position in the upper echelon of the Western Conference. In San Antonio they faced a formative opponent who had won their previous two games, and join Sacramento and Salt Lake City at the top of the table.
The game started with fury for the Switchbacks, who applied heavy pressure early in the hopes of keeping the home team on their heels as they absorbed the aggressive visitors. The pressure paid of for the Switchbacks when midfielder Taesong Kim intercepted a clearance, and forward Aaron King deftly slotted it into goal. For King, the goal was a long time coming, as the veteran Smokey Hill High School product had spent much of 2016 in limited action coming off the bench. For the remainder of the half, San Antonio maintained the bulk of the possession, but where unable to solve the Switchbacks defense, or diminutive keeper, Dan “Stonewall” Jackson.
Jackson, the former University of Denver standout, had an impressive night in only his second professional start. His work seems to have earned the confidence of the coaching staff, as he looks to hold onto the starting keeper until Cameroonian national keeper Moise Pouaty is cleared to begin play after his stint with the Cameroon National Team.
After the second half began, it became clear that both teams ratcheted up the intensity, as the play was at times end-to-end frantic, and chippy at times, as the teams combined for an accumulated 8 yellow card cautions. Finally, the lead was broken by a beautiful one touch volley by San Antonio’s Tyrpak in the 79th, a goal that will rightly be considered as a USL Goal of the Week. Despite the draw being secured, the teams continued to battle back and forth, neither willing to settle for the single point. The Switchbacks almost pulled ahead in the dying moments when a rocket shot by Kevaugn Frater ricocheted off the goalpost, and was cleared from danger.
After the weekend of action, the draw saw Colorado Springs dip to 6th in the conference (1-0-2, 5 pts) and San Antonio hold ground at 3rd (2-0-1, 7 pts). The Switchbacks continue the Texas road swing on Wednesday against Rio Grande Valley Toros, who currently sit at 8th (1-2-0 3 pts) before returning home on Saturday to face tough regional rival, Salt Lake City Monarchs (3-0-0, 9 pts).