Colorado Springs, CO (March 20, 2017)-The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC finished their 2017 preseason campaign with a convincing 4–0 win over Harpo’s FC on Saturday evening at Weidner Field.
Harpo’s FC, a member of the United States Specialty Sports Association, are based in Boulder, Colorado and were no doubt keenly aware of the Switchbacks’ ability after being dismissed from the Second Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup by the Switchbacks in both 2015 and 2016.
Wednesday afternoon’s 4-0 win over The Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado gave the Switchbacks’ offense a momentum boost that they carried into Saturday’s matchup with Harpo’s FC.
The Switchbacks were on the scoreboard inside of 2 minutes on Saturday when Kevaughn Frater fired his header home after a pinpoint cross from Chris James. Dan Jackson made a solid save down to his right on 16 minutes before the Switchbacks began to boss proceedings.
Switchbacks forwards Shane Malcolm and Kevaughn Frater were a constant threat to Harpo’s in the first half, while Josh Phillips showcased some outrageous skill on the half hour mark to wriggle free in the Harpo’s box only to see his near-post shot well blocked.
The second Switchbacks goal came exactly on the stroke of halftime as Shane Malcolm headed home Chris James’ wonderfully weighted free kick. James tallied his third assist of the evening in the 65th minute after playing in Masta Kacher who blasted his shot into the roof of the net as the Switchbacks opened the lead to 3-0.
Second half substitute Jun Gyeong Park showcased some brilliant skill on 83 minutes to skip past two Harpo’s defenders and delight the Weidner Stadium crowd who were enjoying record-setting high temperatures in Colorado Springs.
Kim rounded off the Switchbacks’ scoring just minutes before full-time after some brilliant improvisation from fellow substitute Aaron King. King, playing in his customary forward role, deftly faked bringing a Switchbacks free kick down on his chest and allowed the ball to run perfectly through to Kim. After taking the ball into his strike Kim finished powerfully past a helpless Harpo’s goalkeeper.
“It’s been a solid preseason where we’ve all worked on trying our best to gel with all the new players and all the new things we’re learning,” said Chris James after his three-assist performance. “It was a good result tonight but there are still elements we need to improve before next weekend. A real positive tonight is that our defense was solid and the defense needs to be our strong suit.”
“We have a lot of new players so we just need that time to fit in together,” echoed Rony Argueta. “After looking at the way we played during the preseason you can see there’s a different style about this team. This last week is about working hard and adjusting to the style of the new players. We looked good tonight and we need to keep going forward and scoring goals.”
Argueta, who anchored the midfield against Harpo’s, wore the captain’s armband for the match and Head Coach Steve Trittschuh confirmed after the game that Argueta will be the Switchbacks’ captain in 2017. “It’s a huge honor for me,” said Argueta. “It pushes me even harder and I know I’ve got to step up. But it’s about our first game now. The team is feeling good and we are definitely going to have to be a lot better against Tulsa because we know that’s a different kind of competition for us.”
“As the comfort level with the new players rises our game will improve,” said Steve Trittschuh after the match. “I’m happy with the way we played and I’m also very happy with the way Harpo’s came in here and showed up and really gave us a game – that’s exactly what we needed. I wish we could have played against more USL-caliber opposition this preseason, but tonight was a good game for the players. The reason I wanted to play Harpo’s was to play at a higher level and I knew Harpo’s would give us a game and they did.”
The Switchbacks now have a final week of preparation and practice before beginning their 2017 regular season campaign in Tulsa, Oklahoma against the Roughnecks FC at ONEOK Field.
“We’re finding our best partnerships and we’re getting in good goal-scoring positions and it’s good to keep experiencing that winning feeling,” added Steve Trittschuh after the match. “Every time we played Harpo’s it was a tight game so to win 4-0 gives us confidence before Tulsa. Our fitness will come and now we have a week to think about who will go to Tulsa and compete. We’re getting to know each other more but this last week is important to continue the things that have been put in place.”
“We’ve all worked very hard this preseason and the players are ready to go,” said Chris James. “We’re not there yet, but we are reaching where we need to be in terms of sharpness. There’s going to be some tough games ahead but the lads are ready for the season and we’re well prepared for next week. There’s just this last week now to work on some details and try to carry tonight forward into the season.”