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Vargish's View: Canada Calls As Vancouver Visit Switchbacks FC

By Roland Vargish, 07/05/17, 9:15AM MDT

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Canada comes calling to Colorado Springs this Saturday as the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 take on the Switchbacks at Weidner Field.  The first 500 fans through the gates will receive the 4th section of the Switchbacks’ Poster Giveaway Series, courtesy of Kneaders Bakery & Café. 

The Switchbacks lost to WFC2 on May 14th, as goals from Marco Bustos, Gloire Amanda, and Chris Serban condemned Steve Trittschuh’s men to a 3-1 defeat at Thunderbird Stadium.  Sean McFarlane’s 88th-minute strike ruined WFC2 goalkeeper Sean Melvin’s clean sheet, and Melvin has since seen his time in net diminished by the play of Seattle native Spencer Richey. 

“We’ve got to go in on Saturday and battle,” said Switchbacks striker Jack Jones.  “Let’s go for retaliation.” 

Major League Soccer’s Vancouver Whitecaps are locked in a battle for the sixth and final playoff position in the Western Conference and will host New York City FC on Wednesday, July 5th at BC Place in Vancouver.  The Whitecaps started July with a 4-0 loss at the hands of the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, and will not return to MLS action after Wednesday’s match against NYCFC until a July 19th clash with the LA Galaxy.  The break in MLS play could potentially see any number of MLS regulars feature against the Switchbacks on Saturday at Weidner Field, with WFC2 Head Coach Rich Fagan looking to stop a four-match winless run for WFC2. 

“Once again, we face a team where we don’t know who they’ll bring,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Steve Trittschuh.  “The Whitecaps 2 have been struggling a little so we must get on them early and keep our focus for the entire 90 minutes.  We have to wait and see about Vancouver’s team – we just don’t know who’ll they’ll bring, but we’ll watch tomorrow [Wednesday] night when the Whitecaps play in MLS.” 

“They’re always a good side,” said right back Conner Bevans.  “We never know because of MLS just who will be here for them, but it doesn’t change our approach.  We expect a tough match, but it’s a winnable game.” 

Winnipeg native Marco Bustos leads WFC2 in scoring with 4 goals, while former Princeton University standout Thomas Sanner is second on the Whitecaps 2 stat-sheet having notched 3 goals in 2017.  Bustos’ lead at the top of WFC2’s scoring charts is all the more impressive considering the diminutive forward has only appeared in four matches in 2017 for WFC2.  Bustos has not featured for WFC2 since scoring the Whitecaps 2’s lone goal in a 2-1 loss at the hands of Phoenix Rising FC on June 10th in Arizona. 

Dutch center back and WFC2 captain Sem de Wit is arguably the first name on the Whitecaps 2’s team sheet and easily leads his team in minutes played, clearances, blocks, duels won, and aerial duels won.  Andy Thoma leads WFC2 in appearances with 15, with de Wit, Gloire Amanda, and Thomas Gardner all having appeared 13 times in 2017 for WFC2.  Tanzanian-born Amanda is often tagged as an impact substitute and is a player who demands attention from opposing defenders. 

A short turnaround awaits the Whitecaps FC 2 after their match in Colorado Springs, as WFC2 will make their way back to British Columbia for a midweek clash with the Swope Park Rangers at Thunderbird Stadium on Wednesday, July 12th. 

WFC2 lost to the Seattle Sounders FC 2 on July 1st at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley, British Columbia.  The Whitecaps FC 2 split their home games between the University of British Columbia’s Thunderbird Stadium and McLeod Athletic Park which is located about an hour to the southeast of downtown Vancouver. 

The Switchbacks also fell on July 1st, as a lone penalty kick from Rio Grande Valley FC Toros striker Rubén Luna was enough to take all three points from Weidner Field.  “We need to improve off the last game,” said midfielder Luke Vercollone.  “Saturday is a huge game for us.  I expect Vancouver to play to win and they’ll be up for it.  They beat us in the playoffs last season and they know it’s not easy to get a result in Colorado Springs.  They need a win like us and it’s a big game for both teams – but especially big for us after last week.” 

“The result last Saturday was disappointing because we started well, but we lost our focus on the so-called penalty,” said Trittschuh.  “We’ve got to maintain our concentration for 90 minutes.  It’s disappointing to lose at home, especially because anywhere else on the field that’s not a foul.  But we’ll have a good week to prepare and be ready to get back on track.” 

At the time of writing the Whitecaps FC 2 was stuck in 12th place in the USL’s Western Conference, while the Switchbacks are maintaining their playoff position in 7th.  Saturday’s match against the Whitecaps FC 2 will be the final meeting between Colorado Springs and Vancouver in 2017.  The Switchbacks will travel to the Valley of the Sun to face Phoenix Rising FC on July 15th at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex before heading to Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City for a match against the Energy FC on July 22nd.  A week later the Switchbacks will return to Weidner Field as they host the Seattle Sounders FC 2 on 90’s Night that includes a POGS giveaway, courtesy of Weidner Apartment Homes. 

Eight matches remain at Weidner Field in the 2017 USL regular season for the Switchbacks, who will be looking to put the disappointment of Saturday’s controversial loss behind them with a strong showing against WFC2.  

“Vancouver always gives us a good game,” said center back Josh Phillips after a midday Fourth of July practice.  “Last time for them here was the playoff loss so we know they’ll fight.  I think if we come with good energy at home we’ll do well.  They come from sea-level so that makes a difference, but really it doesn’t matter who they might bring to play against us – the game is about us and our focus and energy level.”

Tickets for Saturday's match vs Vancouver start at just $12 and are available here.

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