Top of the Western Conference, the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC welcome Indy Eleven to Weidner Field in downtown Colorado Springs on Saturday evening. Tickets are available HERE, with gates opening at 6pm and the first 2,000 fans receiving a Switchbacks rally towel, courtesy of Sunbelt Rentals.
The Switchbacks return to Southern Colorado after winning 3-1 against the Los Angeles Galaxy II last Saturday evening in Carson, California. Matt Mahoney, Cam Lindley and Michee Ngalina were all named to the USL Championship Team of the Week after last weekend’s victory in SoCal.
Indy Eleven are 6-4-2 in 2022 under Head Coach Mark Lowry and will arrive rested in Colorado Springs having not played since a 1-1 draw with The Miami FC on June 8 th . Multiple names on Indy’s roster will ring familiar to Switchbacks fans, with players like Mechack Jérôme, Solomon Asante, A. J. Cochran and Bryam Rebellón all having moved to Indianapolis after previously starring elsewhere in the USL Championship.
What the Switchbacks Say:
Midfielder Zach Zandi: “It was a great team win [against the Los Angeles Galaxy II]. We started a little flat, but we got the energy later in the game and got our press right, so it was a good performance overall. We’re looking forward to a quality performance and we’ve got this weekend to have the opportunity to do that. [This week] is about focusing on ourselves, working on what we’re good at, seeing what [Indy Eleven] can do, [and] really just focusing on ourselves and getting ready for the game.”
Switchbacks Head Coach and General Manager Brendan Burke: “It’s good to be at home, obviously, and we’re hoping for a big crowd and good energy in the building this weekend. There wasn’t much energy in the building in LA, so we really had to make sure that we brought that ourselves – and we did. It took us a while to get going, but we did, and I credited the guys after the game with a really professional performance. We’re 10-2, having played seven games on the road – that’s remarkable. We’re gradually getting our group back – KB [Kharlton Belmar] we have back [from international duty with Grenada], Triston [Hodge] we’re looking forward to getting back [from international duty with Trinidad and Tobago], so I wouldn’t say we’re at 100%, but we’re probably at about 75 or 80% right now. “[Indy Eleven] have one of the biggest budgets in the league. They certainly have a lot of firepower in terms of player for player. A lot of experience comes with that as well. They’re a big, big franchise in the East and they expect to be in the Eastern Conference Final every year.”
Indy Eleven Ones to Watch: “[Stéfano Pinho] has found his form,” said Brendan Burke. “He was a really good player in the NASL, and even when he went through a little dry spell in Austin [with Austin Bold FC]. I think he’s found his form again, and that’s dangerous because he’s big- bodied, he can run, and he can finish with both feet. I think we have to look at the fact that they’ll play two forwards, so that makes them dangerous on the counter and also in crossing situations. They have some good players coming off international experience in [Neveal] Hackshaw and [Noah] Powder [both with Trinidad and Tobago] down the left side, and who also have the versatility to play in the middle. On any given day they have a really high level of
talent on their roster.”
Vargish’s View: The recent CONCACAF Nations League and qualification matches for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations have caused a lot of disruption in the USL Championship, with the Switchbacks seeing Kharlton Belmar and Triston Hodge called away from Colorado Springs. Indy Eleven had four players represent their respective countries. Those absences, coupled with the fact that Indy have found themselves with the luxury of a week-and-a half break since their last match, could lead to a disjointed beginning to Saturday’s match for the visitors.
Last weekend’s win in LA showed just how devastating the Switchbacks can be going forward, and they need to pounce early against an Indy Eleven team that’s laden with talent and looking for a breakout win.