On Tuesday evening the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC face off against San Antonio FC at Toyota Field in the Alamo City. The match will kick off at 6:30pm MT, with live coverage by the voice of the Switchbacks, Ryan Kaufman, beginning at 6pm on XTRA Sports1300 AM.
Leaders of the Western Conference, San Antonio are 20-5-4 in 2022 after tying New Mexico United 1-1 on Saturday at Toyota Field. On the same day, the Switchbacks fell 1-0 to the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas, in a match that saw both Michael Edwards and Jimmy Ockford forced off with first half injuries. Sebastian Anderson logged his first minutes of the season for the Switchbacks against RGV after signing on loan from the Colorado Rapids last Friday, while Macauley King came off the bench for his fifth appearance in 2022.
What the Switchbacks Say:
Switchbacks Head Coach and General Manager Brendan Burke: “We were flat in the first 15, 20 minutes [against RGV FC]. I just didn’t feel like we had enough intent to go [and] get a goal. When teams want to sit back it’s been a theme – which is a great sign of progress and a sign of respect, but we have to score first. Jimmy [Ockford] is back home – we sent him home, so hopefully he’s recovering well at this point – it was a bad one.
“Both of those guys [Sebastian Anderson and Macauley King] technically on the ball are phenomenal, so it will be really good to get them both going before the playoffs. I thought Macca in particular was excellent when he came into the game [on Saturday vs. RGV]. We’ve been a little cursed with injuries this year but we’re still in a great position [in the league], so if we can get all the right guys healthy before the playoff push, then I think we can do damage.”
Defender Matt Mahoney: “Seb is still young, but he’s had experience in this league for three years now and obviously we know Mac’s experience with El Paso [Locomotive] and he’s just been unlucky with injuries throughout the year. Getting those guys back is huge for us – not just for the experience, but for the morale of the group, and in terms of next-man-up mentality – which is where we’ve been all year. And especially now with our rough patch of the year where we played just a couple days ago, and play Tuesday, and then Saturday at home; so it’s huge to get guys back now.”
San Antonio Sneak Peak: “[San Antonio] are a very good team – they grind, they kick, and they grind,” said Brendan Burke. “They’re efficient; that’s the best way to put it. They’re not a very good soccer team, but they’re extremely efficient. They’re big, they’re physical, they’re fast, and they have a very clearly defined style of play and that’s what has put them at the top of the league this year. We’re looking forward to getting home on Saturday night [vs. Oakland Roots] and hopefully clinching a playoff spot in front of our home crowd.”
“We know what San Antonio are going to be,” said Matt Mahoney. “We’ve been waiting [since a 1-0 defeat to San Antonio on June 24th at Weidner Field] where [San Antonio] got out of there feeling a little lucky. We matched up well against them and had a couple chances, then were unlucky with me giving up the own goal. We know how [San Antonio] are going to play and we know what our strengths are compared to theirs. If we match them physically, then we think our ability will be able to take over. We want to try to keep the ball on the ground because we know how big [San Antonio] are, get our re-starts going quickly, prevent set-pieces in our own end – things like that. [San Antonio] are going to try to make it a tough, kind of dirty match because that leads to their advantages, so if we can try to avoid that and move the ball quick, then that will make it easier for us.”
Vargish’s View: San Antonio have the highest points total in the entire USL Championship for a reason…but it’s not the prettiest reason. They’re big, strong, hard-nosed, and play with a take-no-prisoners approach that has proven its worth all season. The Switchbacks are the antithesis of Tuesday’s hosts. When at their best, the Switchbacks are free-flowing, dynamic, and play the game with an enviable freedom.
There’s no pressure on the Switchbacks at Toyota Field. San Antonio are favored to win – and win off the back of a typically rugged performance that probably includes a set piece goal, ten-plus yellow cards, and about 20-minutes of the ball actually being in play. Tuesday is the perfect opportunity for the Switchbacks to throw all caution to the wind and just play. Relax and play.