Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, COLO (March 15, 2023) – The Colorado Springs Switchbacks earned their first win for the 2023 campaign tonight on the road as they took on El Paso Locomotive FC in a fight to the death finish that ended 2-1 in favor of the black and blue.
The team started off strong, earning the first goal of the night, and their first of the season, only two minutes into gameplay as #17 Jairo Henriquez blasted the ball into the top right corner of the net off a low cross from #99 Maalique Foster from the top of the box. They’d work hard the next forty five minutes to keep the lead, with several strong chances off of set pieces and two great saves by Switchbacks goalie #1 Christian Herrera as El Paso looked to convert a few free kicks. But despite a slightly lopsided possession rate (El Paso held 57% to Switchbacks’ 42%) the guys would be able to keep that score 1-0 going into the half.
El Paso would get their revenge, and in a mirror of the opening minutes of the match, #17 Ricardo Zacarias would get the equalizer for El Paso only two minutes into the second half as his shot bounces in off the side goal post to slide in behind Herrera. After that, the Switchbacks were forced to change up their game play, dropping the defensive position they held in the first forty five and fighting for the go ahead goal.
Henriquez would get a chance with a free kick in the opposing zone at minute 54, but El Paso would service that well and the shot would ultimately go wide of the post in the melee. El Paso picked up steam as well, and had several great chances that they couldn’t convert, including two back to back corner kicks that were deflected out by the Switchbacks defense. Shortly after, the ball saw the back of the net for the Switchbacks courtesy of Foster, but it was called offsides immediately. Several big substitutions by the Switchbacks in the last third of the match injected some much needed energy into their play, and #21 Wheeler was able to ruffle some feathers, winning the ball in a duel that gave #14 Duke Lacroix an opportunity for a breakaway that was ultimately deflected by El Paso goalie #1 Benny Diaz.
With three minutes of stoppage time, the match looked to be heading towards a draw, but in the final minute of play, a cross by #11 Deshane Beckford afforded one more breakaway to Lacroix that proved extremely fruitful as he raced to punch the ball into the bottom right corner of the net, earning the go ahead for Switchbacks, and ultimately their first win for 2023.
Tonight’s win also marks the first win for Stephen Hogan as Head Coach of the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. The team returns home to Weidner Field this weekend as they take on Hartford Athletic in their home opener Saturday March 18th with a 6 pm kickoff. Tickets to that match, and all other Switchbacks matches, can be found HERE.
Saves: COS: Herrera (5); ELP: Diaz (2)
Goals: COS: Henriquez (2′) (A: Foster), Lacroix (93′) (A: Beckford); ELP: Zacarias (48′)
Discipline: COS: YC: R. Williams (64′), Skundrich (90+2′); ELP: YC: Pavkovics (56′), Herrera (82′)