Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup action returns to Colorado Springs on Wednesday evening as the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC host FC Denver in a second round matchup at Weidner Field. Tickets are available HERE for just $5 while parking at Weidner Field is free.
FC Denver booked their place in the second round after defeating the Midland-Odessa Sockers FC of the National Premier Soccer League last Wednesday 2-1 at Grande Communications Stadium in Midland, Texas. Cesar Castillo gave FC Denver the lead just after the half hour mark, only for the match to be drawn level half an hour later through a Grant Mobley equalizer for the Sockers. Just before the end of regular time, FC Denver’s Kyle Crouse unleashed an unstoppable strike to earn FC Denver a place in Colorado Springs against the Switchbacks on Wednesday.
Jacob Peterson produced a solid display in the FC Denver net during the win over the Sockers FC, and will need to be on his toes against a Switchbacks team that’s looking for an offensive breakout to help propel their USL Championship campaign.
“FC Denver have some good players,” said Shane Malcolm. “They won their first Open Cup game and they’ll see this as a chance to test themselves versus a professional team. We’ll use this game to hopefully catapult our confidence. Hopefully a win on Wednesday will translate into our league play.”
“It’s going to be a hard game,” warned Saeed Robinson. “These teams always come and give their best. We just need to be professional.” Robinson will be suspended for Wednesday’s contest after being sent off in last year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against San Antonio FC. “I wish I was playing every game. I hate being out and being injured – I’m doing this because I love it and I’m working hard to be back soon.”
Alex Molano will also miss Wednesday’s contest, as the midfielder is cup-tied having already featured in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for Dallas Elite FC. “We’re down to ten healthy field players,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Steve Trittschuh. “Rony [Argueta] could maybe get through Wednesday, but we won’t chance him. We have really small numbers here now and there’s no help in sight. We’ll bring in more academy players from the Rapids to help us. We’re thin now, but we can’t make excuses. Guys who play on Wednesday should be able to get a result here. We’ve just got to put our heads down and get at it.”
The Switchbacks defeated FC Denver 3-2 in the same stage of last season’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup behind second half goals from Pascal Eboussi, Uriel Macias, and captain Jordan Burt.
“Our preparation has got to be about us,” said Trittschuh. “I know Denver will come in here on a high and fight and scrap to get a result. We have to play with good intelligence and keep to our game. We did well for 30 minutes in Vegas and we got out of our shape for the first goal. We’ve got to limit those things and be ready on Wednesday.”
The Switchbacks will return to Weidner Field on Saturday evening to host high-flying New Mexico United. General Dynamics will be sponsoring a vuvuzela giveaway for the first 500 fans through the gates for the match against New Mexico United, with the Switchbacks looking to post a vital win in the race for the inaugural Four Corners Cup.
“[FC] Denver will bring their best,” said Sam Raben about Wednesday’s opponents. “We need to make sure we stay confident and play our best game.”