It’s back to USL Championship action as the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC host league newcomers New Mexico United at Weidner Field on Saturday evening. The first 500 fans will receive a free vuvuzela, courtesy of General Dynamics. Saturday’s match between New Mexico United and the Switchbacks also counts towards the first ever Four Corners Cup.
The Switchbacks moved on in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Wednesday night after defeating FC Denver 1-0 at Weidner Field behind a late first-half goal from Kwasi Donsu. “I feel good after the goal,” said a beaming Donsu. “We played a lot of matches and didn’t score. We talked a lot that we have to win games and I knew today I had to score. At the end of the day I scored my first goal for the Switchbacks! I’m very happy and thankful that I could score and that we won the game.”
“We got a good goal and we got a win; that’s what we needed,” said Jordan Schweitzer immediately following Wednesday’s win. “We’ve got to take the positives from this and move forward. Personally, I’m very happy for Donsu – really glad he got the goal and I’m really excited to move forward in the Open Cup.”
“It’s always a goal at the beginning of the season for us to go as far as we can in the Open Cup,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Steve Trittschuh before saluting the young faces that impressed against FC Denver. “These first games are always tough because teams come in with a lot of energy. It wasn’t an easy game at all – Denver were direct and it was hard to break them down. It’s a good win and should give us confidence going into the weekend. I was very glad to get some of the kids in the game. Logan [Dorsey] and Brandon [Farmelo] did really well. And Alejandro Padilla came in after graduating today – he came straight over from graduating at Pine Creek High School and he helped us finish the game out.”
Wednesday night saw New Mexico United defeat Phoenix Rising FC 4-3 on penalty kicks to set up a third round showdown in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against the Switchbacks at Weidner Field on May 29th. Spanish striker Santi Moar will be suspended for this Saturday’s match at Weidner Field after New Mexico United’s joint leading scorer was sent off last weekend against El Paso Locomotive FC. Moar is tied atop New Mexico’s goal-charts with Jamaican Kevaughn Frater. Frater spent the 2017 USL campaign with the Switchbacks, before making his way to Albuquerque after spending a season with Phoenix Rising FC.
Josh Suggs, who captained the Switchbacks last season, will lead New Mexico United into Weidner Field, as the Las Cruces native has been handed the armband in The 505 by Head Coach Troy Lesesne. Suggs captained New Mexico United last weekend in the fast and furious 2-2 draw with El Paso Locomotive FC in far west Texas. New Mexico have lost just once in their inaugural USL Championship season, and have scored eight goals in their last three league matches. Suggs made an instant impact as a substitute for New Mexico United on Wednesday by assisting Devon Sandoval with his first touch of the match.
Another former member of the Switchbacks, midfielder Sam Hamilton, was named on the USL Championship Team of the Week bench after his performance and goal against the El Paso Locomotive FC on Mother’s Day. Hamilton latched onto a delicious cross from Manny Padilla to nod New Mexico United level in first half stoppage time at Southwest University Park.
“New Mexico are a good team – their position in the league shows that,” said Trittschuh as the Switchbacks coaching staff huddled to watch New Mexico United’s U.S. Open Cup extra-time win against Phoenix Rising. “I worry about the guys who are here and who wanted to be with this group; not on those who left. They chose to leave and our focus as we prepare will be on the entire New Mexico team. New Mexico play with a lot of movement up front and they’re dangerous. We’ve got to get to a point where we win our games on our home field and we’ll take what we did against Denver into the weekend.”
The Switchbacks will not head to the Land of Enchantment and Isotopes Park to face New Mexico United until September 14th. Following Saturday’s match the Switchbacks will make their way east to face the Oklahoma City Energy FC next Saturday at Taft Stadium. The Switchbacks will return to Weidner Field on June 1st as they host Fresno FC, with Pikes Peak Brewing Company sponsoring a free cap giveaway for the first 1,000 fans.