After back-to-back wins in the USL Championship, the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC head south to the Texas – Mexico border this Saturday to take on the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros at H-E-B Park in Edinburg.
Goals from Jordan Burt, Ish Jome, and 16-year-old debutant Logan Dorsey saw the Switchbacks run away as 3-0 winners at Weidner Field last Saturday against the Tacoma Defiance in one of the Switchbacks’ most complete performances of 2019.
Ish Jome was named to his second-straight USL Championship Team of the Week after his showing against the Tacoma Defiance. Jome scored a fine third goal for the Switchbacks just before full-time after a pin-point through-ball from Mike Seth.
“Again, it’s good to be recognized by the league,” said Jome on Thursday morning at Weidner Field. “We’ve got to keep up our team performances because that’s how individuals get recognized. Going to RGV and dealing with the conditions there is a mental thing. We’re coming from altitude, so that will help, but the heat will be a factor. If we pace ourselves we should be fine and we’re looking forward to Saturday.”
“It’s good for Ish,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Steve Trittschuh. “I’ve told the guys from day one that if we have success as a team, the players will get individual awards. All in all, the guys stepped up. It was a good team effort against Tacoma and we’ve got to keep doing that. We let Tacoma play too much early – we were a bit flat in the first half, so we’ve got to come out and be ready and play with the right attitude this weekend.”
Conditions on Saturday in Edinburg will be hovering around triple digits, with precipitation as unlikely as a mid-game UFO sighting. “I’m looking forward to it,” said Switchbacks captain Jordan Burt. “It’s an amazing field that’s really good to play on. Both teams will have to deal with the heat – we are just focused on what we do best and getting another win.”
“I really like playing there,” said Saeed Robinson. “We need to make sure we come out with a positive result. It’s one of the best fields in the league. We’ve had time as a team to prepare and that definitely helps us…now let’s go and get this win, because we need it.”
Head Coach Gerson Echeverry’s RGV FC Toros are led in attack by the always-dangerous Belizean Michael Salazar. Salazar and Panamanian hitman Carlos Small have combined to score 13 goals in the 2019 USL Championship, with both players having appeared for their respective national teams. Small scored twice for the Toros in a 5-3 loss last Saturday against the Real Monarchs of Salt Lake City at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah, after having entered the contest as a 74th minute substitute. Salazar had opened the scoring for RGV FC on the hour mark with a crisp back-post header after a whipped left-footed ball from Robert Coronado.
“They’re a good passing team and they have a lot of players with good soccer intelligence,” said Trittschuh. “Salazar played the other night for the Houston Dynamo and they’re off this weekend so we don’t know who will play for RGV yet. Carlos Small is a strong, quick and dynamic player. They’re a good, organized team and they pass the ball really well so we can’t be opened up by that early. It’s not going to be an easy game and we’ve got to have a good start. They’ve given up seven goals in their last two games, so we need a good start. We’ve worked all week on our defensive shape because that’s what we’ve been focused on in the last few games, and it’s been great to have that time to work together and prepare.”
Three goalkeepers have four or more appearances for the Toros in 2019, as Michael Nelson, Nicolas Corti, and Tyler Deric have joined Ben Willis in seeing time between the sticks during this USL Championship season. Nelson was in net for RGV’s 5-3 loss in Utah on Saturday, with the former Southern Methodist University Mustang on-loan with RGV from their Major League Soccer parent club, Houston Dynamo.
Switchbacks ‘keeper Andre Rawls has kept a clean sheet in two straight matches, producing numerous saves in each before the Switchbacks eventually found a goal. “Goalkeepers love to take credit, but the defense did most of the work keeping Tacoma at bay last weekend,” said Rawls. “It’s going to be a tough game against RGV, but we’ve got a good mentality right now and it will be a good challenge. We need to read the game and take it as it goes and be ready for everything.”
The Switchbacks and Toros will renew their rivalry on August 10th at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs on Back to School Night, with a backpack giveaway for the first 500 fans courtesy of GE Johnson.
On June 22nd, the Switchbacks will be back at Weidner Field to host the Real Monarchs of Salt Lake City with Colorado Technical University sponsoring both a pre-game T shirt giveaway for the first 500 fans and a post-match fireworks display.