The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC head to the San Joaquin Valley this Saturday evening as they face off against Fresno FC at Chukchansi Park in the USL Championship. Fresno, who have not lost in four games, are currently in third place in the 2019 USL Championship and are tied on points with second place Reno 1868 FC.
After wild, high-scoring draws at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs against the Portland Timbers 2 and Rio Grande Valley FC Toros respectively, the Switchbacks fell on the road last weekend in Sacramento. “Fresno are a good team,” said Switchbacks captain Jordan Burt. “I think right now we need to find how to take our game to the next level to get some results. It’s going to take everyone – we haven’t done well on the road and now we need to re-set during this week at home.” Burt scored the only goal of the match on June 1st as the Switchbacks defeated Fresno 1-0 at Weidner Field.
Switchbacks midfielder Rony Argueta will be returning to the fifth largest city in California, after spending the 2018 USL season with Fresno FC. “I’m excited to go back and see some familiar faces, but my focus is here and making sure that we are better every day,” said Argueta early Tuesday morning in Colorado Springs. “We have to continue to improve and if we take care of the details we’ll create and put away our chances. Fresno will keep doing what they have each game – they’ve changed a little over the season, but they’re another team that’s strong all around and they’ll push us and play the same way they always have where they look for the win at home.”
Fresno FC followed up back-to-back 2-1 wins with a hard-fought 1-1 draw with the Real Monarchs of Salt Lake City last Friday at Chukchansi Park. Jaime Chávez opened the scoring for Fresno FC, before Douglas Martinez tied the match for the Monarchs in the second half. Chávez is tied for Fresno’s lead in goals with Qudus Lawal and Jemal Johnson with each player having scored 7 times in 2019. Argentine Juan Pablo Caffa and Brazilian Jackson each have 5 assists this season.
“Fresno are playing much better,” said Switchbacks Interim Head Coach Wolde Harris. “They have a lot of weapons: [Qudus] Lawal and [Jaime] Chávez] are very dangerous. [Jemal] Johnson is a really good player. In their last game they changed their formation and we’ve seen they can play in a number of different ways. Fresno played a 3-4-3 and they have players that can change things around. [Juan Pablo] Caffa can make a lot of things happen for them. We have to be prepared and take responsibility for our performance; we’ll go forward and get a better look at Fresno this week.”
Saturday’s loss in Sacramento saw the Switchbacks total 18 shots and over 50% of possession against the Republic FC. “We’re going to look to improve and take our chances,” said Harris. ”We’re going to see how the week goes, but I know I’ll be looking for people to work and concentrate for the entire game. We have to take how we play at home on the road in terms of our confidence. It seems like we’re unsure of ourselves on the road. We’ve created chances and this weekend we have another challenge and opportunity to go on the road and play well.“
On August 31st the Switchbacks return to Weidner Field as they host Phoenix Rising FC on Free Underwear Night, with tickets available HERE. The first 1000 fans in attendance for the match against USL Championship Western Conference table toppers Phoenix Rising will receive free underwear, courtesy of Sheath.
Back Road Country Fest will return to Weidner Field on Sunday, October 6th, with Gone West featuring Colbie Caillat, James Barker Band, and Scotty McCreery all performing. Tickets for Back Road Country Fest are available HERE.
“We need to concentrate for the entire game and eliminate our mistakes,” said Saeed Robinson. “I don’t care if we have 1% possession: we need to score. We just need to come together as a team and keep communicating. That’s a hard place to play – even when I used to play in the PDL against them it was a difficult trip.”