Colorado Springs, CO (July 11, 2020) – The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC lost at home 2-1 to New Mexico United in the club's home opener at Weidner Field behind a late Chris Wehan goal.
Early in the first half, Christian Volesky got in behind the defense but he saw his shot deflected by a defender at the last second. However, it was the visitors that got on the board first as Sean Melvin denied Devon Sandoval on the initial shot. The ball rebounded 30 yards out to Saalih Muhammed who scored on a full volley directly into the back of the net.
The Switchbacks were determined to level the game before halftime as Uvaldo Luna fired a shot from distance that came back off the crossbar in first-half stoppage time. Moments later, Aidan Daniels unleashed a shot from distance that bounced off the left post and into the net to equalize before the break.
Switchbacks Winger, George Lebese, thought he gave the hosts the lead in the 79th minute but he was judged to be offside. Three minutes from full-time, Chris Wehan scored the winning goal for New Mexico United as he saw his shot go in the lower corner from a counter-attack.
"We felt like we had them. But in this game it doesn't mean anything until you score goals. Obviously, goals are everything. You can possess the ball, you can create opportunities, but unless you finish them, that's all that matters," said Switchbacks Head Coach, Alan Koch. "I felt momentum and energy was starting to shift to our side. We grew into the game more and more as the game went on. But when you sometimes get a little overzealous, you can get stretched and I think that's what happened tonight."
The Switchbacks will be on the road next to face the defending champions in the Real Monarchs SLC on Saturday, July 18 at Rio Tinto Stadium before returning to Weidner Field to take on Austin Bold on Sunday, July 26 with gates opening at 1pm.
Alan Koch - On his thoughts on the team's performance tonight: "We felt like we had them. But in this game it doesn't mean anything until you score goals. Obviously, goals are everything. You can possess the ball, you can create opportunities, but unless you finish them, that's all that matters. I felt momentum and energy was starting to shift to our side. We grew into the game more and more as the game went on. But when you sometimes get a little overzealous, you can get stretched and I think that's what happened tonight. Fair play to New Mexico, they're a good team. They've been together all of last year while we're a new group trying to change and turn things around. We're disappointed to lose, but we're going to stay true to what we're tyring to achieve."
On how much every game counts in a shortened season: "I think the result is bigger. And I think our result going to Oklahoma City in the first game was bigger because we're essentially playing a condensed schedule. Going in and getting three points on the road was a huge result. But also slipping up tonight was a disappointing result too. We're in a very short fight, we threw a punch in the first game and we got punched at the end tonight. We're going to have to reflect, learn, and grow."
Aidan Daniels - On his overall thoughts on the game: "It was tough. It's just the flow of the game. We had the momentum, we were dominating them and unfortunately, we weren't able to capitalize on some of our chances. We lose the ball in our zone two and they counter and score. They probably two or three opportunities in the second half and they scored one. We had five or six half chances and didn't convert. Ultimately, it comes down to execution and it's tough."
On playing a league game in front of fans again: "It's been blessing being back out here. The fans brought some energy, I wish we could've got a full house, but we really appreciate the fans that came out."
Jordan Burt - On his overall thoughts on tonight's performance: "We're disappointed. I'm interested to watch it back because we had some good moments but we also had some 'first game back after four months' moments. We had some sloppy mistakes that lead to their goals. Overall, there were a lot of positives but I think the fans can see that we can play. It's just putting it all together now."
On this Switchbacks team compared to teams in the past: "I've been here the whole time and this is the best team we've had, hands down. Just from a quality standpoint, I think once we put a full game together with bringing energy and closing guys down fast, we'll be a tough team to beat."