The Rocky Mountain Rivalry returns to Weidner Field on Saturday as the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC host the Real Monarchs SLC in a match presented by Sheath and AMPRO Insurance.
Last weekend the Switchbacks notched a deserved win against high-flying New Mexico United, courtesy of a stunning 48th minute strike from Luke Ferreira. “It felt great,” said Ferreira when asked about his goal. “For the most part we’ve been put in situations where we usually concede first – like we did in this last game – so to get a goal to put us ahead was nice. I put the team up, but it was only around the 50th minute so there was still a lot of work to be done in that game. I helped, but the boys went out and finished the job for everybody.”
“It was the winning goal, which is huge,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Alan Koch. “It was awesome and I’m very happy for Luke. But it’s also a little bit of a reward for our entire group in terms of what we’ve been trying to do in training and how we’re asking the guys to play. It’s a nice little reward to see the quality pass from Rony [Argueta] and a little bit of one-on-one qualitative skill from Aidan [Daniels] and then Luke having the presence to call him off and finish it. I was very happy for Luke, happy for the team with how the goal came about; but then of course to show the strength of character to, at times, grind it out and get the three points was a very positive day for all of us.”
Colorado Rapids Academy product Abe Rodriguez started in goal for the Switchbacks last weekend in the win over New Mexico United. “It meant a lot to win last Saturday,” said the 18-year-old shot-stopper. “We’re playing for our pride. It was a great win and it gives us momentum and we’re looking forward to getting another win on Saturday. From my angle, Luke’s goal was awesome – seeing that ball go in, I got excited as well and jumped up a few times. It was a great goal. It’s going to take everyone to get a result against the Monarchs, just like we did this past Saturday. We’ll continue to work together, play for each other, and I think if we do that we can get another win. This week is going to give us more time to prepare and focus. We’ve conceded a few goals when we’ve played them – we just need to make sure our defense is strong, solid and we all work together.”
2020 has been a difficult season for the reigning USL Championship winners, Real Monarchs SLC, who currently sit bottom of Group C. The Monarchs have dropped their past 3 matches, including a narrow 1-0 defeat in border country against the El Paso Locomotive on Saturday evening.
The Monarchs’ last win came on September 9th against the Switchbacks in Herriman, Utah. Saturday’s opponents played back-to-back matches in the USL Championship in mid-July, with the Real Monarchs emerging 2-1 winners at Weidner Field two weeks after the teams finished deadlocked 3-3 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
“We have three more days this week to prepare, and we’ll focus on both sides of the ball,” said Koch on Tuesday evening. “We focus on ourselves and on the opposition and we focus on both in and out of possession. We know it’s going to be a tough game – they’re a team that’s very much like us. They’re a team that are a couple moments away from having turned some of the losses to wins, and we feel like we’re in a very similar boat to them, so we know it’s going to be a tough challenge. The Monarchs have a lot of quality players and they’re going to be just as hungry as we are to get three points. We’re a very small group and with the limited movement because of the pandemic that can happen between the Rapids academy coming up and the Rapids first team coming down, what we have is what we have. We’re having to make the most of it but the positive byproduct of a small squad is that the players within the squad get opportunities, and they need to embrace those opportunities.”
“The Monarchs like to possess the ball, but we also like to have possession,” said Luke Ferreira. “It’s just managing their style and their wing-backs that they usually like to play with – it’s managing that threat they possess and to try to capitalize on their movement on the wings. There’s going to be opportunities in the midfield and in the channels so we have to take advantage of those moments. Football is about moments: they’re going to have their moments because we have weaknesses and they’re going to have their weaknesses, and the team that capitalizes the most is the one that’s going to win on Saturday.”
“We’ve been playing good football,” added Ferreira. “The style of play and the brand we’ve been playing lately has been some good football, so I think if we just continue to play the way we have been and keep that intensity it will always give us an opportunity to go out and get another three points in any game against any team. We know how the Monarchs play so we have to go out and do a job and do what Coach has planned for us and perform. We can’t have any moments where we let out guard down or lose focus so we give the Monarchs any opportunities to capitalize. Saturday is about going out, being sharp and focused and taking advantage of this win we just got against a really good team and use this confidence to go forward and show what we can do and show everyone that we can compete.”
The Switchbacks will conclude their 2020 home slate next Wednesday as the El Paso Locomotive visit Weidner Field in a match presented by Pikes Peak National Bank.