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Stoppage-Time Goal Earns Colorado Springs Switchbacks a Thrilling Win at Weidner Field

By Cody Costra, 10/16/21, 10:15PM MDT

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Colorado Springs, CO (Octover 16, 2021) – The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC won 1-0 over Rio Grande Valley FC in a thrilling home finale at Weidner Field behind a stoppage time winner from Thomas Amang in front of a sold-out crowd.

Few chances were created in the first half with Rio Grande Valley's best chance being a deflected shot that Switchbacks goalkeeper Sean Melvin caught the ball to make the save. The Switchbacks best chance fell to Deshane Beckford as he got behind the back line and put his shot into the back of the net, but he was judged to be offside.

RGV's best opportunity of the game came in the 55th minute as Kyle Edwards chipped Melvin from inside the box but Sebastian Anderson recovered to make an acrobatic clearance off the goal line.

The Switchbacks grew into the game as it went on with Hadji Barry looking for his record breaking goal but his low shot was tipped wide of the left post by RGV goalkeeper Tyler Deric.

Looking for a late winner, Brendan Burke subbed on Thomas Amang for Andre Lewis in the 77th minute as Amang was making his first appearance coming back from injury. In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Zach Zandi's pressure forced a turnover that Hadji Barry collected and nutmegged the first defender. Barry picked up his head and found Amang at the top of the penalty area as the Cameroonian forward hit a powerful low shot underneath the goalkeeper and into the back of the net to earn three big points for the Switchbacks.

The Switchbacks are on the road for the final two games of the season starting with a trip to Utah to face the Real Monarchs SLC on October 22nd and back to Texas to face San Antonio FC on October 30th.


Post-Game Quotes

 
Brendan Burke - Head Coach

Overall thoughts on the game
"I'm ecstatic, just really happy for the players. They dug and they kept playing the right way, and we kept the ball, we kept possession, we pulled them apart. They were difficult to break down but that’s been our group all year, it's been next man up, and you look at guys fighting injuries - Dillon (Serna) over the course of an entire season fights back from a really severe injury, and now has played a huge part in our playoff push these last couple of weeks. Zandi fighting back from a couple weeks out and Amang being the most poignant one because that was his first fifteen minutes in four or five games and he scores the game winner on the last home game of the season in front of a sell-out crowd. We have a lot of weapons, we have a lot of good guys, and we have a very happy energetic locker room. As a boss, as a coach, that’s the biggest thing, that’s the only thing you can ask for. If you have a good environment then good things will happen."

On what the team discussed at half to create momentum for the second half:
"We talked about duels at halftime. We were losing duels almost 60-40, which is not part of our DNA. We understand at this club that part of being a professional at this level is you have to show up and fight first and foremost, and if you're losing duels and you're losing physical confrontations, the games going to be hard for you, so you have to fight first and then earn the right to play. I think we did a much better job of that in the second half and we really stamped our authority on the flow of the game in the second half." 

On Zandi and Amang returning to the field and the effect it has on the team:
"Well we've have young guys step up – Yaya [Toure] started a string of games for us at 17 years old, and [Darren] Yappi played a part at 16 years old, so we have guys that are just getting started with their careers - but our locker room also recognizes that guys like Zandi and Amang have a different level right now at this point in their career, their getting near their prime. Amang is still very young, but I would still feel comfortable saying that because he has so much pop going forward. The other guys in the locker room recognize that so when you get them back healthy and start to put them on the field it gives everyone an emotional boost, like, we have even more pop now. So it was great to have both of those two on the field tonight, and you can expect to see a whole lot more of them over the next few weeks." 


Sebastian Anderson: 

On his impressive goal clearance in the first half:
"I saw one of our defenders was one on one down there, we got a little bit broken down, so I knew that I just had to bust it to get back there. Seany [Sean Melvin] did well to come out and close down the space and it only really left him with the option to chip it, and luckily it gave me a little bit of time to get back there and clear it out of there."

 

On the strength of the team and defensive line to pull out another clean sheet:
"Kudos to all the defenders, all the midfielders out there, and even the forwards that did their tracking back and their help defensively – it's just a team effort. We defended as a unit and we defended as a block and ultimately it couldn’t get broken down, and kudos to everyone tonight for being on top of that."



Thomas Amang:

On the change in mentality and strategy from first half into the second:
"The first half we had the ball but we couldn’t create much because they were sitting back, so it was hard to find the space to try to play between them. I think the second half, ten to fifteen minutes into the half, it was more open and we were able to find that moment when it was open and use that opportunity to score a goal." 

On his game winning goal against RGV: 
"I think it's just amazing because we didn’t expect that. So I just took the chance that I had, the first chance I had during the game, and I just put it inside. This is just our teamwork though and I appreciate the assist form Hadji [Barry]. So now we just need to think about the next few weeks - we just have to go again and get the positive- result because the most important thing for us right now is that second place spot and we're going to fight for it until the end." 

Game Statistics

  • Man of the Match// Thomas Amang
  • Scoring Summary// COS: Amang (90+4') | RGV: None
  • Saves// COS: Melvin (2) | RGV: Deric (1)
  • Discipline// COS: YC: Torres (28'), Makangila (45+1') | RGV: YC: Ycaza (82'), Flores (89'), Lopez (90+6')