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Switchbacks Head to Face Rapids in Open Cup

By sbadmin, 06/14/16, 8:00PM MDT

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Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC will return to Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on Tuesday night for the Fourth Round of the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with an eye on redemption in their rematch with the Colorado Rapids.

The MLS side took a 4-1 victory in the matchup between the two teams in last season’s competition, but this year’s Switchbacks side has shown positive signs of growth this season, with its second-place position in the USL’s Western Conference.

While the Rapids have also seen a massive turnaround since last year, going from the bottom of the MLS Western Conference at the end of the 2015 season to top spot in 2016, Switchbacks defender Josh Suggs is hopeful the side can put in a good showing.

“It’s a good opportunity for us to show what we can do against the top team in the MLS,” defender Josh Suggs told the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Joe Paisley. “We want to put in a good showing for ourselves and for the franchise.”

Suggs has been one of the new additions that have improved the Switchbacks this season, with the club’s defense one of the best in the USL. Colorado Springs has conceded only seven goals in 11 league games this season, and also recorded shutouts in each of its first two contests in the Open Cup.

That will definitely be tested by the Rapids, who are 6-0-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park this season in the league. While the side will be without U.S. international Jermaine Jones and Albanian international Shkelzen Gashi, Coach Pablo Mastroeni said on Monday the side was aiming to approach the game the same way as a regular league contest.

“The focus for us this year has been on how do we continue to improve as a team,” Mastroeni told ColoradoRapids.com. “How we continue to improve in those little areas we feel we’re deficient in, how we approach the game from a mentality standpoint, and understanding that this team is the best team in the USL. They’re going to come out hungry, and they play a good brand [of soccer], so it’s going to be important for us to really match that intensity early and try to impose ourselves on the game as much as we can.”