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Vargish Preview: Switchbacks Take On Los Dos in Sunny LA

By Roland Vargish, 06/09/16, 12:00PM MDT

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Top of the USL’s Western Conference and unbeaten in over a month, the Colorado Springs Switchbacks look to start a difficult two-game road trip with a victory on Saturday night against the Los Angeles Galaxy II in Carson, California. May 4 th saw the Switchbacks travel to the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium in California, where the Galaxy II handed the Switchbacks a 3-2 defeat.

Since the loss to Los Dos, the Switchbacks have won four times and tied once in the USL, outscoring their opponents 10-2. “We’re a different and better team now so we don’t even think about the loss in Los Angeles,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Steve Trittschuh. “Our guys are always excited to go there and play. We look at the game as a rivalry…we’re playing well and they are too so we’re excited for the challenge.”

The Galaxy II currently sit in third place in the Western Conference, with Los Dos having already played thirteen matches – three more than the Switchbacks.

After defeating the Switchbacks in California, the Galaxy II lost back-to- back games against Sacramento Republic FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2. Road draws against both the Seattle Sounders FC 2 and Sacramento Republic FC came either side of an impressive 4-1 win against Arizona United SC at the Track and Field Stadium on May 28 th.

With 11 goals in 12 games for the Galaxy II this season, Los Dos striker Jack McBean is proving to be one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the USL. McBean notched a hat trick in the 3-2 victory against the Switchbacks on May 4 th , before two goals and an assist helped power Los Dos to the aforementioned 4-1 victory against Arizona United.

“L.A. are a really good team. McBean is a good player and is very dangerous so we need to stay aware,” said Steve Trittschuh. “We’ve got to be confident defensively and come to play, especially as we usually play well there in L.A. This is a game where if we want to be a top USL team we need to show it and go out and do it and win.”

A suffocating defensive performance and two expertly taken goals saw the Switchbacks defeat Saint Louis FC 2-0 on June 4 th at Switchbacks Stadium in Colorado Springs. Switchbacks midfielder Rony Argueta was named a starter on the USL Team of the Week after his performance against Saint Louis FC, while Switchbacks winger Miguel Gonzalez made the bench. Gonzalez scored the second goal against Saint Louis FC, as he was able to find the net from an impossibly acute angle and seal three points for the Switchbacks.

“It feels nice and it’s kind of a nice reward, but it was a team effort,” said Argueta when asked about his Team of the Week accolade. “We have a collective here that does it all and the team always deserves the credit. We’ve been working well as a team and the results have shown that.”

“It’s a small honor to have it,” said Gonzalez on making the Team of the Week bench. “It motivates me and shows I’m doing well and that somebody’s watching. We had a tough game in L.A. just a few weeks ago but that doesn’t change too much for this weekend. We need to play our game and watch out for their good players. There’s some good momentum for us going into the game. We’ve got a good game plan so now we have to go out and execute it.”

Jose Villareal is a dangerous attacking threat for the Galaxy II, with the Inglewood, California native coming off a performance that included a goal and an assist against Sacramento Republic last Saturday. Midfielder Alejandro Covarrubias is a tireless worker who acts as the link between defense and attack, while Ryo Fujii has provided a recent goal-bump for the Galaxy II after scoring twice in the win against Arizona United.

“I expect a quality opponent and a tough game against Los Angeles,” said Switchbacks captain Luke Vercollone. “They’ll come out firing against us and they’ve got really good players that can hurt us, but we’re concerned with what we do. If we play our defensive game we’ll get the result.”

“L.A. has got a lot of talent up top that we have to deal with and they play a good brand of soccer,” warned Switchbacks right back Jordan Burt. “This will be a great challenge for us to go there and get three points. We don’t know who they’ll bring down [from MLS’ Galaxy] and who will play so we focus on our soccer; if we can do that the result will take care of itself for us.”

Preparation is always altered for matches against USL teams who are direct MLS affiliates, with the Galaxy II having a well-stocked pool from which to choose their game-day rosters. “Whoever the Galaxy II bring they’ll play the same way,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Steve Trittschuh. “It’s up to us to come out and stay tactically sound and put on a good show. We’re a better team now than the last time we played in L.A. and we need and want to win this game because a win would be a big result for us.”

The Switchbacks have moved into second place in the USL’s Power Rankings after their performance in defeating Saint Louis FC, while the Galaxy II fell down one spot into seventh. A win for the Switchbacks in Los Angeles would send the visitors four points clear of Los Dos while having still played three fewer matches.

“We really want the win in L.A. and we’re all very confident with the run we’re on,” said Switchbacks central defender Christian Ibeagha. “They’re a tough team and it’s hard to play well there. We need to be organized defensively and attack on offense. I favor our chances going into Saturday.”

Davy Armstrong, drafted into the starting XI last week against Saint Louis FC as Switchbacks captain Luke Vercollone missed out, was excited at the prospect of facing a strong L.A. Galaxy II team. “They always come to play so we’ve got to be mentally turned on,” said Armstrong. “If we’re organized and with good communication we will be ok. We’ve been very good defensively recently so we’ve got to continue that in L.A.”

Despite being asked about his inclusion on the USL’s Team of the Week squad, Rony Argueta’s focus was squarely set on Saturday’s opponents. “They’re a very good team on the ball. They pass and move well, so we need to stay compact and be aggressive. If we can limit their time on the ball we’ll be in good shape,” said the midfielder from Costa Mesa, California. “I’m excited to go home once again and see my family and play in front of them…but our focus as a team is on a very tough opponent.”

“They’re an organized team and they have some great individual quality. They’ll be up for it and we’ll give them a good game,” said Switchbacks midfielder Jacob Cawsey. “We have to make sure we match their intensity levels and focus on our game. We’ve played well lately so if we keep that rolling we’ll only go on to bigger and better things in this league.”