Rio Grande Valley FC visit Weidner Field to face the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC this Saturday on 2000’s Theme Night. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive the first part of the 2018 Poster Giveaway Series, courtesy of Kneaders Bakery & Café.
The Switchbacks return home after dropping back-to-back away games by 1-0. A loss at Toyota Stadium last Saturday against Saint Louis FC was followed on Wednesday with a defeat at Children’s Mercy Park against a talented Swope Park Rangers team.
“It was a long trip but we played well at times,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Steve Trittschuh. “We played well enough and created enough chances to have won these last couple of games. The guys understand what we’re trying to do. It was a bad goal to give away in Saint Louis – those are the things we need to clean up. All of the players need to step up. Saeed [Robinson] and AJ [Ajeakwa] are getting in good positions – same with Shane [Malcolm]. We don’t have a lot of options in some places now, but the guys are playing well and we need to find someone who has the hunger and desire to score. We’re defending really well and we have to start getting some breaks going forward.”
Rio Grande Valley FC have only played twice in the 2018 USL regular season. Their match against Reno 1868 FC was postponed after weather affected travel through Dallas. It will be made up in the morning of Wednesday, May 2nd at H-E-B Park. RGV have tied both of their home games this season.
Rio Grande Valley FC captain Todd Wharton was named a starter on the USL’s Team of the Week after scoring in RGV’s 2-2 draw against Sacramento Republic FC last Saturday evening at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas. Wharton, who had hit the woodwork earlier in the match, converted a 51st-minute penalty kick to give RGV the lead against the Republic FC. On March 16th RGV tied Saint Louis FC 1-1 at H-E-B Park in RGV’s home opener. Pablo Aguilar scored late for RGV before Saint Louis FC fought back to tie the match in the 82nd minute through a goal from Tony Walls.
“RGV are a newer team – they only have a few guys left from last season,” said Trittschuh. “They’ve had good moments this year. It’s only their third game with the postponement, so they’ll be fresh. We need to take more advantage from being at home. If we can use the altitude and bumpy surface to our advantage it will really help us. It’s great to be home and we need that energy against RGV.”
“They’re a young and talented team,” said AJ Ajeakwa when asked about Saturday’s visitors. “They can score goals and we have to play well. We’re really happy to be back home and we will figure this out. We just need to clean up a few little mistakes. When we fix those, we’ll be much happier. We’re really tough to beat we just need to find the goals and once it clicks for us I think we’ll be dangerous going forward.”
In addition to Wharton and Aguilar, RGV have attacking talent in the form of Jamaican Jorginho James. James scored RGV’s second goal against Sacramento Republic, and was a dangerous outlet for the Toros. Aldo Quintanilla has led RGV’s forward line well in 2018, and John Montano has an assist in the Toros’ young season.
“RGV are a good side,” said Marty Maybin. “But at this point, it’s more about fixing things ourselves and in our game. It’s important to bounce back and get a positive result. We’re at home so we really need to come out flying and play our best early. It’s important we start scoring goals and being at home should help. It’s really good to be back and hopefully it gives us a good mindset. We really wanted a couple of points from the away games but that’s behind us now and we move forward as a team starting with tomorrow.”
Switchbacks goalkeeper Moise Pouaty made his first start of the season on Wednesday in the narrow loss to the Swope Park Rangers. Pouaty made six saves against SPR and had key stops in the second half to keep the Switchbacks just a goal down.
After Saturday’s match the Switchbacks will head west for matches against Reno 1868 FC next Saturday, and Sacramento Republic FC on Wednesday, April 18th. “The month of April is crazy for us this season,” said Trittschuh. “We need to pick up three points soon because we’ve got another tough away stretch coming up. It’s great that we’re back for tomorrow – we’ll need playing here to help us against RGV. It’s a very important game for us.”
The Switchbacks will return to Weidner Field on April 21st when they face the Seattle Sounders FC 2 on 90’s Night with The Gazette newspaper sponsoring the second part of the 2018 Poster Giveaway Series. Tickets start at just $12 and are available here.