The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC travel west to the Rose City this Father’s Day in search of a priceless three points against the high-flying Portland Timbers 2. T2 sit in second place in the USL’s Western Conference at the time of writing, with the Switchbacks just outside the playoff picture having fallen 1-0 to the Swope Park Rangers on Saturday at Weidner Field.
“Portland are in second – they must be doing something right up there,” said winger Saeed Robinson. “I don’t know if they’ll bring the same team for our game because they play this week, but they’ll be confident because they got a good result and a clean sheet against us. We need a result from this game. We need to fix things so we can be in the playoff race. If we keep losing we’ll keep digging a hole for ourselves and soon we won’t be able to get out of it.”
The Switchbacks fell 1-0 to the Timbers 2 at Weidner Field on March 24th as Sierra Leonean striker Augustine Williams gave T2 all three points with an 82nd minute strike. T2 face the Oklahoma City Energy FC at Providence Park in downtown Portland on Wednesday evening. Sunday’s match against the Switchbacks will take place at Merlo Field on the campus of the University of Portland.
“We are still searching for a goal-scorer,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Steve Trittschuh. “Our defense is playing well and they did again last weekend. The final product isn’t there. I thought [Karsten] Hanlin did well coming in for us. And we’ll have Sam [Hamilton] this weekend. He’s a big player when he’s around…We just have to keep plugging away. Marty [Maybin] will get a shot this weekend. We’ve got to see where the quality is going to come from in front of goal. The chances are there but not the end product. I told the players at the start of the week that I’m searching for the players with desire to win and score goals. They know that every position is up for grabs. The tempo and the competitive nature of the guys has been up so far this week and that’s what we need.”
Maybin returns to contention for the Switchbacks after the striker served a one-match suspension in the 1-0 defeat to the Swope Park Rangers. “I’m glad to be back,” said the Northern Irishman. “I can’t wait to get some game time and be back out there with the boys. We’ve got to pick up points now in every game. They’re all must-win from now on. This weekend we’re going against a good side but it’s a massive opportunity for us to get out and play.”
Foster Langsdorf leads T2 in goals with 5, with Victor Arboleda and the aforementioned Augustine Williams tied with 4 goals. Former Switchbacks defender Josh Phillips was named to the USL’s Team of the Week after his game-winning goal in T2’s 1-0 victory over Rio Grande Valley FC last Saturday evening at H-E-B Park. “Portland are playing well,” said Trittschuh. “They have good new players, a new coach, and they’re doing really well. They brought in experienced guys to work alongside the younger ones they have and it’s working for them.”
The match against T2 will be the lone Sunday fixture for the Switchbacks in 2018, with Father’s Day carrying its own weight for different Switchbacks players. “Portland will be a good challenge – it’s always tough to play there,” said veteran Luke Vercollone. “We’ve got to move past the last couple results and be ready for a good challenge. And it’s always good motivation to play for something larger than yourself and I think about that all the time with my family. Two years ago on Father’s Day I had two goals in Vancouver and that’s a powerful reminder for me and something I’ll try to do again this Sunday.”
“Father’s Day is a very special day for me,” said Saeed Robinson. “My Dad taught me everything about soccer and he’s not here anymore. He never got to see me play professionally – the last game he saw was before I graduated from college. I’ll do my best to be out there and play with the right emotion for him. Sunday will be a good game. Portland are playing really well and we really need the win and a good game.”
Following Saturday’s game, the Switchbacks will return to Colorado Springs for three consecutive matches at Weidner Field starting with a June 23rd tilt against former Switchbacks captain Rony Argueta and Fresno FC. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a Switchbacks t-shirt, courtesy of Springs Automotive Group and there will be a fireworks display after the match.