The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC return to Weidner Field this Saturday evening as they host Sacramento Republic FC in a fight for a place in the 2018 USL Playoffs. The first 500 fans at Weidner Field will receive a premium bag and bottle giveaway, courtesy of Heat Depot Home Solutions.
Sacramento Republic FC sit in 4th place in the USL’s Western Conference at the time of writing, while the Switchbacks remain just inside the playoff cut line in 8th position. Sacramento Republic broke a four-match winless streak with a comprehensive 3-1 victory over the Swope Park Rangers on Tuesday evening at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City. Sacramento’s leading goal scorer and native of California’s capital city, striker Cameron Iwasa, bagged a brace against Fresno FC before Christian Eissele finished SPR off with Sacramento’s third.
Iwasa, one of the most dangerous goal threats in the USL, will assuredly be a marked man this Saturday if he is chosen by Sacramento Republic FC Head Coach Simon Elliot to start after logging 90 minutes in the aforementioned game against the Swope Park Rangers.
“Sacramento are going to come in here with confidence,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Steve Trittschuh. “They did well against a good Swope Park team so we know we’ve got to be ready for a solid team. They have really good depth. [Adam] Moffat didn’t play against Swope Park so he may play on Saturday. They’ve got good players. We can’t let [Cameron] Iwasa get behind us so we’ve got to read the game well and keep track of him. In Sacramento’s game against Salt Lake City [0-0 draw on July 7th] they were very direct because SLC weren’t pressing very high. Sacramento can change the way they play – that’s another reason they’re dangerous.”
“On Saturday, we will just try to stop their whole team – they have quality all around,” said Jordan Burt. “We have to come out flying. Sacramento looked good against Swope Park and we know they’ll come here looking to keep that going.”
“We expect to play against a good team on Saturday,” said Switchbacks captain Josh Suggs. “Iwasa is consistently good in this league. He scores goals. But we expect to win, especially at home.”
“I look at the big picture – not one player,” said goalkeeper Steward Ceus when asked about the dangers of Iwasa. “We know they have dangerous players but our goal is to make sure we have top guys on them and force them into tough positions where they don’t want to be. We’re expecting to play our game and make it a difficult environment for them. We need to force Sacramento to battle.”
Goalkeeper Moise Pouaty started last weekend as the Switchbacks fought back to tie the Oklahoma City Energy FC 1-1 at Taft Stadium in OKC, although Head Coach Steve Trittschuh confirmed that Steward Ceus will be chosen to face Sacramento Republic. “Stu will be back in. Last weekend we needed to keep Moise sharp – which he was. It was just to get Moise a game and keep him in tune with what’s going on.”
Sacramento Republic defeated the Switchbacks 2-1 at Papa Murphy’s Park on April 18th behind goals from Iwasa and Bulgarian forward Villyan Bijev. Bijev is one of the first names on Sacramento’s team sheet as the 25-year-old has logged almost 1,500 minutes in USL play in 2018. California native Josh Cohen is Sacramento’s undisputed number one and has kept six clean sheets this season behind a defense that’s marshalled by Shannon Gomez, Mitchell Taintor, and Justin Schmidt.
“We had a good start versus Sacramento earlier this season and we have to do that here on Saturday,” said Trittschuh. “It’s important we make sure that Sacramento know we’re here to play and that we play up tempo, especially in the first part of the game. Sam [Hamilton] and Kimmy [Kim Taeseong] will be training with us now to get back on track. Kimmy will be available on Saturday. There’s been an illness going through the team, and with injuries we’re down to just fourteen healthy out-field players.”
“There’s nothing we can do about being short on numbers – it’s just about managing our bodies,” said Burt. “We’ve got some guys coming back soon and we really need that. Only eleven play at the end of the day. We’ve got to take care of business.”
In addition to the returns of Hamilton and Kim Taeseong, the Switchbacks were boosted with the signing of Ghanaian striker Nicholas Amoako on Wednesday. Amoako will be available for Saturday’s match against Sacramento Republic after the Switchbacks received the necessary international clearance for Amoako on Wednesday.
Next Saturday, on Video Game Night at Weidner Field, the Switchbacks will host the Tulsa Roughnecks FC with the first 500 fans receiving the third part of the 2018 Poster Giveaway Series, courtesy of the Better Business Bureau.