It’s Super Hero Night at Weidner Field this Saturday evening as the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros visit Colorado Springs for the second time in the 2018 USL season. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a Switchbacks tucker hat, courtesy of Kaiser Permanente.
On April 7th, the Switchbacks defeated the RGV FC Toros 2-1 at Weidner Field behind goals from team captain Josh Suggs and a penalty kick by Jordan Burt.
“I think this will be a different game – it’s a later time in the season and they’re a much different team from when they were last here,” said Suggs. “It helps us to have had this time recently because we’ve focused on RGV for two weeks now and it’s good to have had a bit of a rest. And it’s great to be home – we have to take advantage of the next two being here.”
Rio Grande Valley will arrive in Colorado Springs full of confidence after a gritty 2-1 win over the second-place Real Monarchs of Salt Lake City on Saturday evening at H-E-B Park in Edinburg, Texas. Striker Aldo Quintanilla opened the scoring for the hosts in the 71st minute after smartly turning in a Todd Wharton corner kick. RGV skipper Wharton won the game for the Toros in the 77th minute after Real Monarchs goalkeeper Jake Leeker misplayed Wharton’s right-footed free kick. Wharton was named as a substitute on the USL Team of the Week after his performance last weekend, and will lead his team into Colorado Springs as the Toros are fast running out of time to collect enough points to make the 2018 USL playoffs.
“RGV beat the Monarchs – that was a good win – and they’ll be ready and they’ll be fighting us to get a win here,” said Switchbacks Head Coach Steve Trittshuch. “It’s going to be an attacking game – I’m sure of that. We’ve got to play smart and play our brand of up-tempo game that we do at home. We need to push the game. The guys understand what we need to do and how we have to go after RGV. We’ve got to push the game on both sides of the ball and that will get us some wins. It’s not been the most favorable schedule for us, but we have to take care of these next two here at home.”
Saturday could see a return to the Switchbacks’ lineup for winger Shane Malcolm and midfielder Sam Hamilton. Malcolm has returned to Colorado Springs after being called into the Guam National Team, while Hamilton was named as a substitute for the Colorado Rapids of Major League Soccer in a friendly against the Tulsa Roughnecks FC of the USL at AutoZone Park in Memphis, Tennessee on September 1st.
“Shane’s back, and Mason [Toye] is with us almost full-time now, and we’ll go after RGV a lot differently than how we played in LA,” said Trittschuh. “We’ll be much more attacking and we’ll come up with an attacking and balanced game plan for Saturday. Sam [Hamilton] will be back with us. We know what we have to do on Saturday. We have to win our last five games. We’ve put ourselves in this hole and we have got to get ourselves out. We’ve got to win and that starts with our next two here at home.”
“I’m excited to be back at Weidner Field for our last two home games,” said Shame Malcolm on Monday afternoon at the Pride Soccer facility in eastern Colorado Springs. “Hopefully we get six points – we have a better record at home and that’s important for us. We need the 12th man and the extra motivation that gives us as we make our push towards getting into the playoffs.”
Jesús Enriquez is tied with Aldo Quintanilla on five goals to lead the RGV FC Toros, with the aforementioned Wharton having scored four times. Quintanilla also heads RGV’s stat-sheet in assists. Tyler Deric, who is on-loan from the Major League Soccer parent club of RGV FC, the Houston Dynamo, started in net for RGV in Saturday’s win over the Monarchs. Usual number one Nico Corti took a place on Toros’ bench.
The Switchbacks have not played since a 3-1 loss at the StubHub Center Track and Field Stadium in Carson, California on September 1st. Mason Toye, who is on-loan with the Switchbacks from Minnesota United, scored in the 11th minute, but the Switchbacks eventually fell to a Los Dos side that was propelled by a brace from Costa Rica-born striker Ariel Lassiter.
An emotional, world-class 87th minute winner from Jamaican winger Saeed Robinson gave the Switchbacks a priceless 1-0 win in their last match at Weidner Field on August 29th against the Real Monarchs of Salt Lake City. The goal helped earn Robinson a place on the USL Team of the Week, and his strike was a nominee for USL Goal of the Week.
“This weekend is a new game and we’re looking forward to it,” said midfielder Luke Vercollone. “It’s time to take it to RGV and run all over ‘em. Our home field will help us get back to our game – it always does. We’ve had really good training sessions the last few days and we’re living the dream career. We need to win this weekend and we can’t complain about the schedule now – we’ve had good preparation for this one. I’m feeling very confident; we’ve got a good result coming this weekend.”
September 22nd will see the final 2018 USL regular season home game at Weidner Field for the Switchbacks as they welcome Phoenix Rising FC on Margaritaville Night. $3 margaritas will be available all night long for fans 21+, and the Switchbacks will be wearing special Margaritaville warm-up jerseys before the match. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a hat, courtesy of the Switchbacks’ kit manufacturer, Capelli Sport. And a post-match fireworks display will follow the final whistle.