The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC defeated FC Tucson 2-0 in the Second Round of the US Open Cup on a brisk spring night at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs before a crowd of 1,472.
Switchbacks FC knew heading into their match that they had their work cut out for them. Coming
off a road defeat in USL league play the past weekend to Vancouver Whitecaps 2, and heading into a crucial road match up against Salt Lake City this weekend, Switchbacks Head Coach Steve Trittschuh knew that he would have some heavy legs on his team, and needed to rest some crucial starters. As expected, a lot of bench players saw game action, which could account for the slow start to the game, as each team tried to figure out where the other stood. Most notable of the changes was Switchbacks defender Sean McFarlane starting at center forward, who played remarkably well despite being lined up drastically out of position. While both sides took venturing stabs into the offensive third, neither side found themselves in any real danger. At the half the two teams went to the locker room knotted up 0-0.
The Switchbacks came out aggressively to start the second half and were immediately rewarded when Jun-Gyeong Park found the back of the net in the 46th minute. Fans barely had time to sit down after celebrating as Diego Gutierrez connected with Kevaughn Frater in the 48th minute to put the home side up 2-0.
“We came out running tonight. The offensive played well, and tonight we really played for each other,” Frater said.
FC Tucson didn’t cave however, as they quickly regrouped and continually applied pressure throughout the second half, including some near misses from Nico Salabarrieta, and Nic Harguindeguy late. Colorado Springs had several opportunities in transition as well, the best being a Jack Jones curler that was deftly parried by FC Tucson keeper Luis Barraza. In the end, FC Tucson could not solve the Switchbacks defense and Switchbacks keeper Dan “Stonewall” Jackson earned the first shutout of his pro career.
“FC Tucson brought a good fight,” former FC Tucson player and current Switchbacks defender Conner Bevans said. “We got off to a fast start in the second half and really took control.”
Added Trittschuh: “It was a good chance for guys who haven’t been playing to get some minutes and rest some of our regular starters. Now it’s onto the next round.”
The Switchbacks win means they will face Oklahoma City Energy FC in the Third Round on May 31 at Weidner Field. The two teams met earlier in league play at Weidner Field, a game that ended in a 1-1 tie.
FC Tucson starting XI; Barraza, Krutzen, Vasquez, Pineda, Hinkson, Perez, Polster, Berumen, Pinheiro, Solabarrieta, Schmitt. (SUB Harguinday 58”, Musovski 58”)
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC starting XI; Jackson, Bevans, Eboussi, Gutierrez, Suggs, Prugh, Kim, Park, Cawsey, Frater, McFarlane. (SUB Jones 62”, King 67”, Argueta 78”)