Photo courtesy Bob Frid / Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2
VANCOUVER, B.C. – Luke Vercollone scored both goals as Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC took a 2-0 victory against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 and claimed a place in the 2016 USL Playoffs at Thunderbird Stadium on Sunday afternoon. WFC2 was reduced to 10 men in the 17th minute when Matthew Baldisimo was sent off for a high challenge on Vercollone. Neither side was able to create many clear chances in the opening half, however, as the game remained scoreless. The Switchbacks forced the best early chance in the second half as a low shot by Taesong Kim was cleared off the line by WFC2’s Taesong Kim, but just before the hour-mark Vercollone put home a diving header at the near post from Jordan Burt’s cross from the right. WFC2 got forward more in the final half-hour as Daniel Haber and Fatawu Safiu tried to use their creativity to find an equalizer for the hosts. Haber went close with 13 minutes to go as his low shot to the right corner saw Switchbacks goalkeeper Devala Gorrick made a good save. The Switchbacks almost hit for a second on the break five minutes later, only for Saeed Robinson to be denied by WFC2 goalkeeper Marco Carducci, but Vercollone’s second of the game with four minutes to go put the game away for the visitors.
59’ – COS – Luke Vercollone (Jordan Burt)
86’ – COS – Luke Vercollone (Yaw Danso)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Switchbacks claimed victory and a second consecutive appearance in the USL Playoffs with their victory in Vancouver, and while the side wasn’t quite as impressive as in its victory against the LA Galaxy II last weekend, the performance was a composed one that saw Luke Vercollone score twice for three goals in the past two games. The club’s captain led the Switchbacks a season ago with 14 goals, and while his output this season has been reduced, the fact that he’s finding his scoring touch just before the playoffs will be a big positive for Colorado Springs.
2. The visitors had the luxury of playing up a man for more than 70 minutes after Matthew Baldisimo’s red card for a high challenge on Vercollone, and did well to remain patient as time ticked on against a well-organized Vancouver defense. The Switchbacks didn’t create any clear chances in the first half following the red card as WFC2 took care of its defensive third well, but the probing manner in which Colorado Springs opened the second half paid off with Vercollone’s goal, and gave the Switchbacks an even bigger chance of at least one home playoff game.
3. Despite being down to 10 men, Vancouver performed well for most of the game, and even got the ball forward smartly after going down a goal to try and find an equalizer. With the loss, however, WFC2’s hopes of hosting a home playoff game are rapidly dwindling. A visit from Seattle Sounders FC 2 is up next, and Coach Alan Koch must be hoping his side can find a win to book a playoff berth, and gain a little confidence for when the postseason arrives.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Luke Vercollone, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Vercollone’s fifth and sixth goals of the season led the Switchbacks to victory, and into a second consecutive playoff berth.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 vs. Portland Timbers 2 – Sept. 18, 5 p.m. ET, Thunderbird Stadium
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2 – Sept. 17, 9 p.m. ET, Switchbacks Stadium