Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The No. 3-seed Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC will welcome No. 6-seed Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 on Friday night for a Western Conference Quarterfinal in the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs at Switchbacks Stadium, with the hosts aiming to repeat their opening-round home win of a season ago against the playoff newcomer. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. MT.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC news and notes
Regular Season record: 14-9-7, 49pts
The Switchbacks earned the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference for a second consecutive season after a strong regular-season that saw numerous new faces come to the fore.
Colorado Springs had a chance to finish with the No. 1 seed entering the final week of the regular season, but fell 4-0 to Orange County to drop behind Sacramento and Rio Grande Valley.
The Switchbacks were led in goals by Mike Seth, whose eight tallies equaled his previous career total in the USL with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (5) and Switchbacks (3).
Goalkeeper Devala Gorrick finished in the top five in the USL in both save percentage (.781) and goals-against average (0.84) during the regular season.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 news and notes
Regular Season record: 12-9-9, 45pts
WFC2 earned its first trip to the playoffs in the club’s second season, as a 10-game undefeated streak to start the season paved the way to a postseason berth.
Vancouver was led early in the season by Kyle Greig, who had 10 goals in his first 12 appearances for the club, but he then cooled off in the second half of the season, scoring just once.
WFC2 could call on three players named in the USL 20 Under 20 series this summer in the playoffs, with No. 8-ranked Alphonso Davies, No. 9-ranked Marco Bustos and No. 18-ranked Kadin Chung all available.
The 15-year-old Davies became the youngest signing in USL history this preseason, and the youngest-goalscorer with his finish on May 15 against the LA Galaxy II, before signing an MLS Homegrown Player contract this summer.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – M Luke Vercollone: The veteran midfielder brought a wealth of playoffs experience with him to the Switchbacks when he arrived as the club’s first signing ahead of last season, and will be relied on again to provide the backbone in the midfield. Vercollone’s potential matchup against WFC2 young guns Kianz Froese and Ben McKendry will be key to the Switchbacks taking victory on home turf.
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 – M Marco Bustos: The Canadian U23 international has been a creative force over the past two seasons with WFC2, and when he has found the net, he has done so in bunches. Bustos is coming off a two-goal performance against another veteran side in OKC Energy FC to close the regular season, and could be the man to unlock a tough Switchbacks defense.
2016 Team leaders
Goals: Colorado Springs – Mike Seth, 8; Vancouver – Kyle Greig, 11
Assists: Colorado Springs – Mike Seth, 5; Vancouver – Daniel Haber, 4
The Switchbacks took the season series with a 1-0-1 record this season, and has never lost to WFC2 in four previous meetings between the sides. WFC2 was able to earn a 1-1 draw in its last visit to Switchbacks Stadium, though, when Brett Levis’ goal cancelled out Miguel Gonzalez’s opener for the hosts.
REF: Ramy Touchan
AR1: Jacob Herold
AR2: Devin Wagner
4TH: Miguel Urbina-Barrios
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