Photo courtesy David Calvert / Reno 1868 FC
RENO, Nev. – Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC scored in stoppage time through Shane Malcolm to claim a 2-2 draw against Reno 1868 FC at Greater Nevada Field on Saturday night. The Switchbacks almost took the lead early, but Luke Vercollone put his close-range effort wide of the left post, but it was Reno that created more chances in the first half as both Junior Burgos, Antoine Hoppenot and Mackenzie Pridham had shots saved. The hosts took the lead in the final minute of the first half from the penalty spot as Burgos converted into the right corner after a handball in the area, and although Colorado Springs hit the post moments later through Eddy Prugh’s shot from the edge of the penalty area, 1868 FC went to the break with the lead. The Switchbacks got back on level terms 13 minutes into the second half when a corner to the back post found Josh Phillips, and his knock-down header was turned home by fellow defender Jordan Burt, but 1868 FC regained the lead in similar fashion two minutes later as Matt LaGrassa’s header back across goal was knocked home by Jordan Murrell. The Switchbacks had some chances to find an equalizer, Masta Kacher sending a free kick just wide of the left post with 16 minutes to go, but Colorado Springs grabbed a late point as Malcolm headed home a corner from the left by Josh Suggs to earn his side a draw, and deny Reno its first win in club history.
45’ – RNO – Junior Burgos (penalty kick)
58’ – COS – Jordan Burt (Josh Phillips)
60’ – RNO – Jordan Murrell (Matt LaGrassa)
90+’ – COS – Shane Malcolm (Josh Suggs)
Three Things That Matter:
1. 1868 FC was on the verge of its first win in club history, but a late letdown proved costly again and left Head Coach Ian Russell’s squad again searching for its first three points of the season. Reno had done almost everything right, but two set piece goals against – with Shane Malcolm’s stoppage-time finish the back-breaker – saw the side find a way to let two points slip through its fingers. Reno will now head to Phoenix in two weeks with a big test in front of it, and a first win still waiting to be earned.
2. Reno produced exactly the response it needed to Colorado Springs’ equalizer in the second half, and found almost an exact replica thanks to a great piece of work by Matt LaGrassa. The former Sacramento midfielder’s header back across goal that allowed Jordan Murrell to nod home from close range capped off a good all-around performance by the midfielder, who was clean with his passing and won possession well to keep Reno with the edge in possession. LaGrassa’s long-range effort in the 82nd minute came close to sealing the victory, but the win will feel very good on a night to celebrate for the club.
3. The Switchbacks did not have their best performance, but the club’s ability to produce from set pieces proved invaluable as it was able to grab a point at the death thanks to Shane Malcolm’s finish. After holding on for victory against Real Monarchs SLC, Colorado Springs squandered some good opportunities against Reno which seemed to be setting the side up for a letdown. With four points from its final two games, though, Head Coach Steve Trittschuh’s side hasn’t completely turned a corner, but is in much better shape than it might have been.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Shane Malcolm, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Malcolm’s stoppage-time equalizer earned the Switchbacks a crucial point on the road that seemed out of reach late on.
Reno 1868 FC at Phoenix Rising FC – May 6, 10:30 p.m. ET, Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC 2 – April 29, 8 p.m. ET, Weidner Field