Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC handed San Antonio FC its first defeat of the 2017 USL regular season as Sean McFarlane’s goal proved the difference at Weidner Field on Saturday night. San Antonio, which had gone 14 games undefeated to start the season, had the first big chance of the game in the 25th minute when Aly Hassan got free on the right side of the penalty area, but his effort was tipped over the crossbar by Switchbacks goalkeeper Moise Pouaty. The teams continued to exchange chances as the half went on, but in first half stoppage time the Switchbacks (6-5-5, 23pts) took the lead. A whipped free kick by Masta Kacher from the left was redirected home by McFarlane moments before the halftime whistle, giving the hosts the edge. Kacher had a good effort saved in the 61st minute as Restrepo read the shot well, while SAFC’s goalkeeper needed to be sharp to deny Kevaughn Frater’s free kick from 30 yards five minutes later. San Antonio (10-1-4, 34pts) almost grabbed an equalizer with 19 minutes to go, but Pouaty saved from Hassan at close range after good work by Greg Cochrane. SAFC was reduced to 10 men with 13 minutes to go as Restrepo was sent off for bringing down Frater on a breakaway, and Eddy Prugh almost scored from the ensuing free kick as his shot went just high. Despite being down a man, San Antonio almost found an equalizer when Kris Tyrpak’s curling effort hit the crossbar in the 82nd minute, and while Frater wasn’t able to convert on a pair of late breakaway chances, the Switchbacks held on to record the victory.
45+’ – COS – Sean McFarlane (Masta Kacher)
Three Things That Matter:
1. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC had put the pressure on consistently in the first half from out wide, with seven corner kicks and numerous other attempts to deliver a telling cross from the flank. With the final play of the first half, the Switchbacks’ persistence finally paid off as Sean McFarlane’s second goal for the club gave the hosts the lead at a packed Weidner Field that ended up the decisive moment of the game. After the disappointment of losing a lead on the road in midweek against the Swope Park Rangers, ending SAFC’s undefeated start brought a memorable night to the club’s fans.
2. Streaks are always destined to end. A week after seeing the club’s remarkable shutout streak be broken, San Antonio FC’s undefeated start to the season came to an end at 14 games against a Switchbacks side that had given it a test when they first met this season at Toyota Field. This time there was no Kris Tyrpak equalizer, although the winger almost came through with eight minutes to go as his shot rang the crossbar, but now SAFC will need to regain focus quickly ahead of another big road game next weekend against Sacramento Republic FC.
3. San Antonio will go into Papa Murphy’s Park potentially without their top two options at goalkeeper after Diego Restrepo was sent off for bringing down Colorado Springs’ Kevaughn Frater with 13 minutes to go. With Matt Cardone still listed on the club’s injured list, and a suspension coming for Restrepo, a first career USL start beckons for Lee Johnston in one of the toughest environments in the league. San Antonio’s outstanding back line will need a big performance as the 24-year-old steps into one of the biggest games of the season so far.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Masta Kacher, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Kacher was excellent throughout, and provided the perfect delivery for Sean McFarlane’s game-winning goal to knock off SAFC.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. Rio Grande Valley FC – July 1, 9 p.m. ET, Weidner Field
San Antonio FC at Sacramento Republic FC – July 1, 11 p.m. ET, Papa Murphy’s Park