Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC kept its hopes of a place in the USL Cup Playoffs alive with a 2-1 victory against Orange County SC on Saturday night at Weidner Field. Orange County threatened more consistently early, and Jerry van Ewijk forced a near-post save by Switchbacks goalkeeper Dan Jackson with a shot from the right side of the penalty area in the 16th minute. The Switchbacks took the lead in the 22nd minute, however, as Taesong Kim put home a powerful header from Masta Kacher’s corner kick from the right. Four minutes later Luke Vercollone fired just wide of the left post after Kim won possession in the OCSC half, but Kevaughn Frater notched his ninth goal of the season with a low finish on a breakaway in the 28th minute to double Colorado Springs’ lead. Orange County got the chance to pull a goal back a minute before halftime as Victor Pineda was brought down for a penalty kick, but Van Ewijk shot over the crossbar to keep the deficit at two. OCSC halved that deficit 10 minutes into the second half, however, as Irvin Parra headed home Rodrigo Pacheco’s cross from the right. Colorado Springs almost responded immediately, but Vercollone’s shot went high after a good cut-back by A.J. Ajeakwa, and OCSC’s Walker Hume almost leveled in the 68th minute with a header from a corner. Orange County goalkeeper Charlie Lyon made a pair of standout saves to keep his side in the game as a pair of efforts by Frater with 18 minutes were turned away, and two minutes later Pineda hit the crossbar with a close-range header for Orange County. The Switchbacks thought it had added an insurance goal through Ajeakwa with six minutes to go, only for the offside flag to be raised, and Kacher hit the crossbar in the 90th minute on a counterattack with a curling effort, but the late missed opportunities didn't come back to bite the hosts as they held on in stoppage time to earn victory.
22’ – COS – Taesong Kim (Masta Kacher)
28’ – COS – Kevaughn Frater (Luke Vercollone)
55’ – OC – Irvin Parra (Rodrigo Pacheco)
Three Things That Matter:
1. The Switchbacks knew it had to take victory on Saturday night, and thanks to a pair of great finishes six minutes apart by Taesong Kim and Kevaughn Frater it moved a point ahead of its visitors to break a six-game winless streak for the side. The side could have added to its lead in the second half, too, as Frater looked sharp throughout the contest in addition to notching his ninth goal of the season. With two games to go, hope remained alive for another night in Colorado Springs.
2. Orange County will look back wondering what might have been if Jerry van Ewijk’s late first-half penalty kick had put it back in the game before the break as it suffered what wasn’t a fatal defeat to its postseason chances, but certainly made the task far more difficult. Orange County is now in the same position as the Switchbacks, needing help from others to reel in OKC Energy FC as it goes into its final three games of the season. Wednesday’s game with Sacramento Republic FC is now an absolute must-win.
3. The pressure on both sides showed throughout the contest, which produced an enthralling game full of chances for both teams. Each side hit the woodwork in the contest, and provided some breathtaking entertainment in addition to the goals. That these two sides are in the predicaments they are in when it comes to the playoffs forced their hands tonight, but it does make you wonder where this level of desperation has been at other points over the past couple of months.
USLSoccer.com Man of the Match
Kevaughn Frater, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Frater’s goal proved the winner, but the Jamaican also threatened regularly outside his fine finish with four shots on goal total and two key passes.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC vs. Sacramento Republic FC – October 7, 8 p.m. ET, Weidner Field
Orange County SC vs. Sacramento Republic FC – October 4, 10:30 p.m. ET, Champions Soccer Stadium