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Vercollone, Switchbacks Edge Las Vegas

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 05/11/18, 11:08PM EDT

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Veteran midfielder scores only goal, snaps four-game winless run

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC took a 1-0 victory against Las Vegas Lights FC on Friday night at Weidner Field to snap a four-game winless streak and move into the top eight in the Western Conference. Josh Suggs hit the left post for the Switchbacks in the 24th minute as he made a good overlapping run into the left side of the penalty area only to see his effort find the woodwork, while Shane Malcolm had a chance blocked on the line by Vegas defender Marcelo Alatorre four minutes before halftime as the hosts looked the more likely to take the lead. Las Vegas came out with some jump to start the second half, and Sammy Ochoa was denied the opening goal by an offside flag as he turned home a deflected shot in the 49th minute. Colorado Springs also put the ball in the net, but the goal was ruled out for a foul on Lights FC goalkeeper Ricardo Ferriño after he mishandled a free kick, while Ochoa blasted a shot high and wide in the 57th minute. The Switchbacks broke the deadlock with 20 minutes to go, however, as Luke Vercollone found enough space to slide a finish into the left corner of the net. Lights FC almost replied immediately, but Ochoa was unable to redirect Miguel Garduno’s flicked header off a corner that arrived just behind the forward. Colorado Springs almost iced the game in the final minute, only for Ferriño to make a great save to keep out Tobenna Uzo’s breakaway chance, but Vercollone’s goal would be all the hosts would need for the victory.

Scoring:
70’ – COS – Luke Vercollone

Three Things That Matter:

  • 1. Having played more games than all-but Fresno FC going into Friday night’s game, victory was essential for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC to move back into the top eight going into the rest of the weekend’s action as the hosts snapped a four-game winless streak thanks to Luke Vercollone’s goal. With the club’s inconsistency a season ago the biggest reason for its absence from the postseason – Colorado Springs’ longest league undefeated streaks in 2017 were just three games – getting on a extended stretch accumulating points is going to be key in the next third of the season for the Switchbacks.

  • 2. Lights FC is now winless in its last five games, and the memory of the four-game undefeated streak that began the season is now a pretty distant one as the side continued to offer little in attacking punch on the road on Friday night. Veteran forward Sammy Ochoa was among the culprits in Colorado Springs on another frustrating night for the 31-year-old, who has yet to register a goal this season after a night that saw him finish without a shot on target. Ochoa has been a reliable scorer in the past, but really needs something good to happen to boost his confidence soon.

  • 3. The Switchbacks picked up their fourth win of the season thanks to a nice piece of opportunism in Luke Vercollone’s second goal of the season as the veteran midfielder produced another important goal for the club on a night where other big moments went astray. After Josh Suggs’ shot came back off the post and Shane Malcolm’s shot was cleared off the line in the first half, it could have been another night like last Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Reno 1868 FC, but instead Vercollone came through to earn a victory Colorado Springs really needed.

USLSoccer.com Man of the Match

Luke Vercollone, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Vercollone scored the only goal of the game, and also recorded three key passes as he helped the Switchbacks build through the midfield.

Upcoming Games:

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at OKC Energy FC – May 19, 8 p.m. ET, Taft Stadium

Las Vegas Lights FC vs. Real Monarchs SLC – May 19, 11 p.m. ET, Cashman Field

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