Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After calling his side’s contest with Tulsa Roughnecks FC a must-win in the build-up to Saturday night, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC forward Marty Maybin put in a performance that ensured the Western Conference playoff contender got the victory it needed in a 4-2 win at Weidner Field.
With a pair of goals on the night, Maybin was pleased to have come through at a key moment for the Switchbacks in his best performance since returning to the team this offseason.
“I thought I played well, I got two goals obviously, but the three points is the most important thing,” said Maybin. “But that's my third goal of the season, I need to finish strong and keep scoring goals to contribute to us getting the playoffs.”
Taking victory against one of the sides sitting out of the Western Conference playoff race is one thing, but the Switchbacks are well aware that it now needs to put together a string of victories, especially this Wednesday night as it visits San Antonio FC, one of the sides aiming to overtake it in the Western Conference standings down the stretch.
“It was a high-pressure game and we got the three points, and scored four goals at home,” said Maybin. “There's a lot of positives to take from it but we need to take this momentum now to go on a run of games and get ourselves into the playoffs.”
“MAKE-OR-BREAK TIME”: San Antonio FC also put up four goals on Saturday night in the club’s best attacking display of the season to defeat Western Conference-leader Real Monachs SLC 4-2 at Toyota Field. In breaking a four-game winless streak, SAFC hoped the breakout victory would lead to a positive turn in momentum for the side.
“We know that it’s a make-or-break time right now, so all these games are huge games for us and we can’t be dropping points anymore,” said SAFC midfielder Mikey Lopez. “Today was a good start, but we have to carry that into Wednesday.”
Victory against the Switchbacks in the USL Game of the Week on Wednesday night won’t allow San Antonio to move into to top eight in the Western Conference standings – regardless of other results on the night the Switchbacks would still hold the games won tiebreaker over San Antonio – but taking all three points at Toyota Field would put the side on the inside track for a playoff place having played four fewer games than Colorado Springs as the sides meet.
After producing one of its best performances of the season against the conference leader, the sense of belief in what the side is capable of has been raised in the SAFC locker room.
“We believe we’re a good team,” said SAFC midfielder Charlie Ward, whose first professional goal capped the display. “We have good players in that locker room. Everyone is a good player and people who aren’t making the squad are fighting for a place on the pitch every day, and even people who are playing are still fighting to keep their position. We earned the win today but now we go again on Wednesday and we need to get ready for that.”
COLLECTIVE COMES THROUGH: There have been numerous ups and downs in Las Vegas Lights FC’s first season, but Sunday afternoon produced a much-needed 2-1 victory against the Portland Timbers 2 at Providence Park that kept the side within sight of the playoff positions. After suffering two consecutive defeats on the road prior to Sunday’s win, Lights FC Head Coach Isidro Sanchez paid tribute to the collective attitude the side brought as its road trip neared an end.
“We didn't have a very good start, but most of our problems and troubles today, we solved with one thing; being together,” said Sanchez. “Being together for 90 minutes was the answer for all of the problems we faced.”
Photo courtesy Sam Ortega / Portland Timbers 2
Lights FC got a sizeable boost off the bench to that end from Omar Salgado, whose game-winning goal with 16 minutes to go saw him rip a shot through Portland’s defensive wall and find the right side of the net. The separation in the wall was something Las Vegas was anticipating, and Salgado was thrilled it produced his first goal for the club on loan from El Paso USL.
“The strategy was going to be just to put it into the wall,” Salgado said. “We decided pretty much to just bang it in. I knew they were going to move, I knew that was the perfect spot to put it in. I was just glad it went in.”
AROUND THE WEST: Sacramento Republic FC appeared well on top of OKC Energy FC at halftime, but Head Coach Simon Elliott laid into his side after it ended up with a 1-1 draw at Papa Murphy’s Park, dropping points at home that kept the side in fifth place in the West. “I don’t think that 90-minute performance is acceptable at home,” said Elliott. “I think we have to recognize what the game gives us and what it takes away and then respond. Just because it’s going well in a certain moment doesn’t mean you can do the same thing in the next moment. The game’s always changing. Tonight, we weren’t clever enough to realize and we got punished and we should’ve got punished.” … Rio Grande Valley FC is undefeated in its last five games after its 0-0 draw with the Swope Park Rangers, but with the record reading 1-0-4 over that span it hasn’t meant a shift into the playoff picture for Head Coach Gerson Echeverry’s side. “Unfortunately, it’s one win and a lot of draws, but it’s always good especially when you come to a tough place like this,” said Echeverry, whose side had an 18-7 edge in shots over the hosts. “We felt like we could’ve gotten the win, but we got a draw. We’ll continue racking up points and that’s still important.”