USL Game Report
Friday, September 25, 2015
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A pair of first-half goals led No. 3-seed Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC to a 2-0 victory against No. 6-seed Seattle Sounders FC 2 on Friday night at Sand Creek Stadium in the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2015 USL Playoffs. The Switchbacks move on to face No. 2-seed OKC Energy FC in the conference semifinals on Oct. 4 at Taft Stadium.
Miguel Gonzalez and JJ Greer both found the net for the Switchbacks, while Devala Gorrick finished with five saves, as the club earned its first postseason victory.
Both sides looked to push forward quickly early on, and the Switchbacks had the first scoring chance off a free kick in the seventh minute when Mike Seth’s header from Nate Robinson’s cross from the left went over the crossbar.
The Switchbacks grabbed the lead in the 14th minute as they capitalized on a turnover near the halfway line by S2. Luke Vercollone began the move, as he found Saeed Robinson on the right, and his first-time pass quickly found Chandler Hoffman 35 yards out. Hoffman took a touch, and sent Gonzalez into the right side of the penalty area, where his low first-time shot found the left corner of the net.
Colorado Springs doubled its lead eight minutes later, as a corner on the right from Nate Robinson found Greer, whose powerful header slipped through the defender’s legs while he was straddled on the line for a 2-0 lead.
Down early, Seattle appeared to have been handed a way back into the contest when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after Darwin Jones was brought down on the right side, but after consultation with his assistant, a free kick was awarded just outside the penalty area. Switchbacks defender Josh Phillips cleared the delivery, but the moment saw the start of a good period until the halftime break for S2 as it tried to get a goal back.
Seattle’s Aaron Kovar sent in a pair of dangerous crosses from the left as S2 continued to threaten, and Ashani Fairclough almost caught Switchbacks goalkeeper Devala Gorrick out at his near post after a good combination down the right with Jones, only for Gorrick to punch his shot from a tight angle behind.
Gorrick again came up big to deny Jimmy Ockford just before the break, and the S2 center back was stopped again on the rebound as Gonzalez blocked his shot on the line before the Switchbacks were able to scramble the ball clear to remain up 2-0.
Colorado Springs regained control of the game to start the second half, and a glancing header by Phillips was palmed away off a corner by S2 goalkeeper Charlie Lyon. The introduction of Pablo Rossi and Sam Garza gave S2 a boost, however, but the side was unable to find a clear opening to cut into its deficit before the hour-mark.
Seattle came close to a goal in the 65th minute when Rossi found possession on the right side, and whipped in a good near-post cross, but Oalex Anderson was just unable to apply the finish at full stretch. Moments later, a high back-post corner from the right by Kovar reached Damion Lowe, but the big center back was unable to direct his header on target, while another in-swinging free kick by Kovar was cleared well by the Switchbacks defense.
Colorado Springs’ Davy Armstrong almost made it three with nine minutes to go as he turned his defender well on the left side of the penalty area, and then fired a near-post shot that Lyon did well to save with his right foot. Lyon again did well to deny an open header for Vercollone as the midfielder lost his marker and was found by Jordan Burt with an angled cross from the right, only for Lyon to get down to his right to push the shot wide.The late chances for the Switchbacks would prove academic, however, as while S2 pressed late, it was unable to find a connection in the penalty area as Colorado Springs’ defense held firm and saw the side through to the conference semifinals.