The San Antonio FC Fiesta road trip will continue on Saturday when they take on the Colorado Springs Switchbacks in an important match for both sides.
Colorado Springs’ home advantage may be one of the strongest in the United Soccer League, particularly so early in the season. Playing at altitude in cold weather could prove difficult for San Antonio FC. They should look to score early, because as time goes on, a Colorado Springs side that is accustomed to the altitude will only become more confident and more likely to score. A snow-storm is expected to tear through Colorado Springs this week that could make for even less ideal playing conditions, though skies should clear by Saturday.
You can hear more thoughts on the upcoming match through the Defending the Fort podcast available here.
The two teams are close in standing, with San Antonio sitting just one point behind the Switchbacks, who sit at sixth. San Antonio FC is in eighth, but has played one more match than Colorado Springs.
Devala Gorrick, Switchbacks goalkeeper, has been kept busy as one of the saves leaders in the USL. But despite being made to work plenty, he has a fairly low goals allowed average, allowing just 0.67 goals per game.
Both teams are coming into the match after 1-0 losses, their firsts of the season, but for Colorado Springs it’s a much more disappointing result. The Switchbacks fell to the previously worst-in-the-west Seattle Sounders FC 2, who were easily beaten by San Antonio FC 3-0 in their first ever match and only win of the season thus far.
Ironically, the loss to the Orange County Blues FC was perhaps the strongest performance from San Antonio FC this year, particularly in the second half. If not for a poor decision at the back from defender Milton Palacios, San Antonio would have managed a draw, their crossing looked strong for the first time this season.
At the same time, that loss could have been worse for San Antonio as Orange County hit the woodwork twice in that match. Captain and goalkeeper Josh Ford was unlucky to not make the USL Team of the Week after a stunning effort, including a world class one-on-one save on OC Blue’s forward Trevin Caesar that kept San Antonio in the match.
All of that leads to San Antonio coming into Saturday’s match high on confidence, although they will need to see stronger performances from their strikers, and start converting their chances to achieve a win. Colorado Springs’ poor finish against Seattle last week, coupled with a strong San Antonio defense, should also be encouraging for San Antonio. If things don’t change for the Switchbacks, it’s going to be very difficult to break down San Antonio FC.
Colorado Springs has a similar ethos to San Antonio, having a strong defense, which forms the basis for going forward and scoring goals. The Switchbacks have conceded only two goals all season, and have yet to concede one in open play. That shows how hard this team will be to break down for San Antonio FC, but their finishing will need to improve for a victory.
Top image: Midfielder Manolo Sanchez races to the ball at practice. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.
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