Steward Ceus’ debut with the Colorado Springs Switchbacks was a boring one.
That’s a good thing for a goalkeeper, as Ceus simply got to watch most of the Switchbacks’ 2-0 win in Saturday’s USL regular-season opener at Weidner Field. He was needed on just one occasion, a weak shot from LA Galaxy II forward Ethan Zubak late in the game.
The rest of the night, Ceus saw the back four of Luke Vercollone, who spent the evening at right back, Jamal Jack, Taylor Hunter and Josh Suggs shut down the Galaxy attack.
Ceus’ clean sheet marked the fourth consecutive game the Switchbacks have kept opponents out of the back of the net.
“The big thing for me was no goals, again,” Switchbacks coach Steve Trittschuh said. “Defensively, they’re playing fantastic.”
The Switchbacks got the only goal they would need in the 25th minute when Shane Malcolm weaved through the Galaxy II defense from the right wing and played AJ Ajeakwa in on goal.
“When I looked up, I saw the keeper off his line, but I also looked back for a cross, so I was in between cross and chip at the same time,” Ajeakwa said.
Whatever he went with worked, as the ball hit the underside of the crossbar and went into goal, setting up a group celebration next to the Switchbacks’ bench.
“It was a good defensive play. Shane obviously did what he did on the ball, and then I ended up with a goal,” Ajeakwa said. “It was a team effort, so I just wanted everybody around me just to celebrate our first goal of the year.”
Colorado Springs took that one-goal advantage to the start of the second half before midfielder Jordan Burt capitalized on an LA infraction in the box by putting the ensuing penalty kick into the top left area of the goal in the 55th minute. The goal came minutes after Suggs nearly beat LA keeper Justin vom Steeg with an overhead attempt that came off the crossbar.
Malcom and Saaed Robinson had quality looks before LA’s lone shot on goal.
The pace of Ajeakwa, Malcolm and Robinson had the Galaxy on their heels early and often and the trio helped Colorado Springs to a 15-4 advantage in shots, five of which were on target.
“They didn’t deal with them very well. Even our interchanging of positions up top, it was fantastic,” Trittschuh said.
“It can still be better and that’s why I’m really happy.”
The dull debut was just fine with Ceus.
“Massive,” the Haitian international said. “We wanted to come out and set the tone right, and I think we did that today.”