The Switchbacks fell short of winning the Western Conference crown Saturday, losing 4-0 at the Orange County Blues, which clinched a United Soccer League playoff berth with the lopsided victory.
The loss in Irvine, Calif., dropped Colorado Springs (14-9-7) into third place. The Switchbacks host the No. 6 playoff seed, Vancouver (12-9-9), in the West quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Friday at Switchbacks Stadium.
Colorado Springs was unable to get much going offensively beyond some set pieces in both halves. The loss ended a three-game losing streak and was the second-year franchise's first shutout loss since Aug. 21.
"The guys just weren't ready to play today," coach Steve Trittschuh said. "Now, we need to get ready for our playoff game against Vancouver."
After Didier Crettenand put Orange County ahead 1-0 in the 14th minute, the Switchbacks' Mike Seth nearly scored the equalizer in the 57th minute on a pass from Jordan Burt. But his header was inches wide of the post.
The teams battled back and forth before Orange County pulled away late with three goals after the 87th minute; two by Trevin Caesar.
The four goals were the most scored against the Switchbacks this season.
Orange County advanced to the playoffs as the No. 8 seed thanks to some earlier results.
Second-place Rio Grande Valley (14-7-9) downed San Antonio 3-0, opening the door for Portland (12-14-4) and Orange County to overtake SAFC with victories. Both did, but the Blues (12-14-4) beat the Timbers for the final playoff spot on goal differential.
Los Angeles defeated the Real Monarchs Salt Lake 3-1 to move up to fifth late Saturday. Swope Park of Kansas City will be the fourth playoff seed. Oklahoma City (10-7-13) finished seventh.
Sacramento (14-6-10) won the West thanks to the Switchbacks' loss and a 4-0 win at last-place Tulsa.