The Colorado Springs Switchbacks clinched a berth in the United Soccer League playoffs and bolstered its chance at playing at home with a 2-0 win at the Vancouver Whitecaps 2 Sunday afternoon.
The Switchbacks improved to 13-8-7 (46 standings points) with the road victory, improving to second place in the Western Conference behind Sacramento (13-6-9) and clinching a top-eight finish with two games (six possible standings points) remaining.
Colorado Springs overtook third-place Rio Grande Valley (12-6-9) for second, at least for now, after the Toros’ 10-game unbeaten (6-0-4) streak ended Saturday night in a 1-0 loss to visiting Portland.
Vancouver (11-8-9) needs to win one of its final two games to make the postseason. Colorado Springs goalkeeper Devala Gorrick made a big-time save in the 77th minute on Daniel Haber to preserve the victory and record his 11th shutout this season.
The game-winner came off a strong individual play by Colorado Springs defender Jordan Burt.
The outside fullback turned his Vancouver defender deep in the Whitecaps 2 end to create some room along the sideline. Burt then stepped toward the box and sent a chest-high crossing pass into the Vancouver penalty area.
From there, Colorado Springs captain Luke Vercollone connected on a diving header into the Vancouver net for the opening goal in the 59th minute.
The goal came after the Switchbacks wore down the hosts. Whitecaps 2 defender Matthew Baldisimo was issued a red card in the 18th minute for a tackle on Vercollone and Vancouver played with 10 men the rest of the game.
Vercollone made it 2-0 in the 86th minute off an assist by new midfielder Yaw Danso, who signed with the squad on Friday. Danso sent a through ball that Vercollone tracked down and then beat the Vancouver goalkeeper low.