Build momentum. That is the Switchbacks' goal this weekend.
After going winless in four straight games (three losses and one tie), Colorado Springs finally got back into the win column last weekend after defeating the Seattle Sounders FC 2, 2-1. Switchbacks coach Steve Trittschuh hopes his team can build upon that as it prepares to take on the Portland Timbers 2 at 6 p.m. Saturday at Weidner Field.
"It is a must win," Trittschuh said. "I keep preaching that to the guys. All our home games are must wins for the rest of the season. After this game we go on the road for two games. You never know how it is going to go on the road. We have to make sure we get three points."
Colorado Springs wants to duplicate the pressure it put on Seattle last week.
Against the Sounders FC 2, the Switchbacks created pressure higher up the field. That tactic helped Colorado Springs get Seattle off its game. And that strategy will be needed if the Switchbacks want to defeat the Timbers 2.
"We have to do the same thing with Portland because they are a team that likes to work the ball through the lines and come forward," Trittschuh said. "So we have to stay compact defensively and press them as much as we can. Do not give them time with the ball. I know we can do that."
While Colorado Springs will look to stay compact, it will have to do so without starting defender Jordan Burt.
Burt went down with an injury against Seattle that will sideline him for an extensive amount of time, according to the Switchbacks. Colorado Springs will miss Burt's presence.
"Jordan is one of the leaders of the team," Trittschuh said. "His experience is hard to replace. We are going to miss his leadership on the field and his goal-scoring ability too. But we just have to keep going forward and injuries happen."
However, the Switchbacks pride themselves on having a "next man up" mentality. The next to replace Burt is Conner Bevans.
Colorado Springs captain, midfielder Rony Argueta, believes Bevans will be hungry, willing to fight and should provide a spark. Bevans will split time with Davy Armstrong, who Colorado Springs is easing in as he is still not 100 percent fit coming back from injury.
While the team will certainly miss Burt's contributions, it had a good, intense week of practice. The Switchbacks are focused on building momentum to secure a playoff spot as the season starts to wind down.
"Yes, definitely." Argueta said of how crucial the Portland game is. "(The Switchbacks) are still fighting, we are still up there, for a playoff spot. That is huge motivation. It should be motivation for the team and the guys."