Frustration turned to elation when forward Mike Seth scored a last-second goal to clinch a home playoff game for the Switchbacks.
The score, off a breakaway in the final minute of stoppage time (94th), lifted Colorado Springs past Seattle, 2-1, before a franchise-record crowd of 4,308 at Switchbacks Stadium on Saturday.
September 18, 2016
"It was a great goal by Mike who made a patient finish," coach Steve Trittschuh said. "We're in playoff mode now and having these kinds of games are real good for us to have."
And thanks to that goal off his left cleat for the right-footed Seth, the postseason for Colorado Springs (14-8-7) will begin at home 7 p.m. Sept. 30. Call (719) 368-8480 extension 1 for ticket information.
The breakaway started when Saeed Robinson sent a diagonal pass to Seth, who patiently waited before making his break to avoid being called offsides. Even with the delay, he beat two Sounders 2 defenders to the bouncing ball.
After a couple of strides to his left, he fired a hard low shot under Seattle goalkeeper Matt Bersano's sliding save attempt with seconds to spare.
The deciding goal came about because Seattle (9-12-8) entered the contest tied for 10th and needed to win out to advance to the playoffs. Colorado Springs took advantage of Seattle cheating forward.
The result displayed a gritty mindset for the hosts, who were unwilling to settle for a tie despite being in the playoffs.
"It's huge," said midfielder Rony Argueta, who scored the first goal on a rising shot from 40 yards out off the crossbar.
Seattle kept its playoff hopes alive thanks to a strong individual play by Darwin Jones. He took the ball, turned defender Josh Phillips and fired a hard low shot past a diving Devala Gorrick in the 28th minute to tie the game at 1-1.
Both teams exchanged quality chances the rest of the way with a near miss by Seattle’s Myron Samuel in the 82nd minute keeping the game tied and setting up Seth’s last-second heroics.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more from our guys,” Tritschuh said. “We played a good game for 90 minutes; 90-plus minutes actually.”
The win propelled the Switchbacks into a tie with Sacramento for first place in the Western Conference entering the final week of the regular season. Sacramento came back to tie the LA Galaxy II, 1-1, late Saturday.
This week, Colorado Springs travels to ninth-place Orange County to face yet another playoff contender while Sacramento plays at last-place Tulsa.
Regardless of the garnering the top seed or not, the Switchbacks may need to win their regular-season finale to secure second place and the No. 2 seed.
Third-place Rio Grande Valley (13-7-9, 48 points) is only one point out of first. RGV hosts eighth-place San Antonio. All three games are on Saturday night.