In a game the Switchbacks desperately needed, Kevaughn Frater and Dan Jackson provided enough drama to fit the bill on Saturday night.
A solid act for Colorado Springs. But the curtain is still closing.
Frater scored his 10th goal of the season and Jackson made a diving stop in stoppage time as the Switchbacks kept their fleeting playoff hopes alive in their home finale with a 1-0 win over Sacramento Republic.
Tulsa’s win over Seattle on Saturday means Colorado Springs’ only road to the playoffs is a win against Tulsa next weekend coupled by two Oklahoma City losses.
“We have to take care of our own business,” Jackson said. “We’ve done a lot of relying on other people, which is not fun to do. We just need to make sure we take care of our own business.”
Frater led a performance equal parts physical and theatrical in front of a packed house at Weidner Field.
The inconsistent yet wildly talented Jamaican forward drew the spotlight whether he was lying on the pitch in apparent pain or shaking off helpless defenders with his dazzling ball skills.
To top it off, he started a scuffle in front of the Sacramento net following an airborne collision.
“I’m kind of like the vibes guy on this team,” the 22-year-old said. “I know that when I play with confidence my team gets confidence. If we play like that there’s no stopping us.”
It certainly was a confidence-building win, Colorado Springs coach Steve Trittschuh acknowledged.
He just wishes these performances had come a bit more frequent over the last month for the Switchbacks, who were winless in six straight before winning the last two.
“It was a good win and it left the people that came a good impression of what we’re capable of doing,” he said. “We just had too many games where we gave up bad goals and it cost us.”
On a night where the Switchbacks controlled pace and possession, Frater netted the only score in the 36th minute.
Finding an opening inside the box, he corralled Josh Suggs’ cross off his chest and expertly placed a low-liner into the bottom corner of the net.
It was almost erased in the waning moments, as Jackson was called for an illegal touch outside the box and Sacramento set up a set piece from a dangerous spot.
The keeper dove to his right for the deny.
“Normally in a span of 90 minutes you have to make one big save,” Jackson said.
It was a season saver – at least for now.