There were no “ifs” mentioned when Colorado Springs FC coach Steve Trittschuh and captain Josh Suggs set a goal of taking six points away from the team’s season-opening homestand, which concluded with Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Portland Timbers 2 at Weidner Field.
A second win remained the expectation after the team learned it would be without Shane Malcolm and Saeed Robinson, and that was still the target after forward Marty Maybin, who filled one of the starting roles, had to leave in the first 10 minutes Saturday.
“All in all, it wasn’t a good enough game for us,” Trittschuh said. “You can blame it on all the changes we had to make and then Marty gets hurt in the first 10 minutes, but still. We just weren’t aggressive enough in the final third.”
The Switchbacks defense did its part for much of the contest, but the decisive goal came when Augustine Williams finished a rebound in the 82nd minute.
The attack started when Jordan Burt, who moved from a holding midfield role to right back, allowed an attacker to cut inside and shoot. Goalkeeper Steward Ceus made the initial save but spilled the ball in front of goal.
“It’s just not good defending,” Trittschuh said as video of the goal played in the coach’s trailer. “When we’re in those situations, we want our outside backs to show them to the outside. Jordan lets him come inside, but still, Steward has to make the save.”
Timbers 2 snatched three points while being outshot 15-8 and taking two corner kicks to the home team’s seven. Switchbacks center back Jamal Jack felt like the hosts deserved more.
“Yes, because that was the only chance they had, and they end up scoring,” Jack said. “It’s kinda hard."
The Switchbacks had the only two shots on goal of the first half, including Suggs’ shot that was pushed out for a corner, while a bicycle kick from Toby Uzo – who came on for Maybin – failed to find frame. Sloppy giveaways and a lack of aggressiveness left the coach far from satisfied after 45 minutes, however.
“I told them at halftime, they look like the home team compared to us,” Trittschuh said. “It’s not acceptable.”
The message looked to be taken to heart, as the Switchbacks created chances almost instantly in the second half only to come up short.
Verneri Välimaa and Uriel Macias made their Switchbacks debuts with time winding down and Trittschuh looking for a late boost with a short bench. Välimaa supplied a dangerous through ball to AJ Ajeakwa late, but the forward could not put boot to ball.
The Switchbacks will take their three points on the road next Saturday for a contest at St. Louis FC.
Maybin’s status is to be determined after suffering a groin injury that foiled strategy.
“You plan on something during the week, and then 10 minutes in you have to change it,” Trittschuh said. “All in all, it doesn’t matter. It still should’ve been good enough to at least win the game.”
Now, the Switchbacks hope to make up for Saturday’s lost points on the road.
“We’re going to come back,” Jack said.