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Switchbacks get ball rolling with 4-1 win over Timbers 2

By: GARRETT KROEGER garrett.kroeger@gazette.com
August 5, 2017 Updated: August 5, 2017 at 9:46 pm
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The Switchbacks's goalkeeper Moise Pouaty makes a save on a penalty kick against the Portland Timbers 2 Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, at Weidner Field. Photo by James Wooldridge, The Gazette

In the 37th minute, the Portland Timbers 2 lined up for a penalty kick. Switchbacks goalie Moise Pouaty took a deep breath and waited for the visiting player to strike the ball.

Block. Pouaty dove to his right and deflected Portland's attempt over the goal to preserve the first-half shutout.

"He is a big lanky guy, so he can get from one side to another," Colorado Springs coach Steve Trittschuh said. "If that goes to 3-1 into halftime, that is a different type of game. But going into half up 3-0, at least we could breathe a little bit. He was big tonight."

All week long, Colorado Springs focused on building momentum. The team then went out and beat the Timbers 2, 4-1, winning back-to-back games before leaving for a two-game road trip.

"It was important," Trittschuh said on winning a second straight game. "I kept preaching that throughout the week that we needed to come out and take control of the game."

From start to finish, Colorado Springs was relentless. In the first half alone, the Switchbacks had an 11-4 shot edge. They were able to put three of those shots in the back of the net.

Forward Shane Malcolm got the scoring barrage going for Colorado Springs with a goal in the 13th minute. Five minutes later, defender Josh Suggs scored. Forward Kevaughn Frater added a third, a ricochet off the right post in the 34th minute.

"It is something we worked on," Trittschuh said on Colorado Springs' attack. "We wanted to attack (Portland's) back four. We didn't feel like they were very strong. The guys did it to a T."

The Switchbacks had several shots that could have gone in during the second half. But Portland's goalie, Kendall McIntosh, was able to make contact. However, his streak ran out during the 51st minute.

Midfielder Luke Vercollone held the ball near the right corner of the box. There were three defenders in front of him. He passed the ball to the top of the box.

There, forward Masta Kacher took a touch and blasted the ball into the back of the net to make the score 4-0.

"The four goals were great," Vercollone said. "But it could have been more. We are happy, but we are not satisfied."

While the Switchbacks were all smiles about their performance, they were disappointed it was not a shutout. Portland's score came off an own goal by Colorado Springs' Conner Bevans in the 89th minute. The Switchbacks did not end on a sour note as Pouaty blocked his second penalty kick to end the game.

"He was excellent," Vercollone said of Pouaty. "He deserved the shutout, so it was a little unfortunate about that. But he was excellent."

"It is a solid win," Trittschuh added. "It is good momentum going into our road trip."

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