The Colorado Springs Switchbacks are doing their best to leave frustrations on the field after the most troubling result of the season, Saturday’s 1-0 loss at Oklahoma City.
The Energy had been lifeless, losing eight straight USL contests and going without a league goal for 601 minutes before an 82nd-minute winner.
As tough as another scoreless game was to swallow, it did not appear to drain spirits.
At Monday’s practice, midfielder Jordan Schweitzer drily assumed the role of trainer, handing out water bottles and encouraging “the boys” to hydrate ahead of what’s expected to be a warm, third-round U.S. Open Cup matchup at San Antonio on Wednesday.
San Antonio and Colorado Springs have not yet met in United Soccer League action, but both teams sit on 14 points entering Wednesday.
What Schweitzer was really doing was arming his teammates as they prepared to douse John Wells, the director of operations, in a birthday celebration of sorts.
Frustration is there after the team lost by one goal for the sixth time this season, but it hasn’t become personal.
“Our team is a great group of guys, and I don’t think we’ll ever lose that,” captain Josh Suggs said, “but at the same time, it is eating at us. That’s probably adding to it a little bit as to why we’re having these results because it’s festering and festering. At the end of the day, it will come.”
The Oklahoma City game, while most unsightly on paper, proved to be more of the same for head coach Steve Trittschuh.
“I know the guys are disappointed because you go 82 minutes, playing well and then, you give that,” the coach said. “Even after that, we had a couple chances towards the end. It’s kinda the same thing. We’re playing well defensively. We’re just missing that last ball again.”
Wednesday’s Open Cup game looks to be another chance for Toby Uzo, Marty Maybin and Uriel Macias to close ground on the three forwards who have gotten most of the minutes up top.
Gone from the equation is midfielder Verneri Valimaa, who came to a mutual agreement to terminate his contract with the club, according to a release.
That opens a spot for Trittschuh to add another goal-scorer should the right fit come his way.
“I’ve been looking these last couple weeks, it’s just trying to find that right person to bring in,” Trittschuh said. “I just don’t want to fill it with anyone just because of numbers. It’s gotta be the right person, the right fit for this team.”
There are some limitations. Trittschuh and his staff have neither the time nor the funding to go out looking on their own, and the player must be “domestic” as the team’s allocated international slots are full.
While the team could use a goal-scorer, Trittschuh doesn’t feel like he needs to rebuild the camaraderie after a disappointing road result.
“There’s not putting our heads down,” Trittschuh said. “I know they were frustrated after that game the other night - it’s not just that game, too - because they know that they could’ve won probably every game we’ve been in. That’s probably the frustrating part, but like I said, there’s a good attitude about the guys.”