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Switchbacks veteran Luke Vercollone has had to deal with injuries

By: Garrett Kroeger garrett.kroeger@gazette.com
June 30, 2017 Updated: June 30, 2017 at 10:40 pm
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April 15, 2017; Colorado Springs, CO, USA; Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC midfielder Luke Vercollone (4) chases down a loose ball in the second half against the Real Monarchs SLC at Weidner Field. The Switchbacks FC won 2-1. Credit: Isaiah J. Downing/Switchbacks FC

Luke Vercollone could not catch a break.

First he rolled his ankle and then after almost being 100 percent healthy, Vercollone pulled his gluteus medius. The result: eight weeks on the sideline.

"It was frustrating at first, but then you get used to it," Vercollone said. "Just be patient and just take care of the fitness. The things I can do and focus on, still support the team and cheer them on with the hopes to get out there as soon as I can."

Vercollone made his return to the starting lineup last week in the Colorado Springs Switchbacks 1-0 victory over San Antonio FC. According to Vercollone, the time out caused him to be a little rusty. But after shaking it off, he felt great.

With Vercollone's return to the pitch, the Switchbacks gained another technical player to their lineup.

The 35-year-old midfielder is one of Colorado Springs' most experienced players. Vercollone was the first player to reach 100 games played in the USL and is a two-time captain for the Switchbacks.

"He knows where to go on the field, the timing of the movement," said assistant coach Wolde Harris. "Being a technical player, he held the ball up for us. He allows us to get our attack going."

Colorado Springs takes on the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros on July 1 at Weidner Field.

Last time against the FC Toros, the Switchbacks lost 3-1.

"It's going to be tough because we are not sure what teams they are going to bring," coach Steve Trittschuh said Thursday. "Some of the guys played with Houston last night in the U.S. Open Cup. So we have to prepare basically for two lineups. They are organized team, they attack well, defend well so we have got to be on top of our game."

While which opposing players the Switchbacks will face is still a mystery, Trittschuh believes his squad has improved since they last faced FC Toros.

According to Trittschuh, Colorado Springs' defense is better than last time.

"They'll be tough," Vercollone said of Rio Grande Valley. "They'll be motivated. They will be looking to beat us. They beat us pretty good at their place. But I expect a win for us."

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