Austin Dewing’s first professional soccer goal wasn’t pretty, but he’s not complaining.
The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC forward and Colorado Springs native took a pass from teammate Michee Ngalina seven minutes into their match with Sporting Kansas City II Friday night and used both of his shins to knock the ball past goalkeeper Kendall McIntosh.
As the ball found the back of the net for a 1-0 Switchbacks lead, Dewing’s infectious smile lit up Children’s Mercy Stadium as he was congratulated by teammates.
The Switchbacks went on to win the game 4-0 to even their record at 1-1 as they prepare for next Friday’s home opener.
“It’s an unreal feeling,” Dewing said of his goal. “Michee set me up well and I pretty much threw my body at it. That was a classic goal for me. A shin goal, but they all count the same.”
Dewing, 24, who starred for Air Academy High School before taking his talents up the road to the Air Force Academy, recorded two assists during the abbreviated 2020 campaign. He credited his first goal as a “great team goal.”
“This game tonight is a real testament to all the hard work we’ve been putting in,” said the 5-foot-8, 165-pounder. “This is the kind of team people will see the rest of this season. We have a lot of talented players on this team and that came out tonight.
“This sets the tone going into our home opener at Weidner Field.”
There were many bright spots for the Switchbacks against Kansas City. Forward Hadji Barry scored two goals, the first coming in the 27th minute on a penalty kick. He scored the Switchbacks’ final goal in the 64th minute with Kansas City down one after losing a player to a red card late in the first half.
Barry, a native of Guinea, played for Kansas City in 2018 and set the franchise record for goals in a season with 17.
Ngalina, a native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, scored the Switchbacks’ third goal in the 35th minute on his second try penalty kick. He celebrated by doing five backward flips on the field before he was congratulated by teammates.
The Switchbacks dominated the first half of play, outshooting Kansas City 10-1. The Switchbacks continued to press in the second half with a man advantage, but Kansas City outshot Colorado Springs 10-7 the final 45 minutes.
Andrew Pannenberg made his first start of the season in goal for the Switchbacks and recorded the shutout.
The news wasn’t all good for the Switchbacks as four players – including Dewing and Barry – were forced to leave the game in pain after suffering injuries. Also forced to exit the playing field were midfielder Jose Torres and defender Matt Mahoney. The extent of the players’ injuries won’t be known until later this week.
The victory was especially satisfying for the Switchbacks after losing their season opener on the road at San Antonio, 3-0, on May 1.
The Switchbacks open new Weidner Field on Friday in a 7 p.m. start against New Mexico United.
New Mexico United at Switchbacks
Friday, 7 p.m., AM 1300