The Switchbacks are finally making a move.
Ish Jome received a pass at the top-left edge of the box, took two touches and fired a curler to the bottom right corner of the net.
Fans erupted in cheers as the ball snuck past the fingertips of diving OKC Energy goalkeeper Cody Laurendi. It was all the home club needed Saturday night.
Colorado Springs (6-12-2) earned a 1-0 victory over the Energy (6-7-8) at Weidner Field. Interim manager Wolde Harris’ club earned three points, enough to maintain its position in the Western Conference standings.
This means a shot at the playoffs is more visible than before.
“We know we are in a hole right now, but we have to keep fighting,” Jome said. “The coaches preach consistency. We just have to keep that going forward.”
Even though the Switchbacks are still at the bottom portion of the conference, they are only six points away from moving past elimination and into the 10th seed with 14 games remaining.
It also helps that, after four-straight losses, Colorado Springs has put together back-to-back victories — something that resonates with Harris, since he said one week ago the Switchbacks were just two wins away from a realistic chance at moving into playoff contention.
Well, Harris got the job done.
But there’s much more work to do.
“It has to be consistency in our approach, energy, effort and training,” Harris said. “One of the things we are working on is being mentally and physically ready to do the things needed to improve.”
One hour before the original start time, a flash flood warning went into effect for the area surrounding Weidner Field, but the rain and lightning cleared by 6:45 p.m. after a 45-minute delay.
However, the precipitation that left the pitch soaked was a factor for both teams.
“For us, my message was not to let anything distract them,” Harris said. “We just had to be better with the ball because of the surface. We made sure that wouldn’t be an excuse for us not to perform well.”
The first true scoring chance came on Jome’s shot from distance, but the ball rebounded off the crossbar to keep the game scoreless at the 33-minute mark. A slew of opportunities followed for the Switchbacks in the first half, capped off by header from center back Abdul Rwatubyaye that just went over the net.
A back-and-forth affair was maintained through the second half until Jome, a left-footed player, scored with his right foot at the 51-minute mark.
“I’ve worked on my right foot a lot,” Jome said. “Earlier in my career, I wasn’t very good with my right. I’ve practiced that shot a lot. I knew if I got it that I’d do a little move and shoot it.”
From that point on, it was all defense for the Switchbacks, and there was just enough of it to secure a 1-0 victory — continuing to push for the playoffs.
Goalkeeper Andre Rawls made four saves and was named man of the match.
The Switchbacks travel to Greater Nevada Field for a July 27 match against Reno 1868, the second-best team in the conference with an 11-4-5 record with 38 points. Reno is paced by Corey Hertzog, who has nine goals and four assists in 19 games.
Colorado Springs fell to visiting Reno, 2-0, on April 13.