Real Monarchs came to Colorado Springs and got some revenge against a short-handed Switchbacks FC’s side Saturday night at Weidner Field.
Two weeks after Abdul Rwatubyaye’s stoppage-time header helped the Switchbacks to a draw on the road, Taylor Peay scored the game-winner in the third minute of stoppage time to send the Monarchs back to Utah with three points via a 2-1 victory.
“It’s incredibly frustrating,” Switchbacks coach Alan Koch said. “I can say everything I want about building, which we are, trying to go in the right direction, which we are, but to concede in the 90-plus minute and lose the game is incredibly frustrating, but there is a lot of positives.”
Rwatubyaye was nowhere to be found Saturday or at training the day before. Koch said that Rwatubyaye and midfielder Will Vint are away from the team but would not confirm either tested positive for COVID-19.
“They are following medical protocol,” Koch said. “Obviously we have some regulations and rules they have to follow.”
Without Rwatubyaye, the Switchbacks started Arturo Diz Pe and Kris Reaves together at center back with Jordan Burt at right back and Joan Cervos on the left side. Reaves, who made his first start since a brutal leg injury suffered at the end of last season, was whistled for a penalty inside the box, which gave the visitors a lead late in the first half after Jake Blake converted from the spot. Diz Pe was shown a yellow card in stoppage time for a tackle that broke up a Monarchs counterattack. Blake’s ball found a friendly head at the back post, and Peay was able to get to the second ball and finish for the late winner.
“I think the biggest thing for a back four is continuity and we haven’t had that,” Koch said. “We’ve played four games with completely different back fours in every single game. Hopefully we can start to get some sort of continuity and allow the guys to get more and more comfortable playing together.”
Austin Dewing, George Lebese and Arturo Diz Pe had solid efforts saved before the Monarchs opened the scoring. Lebese later scored his first goal in the United Soccer League after the Switchbacks were awarded a penalty just before the hour mark, leveling the game at 1.
“I’m happy to have gotten a goal today, but it means nothing, honestly, for me because we didn’t get anything out of the game,” Lebese said. “If I hadn’t scored and we got the points, it means something to me. I would be very happy, but it’s just one of those games.”
Darren Yapi, a 15-year-old Colorado Rapids academy player, made his professional debut late in the game and almost got to a dangerous ball in the final minutes but failed to produce a scoring opportunity.
“We have really good talent, really good players,” Rony Argueta said. “Physically we’re there as well. It comes down to, I think, concentration in the last few minutes.”
Concentration was a word used by Koch, Argueta and Lebese to describe what went wrong Saturday night.
“The mental fortitude at the end to finish off a game, we showed it two weeks ago at Salt Lake to get a point,” Koch said. “We didn’t show it tonight.”