The longest winning streak in the history of United States professional soccer rolled into Colorado Springs on Saturday and showed no signs of slowing down.
Phoenix Rising, leaders and the first team to secure a playoff spot in the United Soccer League Championship’s Western Conference, extended their winning streak to 17 games behind a 3-0 win at Weidner Field.
“They were playing as a team and we were playing as individuals,” Switchbacks interim coach Wolde Harris said.
“There’s a noticeable lack of communication. That speaks to the core of the performance that we’re not on the same page.”
It wasn’t the only bit of history made on the night. With his goal in the eighth minute, Solomon Asante set a USL record for most combined goals and assists in a season with 33 and set the club’s mark for goals in the season when he slotted a shot home past an onrushing Andre Rawls, who made his return to the Swtichbacks after spending time with Colorado Rapids, in the eighth minute.
“They’ve got a lot of quality players,” Jordan Schweitzer said. “As far as the game plan goes, I think there were things we were looking to do to nullify that, and we shot ourselves in the foot a bit early on.”
That was an insurance goal after Jose Aguinaga opened the scoring in the fifth minute. Adam Jahn added another goal in the 28th minute, and the visitors took a 3-0 advantage to the break.
The Switchbacks produced a few chances, most notably an Austin Dewing header and an Ish Jome shot from distance, both of which were just off target late in the first half.
The Switchbacks produced the first chance of the second half, but Rony Argueta’s shot was cleared off the goalline before Phoenix keeper Zac Lubin scooped up a hurried shot from Dewing. The Switchbacks kept the pressure on but failed to convert.
“We created four or five clear goal-scoring chances,” Harris answered when asked if there were any positives. “One of those goes in and obviously the energy level gets raised.”
With no goals to celebrate, the loudest cheer from the home supporters came late when Joey Calistri and Aguinaga were shown yellow cards in quick succession.
The Switchbacks were without Abdul Rwatubyaye, a regular centerback, as he’s with the Rwandan national team.
The Switchbacks return to Weidner Field on Saturday when they host USL newcomers Austin Bold for the first time. The Bold beat the Switchbacks 5-0 earlier this season, which marked the final match for former coach Steve Trittschuh.
“We still created some good chances in the second half, so we’ll look at those positives and try and move forward,” Schweitzer said.