When Saeed Robinson struck the ball from outside the box that gave the Switchbacks a crucial three points Wednesday night against United Soccer League Western Conference leaders Real Monarchs, he knew his shot was headed for the top corner of the far post, but he couldn’t be certain it would ripple the net.
“When I kicked it, I saw it was going in the corner, but I wasn’t sure if the keeper was going to get it or not,” Robinson said of his game-winner in the 87th minute.
Robinson’s shred of doubt could’ve come from the fact he sat on the bench as his teammates saw goal after goal taken away.
Marty Maybin was the first to be denied by the offside flag in the 29th minute. Just before the half, AJ Ajeakwa ran onto a Kip Colvey cross and powered a header past the Real Monarchs keeper and ripped his shirt off in celebration only to have the flag raised on the far side.
“At half time, I feel like we were doing so good. We got goals, they didn’t get shots on target or anything,” Robinson said. “I was like, ‘Maybe today isn’t our day,’ but eventually we saw that today was our day.”
They would have to wait a little longer to realize as much, as defender Jamal Jack saw a tap-in negated by the flag in the 68th minute on a play the Switchbacks thought was deflected, which would take offsides off the table.
“Let’s just say we battled through a lot of problems tonight, and those guys stuck with it,” said Switchbacks coach Steve Trittschuh, choosing his words carefully. “I give them credit, man, they pulled it out, because it wasn’t easy. They stuck with it.”
The Monarchs nearly took a lead in the 82nd minute when a shot that had Moise Pouaty beaten clanged off the bar.
Some five minutes later, Colorado Springs captain Josh Suggs took a goal kick from Pouaty deep in his own end and played a long vertical pass to Robinson, who used his speed to get onto the pass. Carrying the ball from the center circle allowed a pair of Monarchs defenders to catch Robinson near the top of the box before the Jamaican cut back onto his right foot and let rip.
Robinson’s rocket snapped a two-game skid and put the Switchbacks in 11th place in the conference, five points back of the final playoff spot.
“I was happy that I scored, but I was more happy that we got the three points because we still have a chance to go to playoffs,” Robinson said. “That’s what we want to do.”
Robinson dedicated the goal to his father, Bunny, on the four-year anniversary of his death, according to team commentator Roland Vargish.