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Switchbacks right back Jordan Burt looks for an open pass during the game against San Antonio FC at Weidner Field in Colorado Springs, Saturday, March 23, 2019. (Photo by Kelsey Brunner/The Gazette)

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There’s not much related to Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC that Jordan Burt is unfamiliar with as the only player to don the black and blue for all five of the club’s seasons, but even the 2019 captain needed a refresher on the Four Corners Cup.

The Four Corners Cup is a new, season-long competition created by the supporters groups of the United Soccer League Championship teams in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona. It was made possible with New Mexico United joining the league this season. 

Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. game at Phoenix Rising will mark the Switchbacks’ first match in the new competition. The Rising and United drew 3-3 to kick off cup action on March 16.

While he didn’t know the ins and outs of the format, Burt seemed to like the idea.

“If we can get a little more motivation behind it, why not,” Burt said, noting the Switchbacks haven’t exactly developed a true rival in five seasons.

Switchbacks coach Steve Trittschuh agreed.

“It’s good to have some type of competition between that, because if you look at it, we really don’t have … I guess you could look at the Monarchs as kind of our rival since they’re so close, but there’s not really a rivalry there,” Trittschuh said. “I guess if they can start something like that it’s going to be kind of cool.”

Additionally, Burt noted the quality of each team. New Mexico sports a strong roster in its first season featuring former Switchbacks Josh Suggs, Kevaughn Frater and Sam Hamilton. Phoenix played in the USL Cup final last year before Didier Drogba opted to hang up his boots, and Real Monarchs finished three points back of Phoenix last season, settling for fourth in the Western Conference.

“If you can win the Four Corners, I think you’re going to be doing good in the league,” Burt said. “And I think that’s probably the most important thing.”

It’s been a good week of preparation, Trittschuh said. The Switchbacks took some confidence out of a scrimmage against the Rapids and even got to prepare for the expected conditions in Phoenix with a warm week in the Springs.

“We had a good showing there,” the coach said. “It’s been a good week.”

A win in the club’s first Four Corners Cup match would continue a positive start to the season for the Switchbacks, which sit on six points through three matches.

“It’s cool that the supporters are doing it. It’s great to have our supporters and then the league growing. It’s all positive,” Burt said.

“I think as players we can get behind it.”

Switchbacks shakeup starting 11

After coming on as a second-half substitute in each of the first three matches, it looks like Matt Hundley will get his first professional start Saturday as Saeed Robinson is not expected to be ready after picking up a minor injury in last week’s win over San Antonio.

Additionally, goalkeeper Steward Ceus is still not completely healed from an injury that’s prevented his season debut, though he was getting some work in at Thursday’s practice.

Andre Rawls is expected to get his third start in goal for the club, while on loan from the Rapids. After starting the last two matches at center back, Kofi Opare returned to the Rapids.

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