If Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Rio Grande Valley on Saturday night at Weidner Field is the final meaningful chapter of the Colorado Springs Switchbacks’ season, it came with a fitting ending.
Needing a win and some help from others in the league, the Switchbacks got an early goal and looked poised to add a second before a second-half equalizer saw the two teams split the points in a contest of teams on the outside of the playoff picture.
“We’ve been looking at every game like it’s a must-win,” captain Josh Suggs said. “It’s (expletive) devastating for us to not come out with a win in that game, especially with the amount of chances we had.”
Forward Saeed Robinson gave the hosts an early lead in the eighth minute when he took a pass from midfielder Jordan Schweitzer just outside the corner of the penalty area and curled in a stunning goal to the far post for the second consecutive home match.
Mason Toye had a handful of opportunities to double the lead later in the half, including a 1-on-1 with Rio Grande Valley keeper Michael Nelson just before the half.
“As a quality player, you’re the seventh pick in the draft, you gotta score that goal,” Switchbacks coach Steve Trittschuh said. “But that’s been our season.”
The Switchbacks settled for a 1-0 advantage at the break and had some encouraging buildup play around the hour mark before conceding.
The visitors leveled in the 71st minute when Nicolas Perea headed a Jesus Enriquez cross through the hand of Colorado Springs keeper Moise Pouaty. Enriquez created enough space for the final pass by beating Switchbacks defender Taylor Hunter with a step-over.
“Individual mistakes lead to goals,” Trittschuh said. “Bad one-on-one defending.”
Immediately following the match, the Switchbacks sat 11th in the United Soccer League’s Western Conference, 10 points out of the last playoff spot with four matches remaining.
They were not mathematically eliminated, according to the USL website, but a match where the Switchbacks owned narrow advantages in shots, shots on target and possession produced another frustrating finish.
“It’s 100 percent how the season has gone thus far. It’s like we just don’t put our chances away, and we don’t get results,” Suggs said.
“It’s the same old story.”
The Switchbacks will play their final home game of the 2018 season next Saturday when Phoenix Rising visits Weidner Field.