A Hailstorm materialized out of nowhere at Weidner Field on Wednesday.
The Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC were stunned 1-0 in extra time by the Northern Colorado Hailstorm in the first competitive match in club history for the Windsor-based team.
The Hailstorm were even shorthanded for most of the night after a red card was given to Irvin Parra in the 25th minute for an elbow, followed by a blow to the face of a Switchbacks player.
The Switchbacks withstood several early chances from their feisty new opponent that will soon open play in USL League One – a step below Colorado Springs’ USL Championship designation – and then they seized that 11-on-10 advantage to dominate play.
The first half alone saw Colorado Springs possess the ball 69 percent of the time and lead 11-4 in shots. That disparity grew in the second half, with the Switchbacks finishing with a 73%-27% lead in possession time and 25-9 advantage in shots.
But none of that impacted the score.
Yesin Van Der Pluijm missed to the left. Triston Hodge fired one off the post. Steven Echevarria’s header nearly found the back of the net. Kharlton Belmar misfired. Shot after shot, just a bit too high or wide.
Then on a windy, chilly night in the second round of the single-elimination Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the Hailstorm started punching back.
Lachlan McLean forced Switchbacks keeper Christian Herrera into the save of the night when he turned away a shot in the upper right corner of the box in the 89th minute. On the corner kick that followed, McLean nearly connected with a header.
The goal came in the sixth minute of extra time after the teams played to a scoreless tie in regulation.
The ball was played in to McLean, who centered it to a sprinting Jerry Desdunes for the first tally in club history.
Northern Colorado goalkeeper Danny Faundez turned away multiple shots from Colorado Springs following the goal, as the game went on for an additional 24 minutes. The best look came from Macauley King in traffic.
The Switchbacks, who at 4-0 are off to the best start in USL Championship, played the match without two of its star players – Hadji Barry and Michee Ngalina.