The black remained the same but the blues typically seen at Weidner Field were replaced by a bold yellow Saturday.
With the Switchbacks able to host up to 1,000 fans throughout the season and New Mexico unable to play in front of its supporters due to the state’s coronavirus guidelines, Colorado Springs’ ownership group offered Weidner Field to United’s supporters.
“It’s a unique year, and on the field, we’re competitors,” Switchbacks FC club president Nick Ragain said at halftime of Saturday’s match. “Off the field, we’re partners. When it comes to being partners it’s ‘Hey, how do we grow the game, how do we grow the league, how do we grow the sport?’ This is part of that.”
An in-game announcement claimed 878 people made the trip from New Mexico. Their presence was felt, seen and heard.
“Today was truly inspirational, to be brutally honest,” Colorado Springs coach Alan Koch said in a statement before opening his media availability. “It’s my first time that I’ve coached in front of the New Mexico fans. It’s pretty unique to play a home game that really was an away game. True testament and kudos to your entire club for what you’re building. That’s very, very impressive, and I hope that continues to grow.”
Supporters waved flags, hung posters celebrating their players and staff along the east stands and chanted “Somos Unidos,” among other things, throughout the match.
“I think it was great,” Switchbacks goalkeeper Abraham Rodriguez said. “They brought a lot of atmosphere, a lot of fans. I guess they left unhappy.”
“It was a good atmosphere,” Switchbacks midfielder Rony Arugeta said. “New Mexico, they have a good fan base. It was exciting for us to feel that good atmosphere, so it was a battle. It’s always a battle against New Mexico.”
This battle was quite different with the Switchbacks conceding their home-field advantage, but 2020 has been a season unlike any previous in Colorado Springs.
“It’s just one of those years where we got to help each other out wherever there’s opportunities to,” Ragain said.