Editorial (July 22, 2018) – The Colorado Springs Switchbacks are back on track, securing an impressive 4-2 victory over Tulsa Roughnecks FC, their first win in five matches. With only one win of their own so far this season, Tulsa may not look the toughest opposition. But to dust off a well-worn cliché, you have beat what’s in front of you – and the Switchbacks did that convincingly.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks Improvise, Adapt, Overcome
What made the win truly impressive was that they did it from losing position, after Tulsa opened the scoring just 19 minutes in. The Switchbacks have made a habit of conceding sloppy goals early in games this season, something they need to address if they hope to make the playoffs. But after having never won a game from a losing position in almost three seasons – their first instance of bucking that trend being the final game of last season – they’ve now done it twice this year.
The 2018 Switchbacks are a proper head-scratcher. They have crammed several seasons worth of drama into half a season. They’ve experienced two long goal droughts and yet have scored 3 or more goals in almost a quarter of their games. They have the pace to burn in attack and more shots-on-target than only a handful of other teams in the Western Conference but have struggled to score consistently.
They have one of the most miserly defenses in the USL but are prone to individual, costly errors. They have gone toe to toe with teams above them in the table but come up short when facing seemingly weaker opposition; another reason that putting Tulsa to the sword was so important.
In a nutshell, the Switchbacks are competing this season, without really being competitive. They are in every game they play, but too often look like they’re hanging on by their fingernails. That they’ve been inhabiting the final 8th place play-off spot for most of the season feels like the perfect example of this. There or thereabouts. So what needs to happen in this second half of the season for the Switchbacks to take a tighter grip on their own destiny, because this crop of players is certainly capable of that?
Coach Trittschuh, occasionally criticized by fans for not changing things up quickly enough, has responded swiftly to the team’s inconsistent performances of the first half of the season. Sam Hamilton, Kip Colvey, Niki Jackson arrived on loan from the Colorado Rapids.
Colorado native Karsten Hanlin was tempted back to the Centennial State from Real Monarchs to provide additional midfield options. And young Ghanaian forward Nicholas Amoako was upgraded from his position as ‘trialist’, offering more firepower to a spluttering attack.
Additionally, a number of changes have been made to the starting 11 as the coaches search for that winning formula. Very few adjustments were made in the first dozen or so games as the players thought to offer the best chance of victory were given an opportunity to click and win. When that didn’t happen with enough regularity, chances were extended to the likes of Eboussi, Macias, Uzo, and this weekend’s two-goal hero Marty Maybin.
That willingness by Coach Trittschuh and his staff to make adjustments quickly could prove to the key to securing a playoff spot. The players look more on their toes now, believing that their spot is either genuinely in jeopardy if they don’t perform, or if they are currently on the bench that their chance will come. More than anything else, a canny utilization of all of the skills and abilities of what is an excellent Switchbacks roster may be the determining factor as to whether or not this team fulfills its potential.