COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KXRM) — On paper, it was a disappointing loss for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday against a team that hadn’t registered a victory since mid-July.
The Switchbacks (9-7-5) had a chance to strengthen its hold on second place in the Mountain Division, but instead lost 3-2 at New Mexico United, which caused a traffic jam from second to sixth place.
“(New Mexico United) is a very good team with a very deep roster,” Switchbacks head coach Brendan Burke said. “I think it was a case of us being a little flat. We weren’t ourselves. If we’re at our best, we’re probably a better team. We did rest a couple guys to try to be sharp for this homestand, but the reality is we weren’t even close to good enough, and they started fast. When a team scores three minutes in, you know you weren’t ready to play.”
Switchbacks defender Matthew Mahoney, who has started 18 of the 20 games he’s appeared this season, didn’t play at all in Albuquerque. Thomas Amang has started just four games for Colorado Springs, but began on the field in each of the last two contests.
Colorado Springs (32 pts) is now just four points ahead of New Mexico United (28 pts), with San Antonio FC (31 pts), Rio Grande Valley FC (30 pts), Austin Bold FC (29 pts) right in the mix.
“We’re in a good spot in the standings but it has been an exhausting year with travel and quick succession,” Burke said. “It’s important to grind through this period and give as much energy we can muster so that when we come into October, we’re in a good position to qualify for the playoffs. That’d be a major step forward for the club.”
With just 11 games left on the schedule, every point gained or lost will be magnified for the Switchbacks. Mix that with suiting up for three games in the next seven days, and creative minute distribution will be just as important for the coaching staff as the on-field game plan.
“Games come fast,” Burke said. “We’d like them to be more spread out but to be at home is great and to be in second place in the division at this point of the year is critical. We’ve put ourselves in a great position to capture as many points as we can at home.”
Kickoff at Weidner Field for the Switchbacks and Real Monarchs SLC Wednesday is set for 7 p.m.