AUSTIN, Texas – A late winner by Collin Fernandez lifted Austin Bold FC to a 2-1 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Wednesday night at Bold Stadium, sending the hosts back into the playoff positions in the Championship’s Mountain Division in the process.
Austin opened brightly and had a good early look at goal in the sixth minute as Collin Fernandez played in Stefano Pinho into the left side of the penalty area for a low shot that was saved by Colorado Springs’ Abraham Rodriguez. Colorado Springs’ first chance came five minutes later as 17-year-old Yaya Toure wove into the left side of the penalty area for a shot that was denied by Austin’s Elliot Panicco, but in the 12th minute Bold FC took the lead as Xavier Baez found Juan Pablo Torres in space in the right channel. Torres cut back onto his left foot and curled a finish into the left corner of the net stylishly to put the hosts ahead.
Colorado Springs looked to respond quickly and created a chance in the 16th minute as Sebastian Anderson’s corner kick from the right found a late-arriving Jordan Burt at the back post for a header that Panicco saved sharply. The Switchbacks leveled just past the half-hour mark, however, as Deshane Beckford delivered a low cross from the left that 16-year-old Darren Yapi clipped up and in at the near post for his first goal in the professional ranks.
The visitors went close to taking the lead six minutes before halftime as Steven Echeverria clipped a shot from 20 yards just over the crossbar, while 20 minutes into the second half Torres looked to add his second of the night for the hosts only to send his effort too close to Rodriguez to seriously test him. Fernandez tested the Switchbacks’ goalkeeper a little more five minutes later with a looping effort to the right side of the net from 25 yards, and with nine minutes to go the midfielder put Bold FC back on top as he tucked home a first-time finish after Alasanne Ates Diouf knifed into the right side of the penalty area before cutting back a pass for Fernandez to slot home.
Fernandez’s goal proved the difference as while Colorado Springs tried to find a reply late on, they were limited in their opportunities. After a late chance in stoppage time fell to Hadji Barry only for the Championship’s leading scorer to send his finish wide of the left post, time ran out for the visitors allowing Austin to claim a vital three points.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Xavier Baez, Austin Bold FC – Baez had the assist on the opening goal and three key passes overall while completing 40 of 46 passes and winning 8 of 13 duels in midfield in a big home victory for his side.
ATX – Juan Pablo Torres (Xavier Baez) 12’
COS – Darren Yapi (Deshane Beckford) 31’
ATX – Collin Fernandez (Alasanne Ates Diouf) 81’