MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Kyle Murphy’s ninth goal of the season earned Memphis 901 FC a point late on in a 1-1 draw with Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Wednesday night in the USL on ESPN Game of the Week at AutoZone Park. Colorado Springs’ Hadji Barry had scored his 16th goal of the season in the first half as each side found the net from the penalty spot in the first meeting between the clubs in their histories.
Looking to rebound from defeat in its last outing, 901 FC had a pair of early chances to break the deadlock. The first came in just the third minute as midfielder Leston Paul controlled after the Switchbacks failed to properly clear a chance allowing the ball to remain in the attacking third where he controlled and shot just wide of the left post. The second came two minutes later as Kadeem Dacres’ corner kick from the right was headed on target by Skylar Thomas but was comfortably saved by Colorado Springs’ Sean Melvin.
The game settled down from there as neither side create much in the way of chances, but Switchbacks took the lead 10 minutes before halftime as Barry added to his lead in the Championship’s race for the Golden Boot. The goal came from the penalty spot as Thomas underhit an attempted pass back to the goalkeeper that allowed Andre Lewis to steal in on goal, where he was brought down by Memphis goalkeeper Brady Scott. Barry stepped up and shot low to the left corner to convert, moving to 5 of 5 on the season from the spot.
Memphis had a chance to level two minutes before the halftime break as Michael Salazar directed a header off a corner from the left by Dacres toward the near post only for Melvin to get across and turn the effort around the upright. Deshane Beckford also had a chance in stoppage time for the Switchbacks but sent his finish wide of the right post after a neat pass between defenders in the right channel from Jordan Burt that sent the Jamaican in for a free look on goal, but Colorado Springs headed to the break one up.
Beckford then played set up a chance for Barry to notch his second eight minutes into the second half with a pass that was deftly flicked on by Lewis inside the penalty area that the Guinean forward controlled before driving to create space for a narrow-angle shot that Scott turned wide of his right post. Memphis, meanwhile, continued to threaten from set pieces as game progressed and Niall Logue headed just over the crossbar off a corner from the right by Dacres midway through the half.
The Switchbacks had a big chance to add a second with 13 minutes to go as Beckford intercepted a pass in midfield and set off on a counterattack, but he elected to pass to his left to try and set up Michee Ngalina for a finish that Scott denied to keep it a one-goal game. That proved key with six minutes to go as the hosts were awarded a penalty kick – and Switchbacks defender Jimmy Ockford was sent off for his second yellow card – for a foul in the box that Murphy converted to the left corner to level the game.
That proved to be the final major chance for either side as Memphis pushed but couldn’t take find a winner with its numerical advantage in the closing stages. The result left both side’s playoff chances finely poised as they remained in the same positions they began the day in their respective divisions.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Andre Lewis, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Lewis drew the penalty that led to the goal for the visitors and was lively otherwise, completing 17 of 23 passes and winning 7 of 11 duels while making nine recoveries in midfield.
COS – Hadji Barry (Penalty Kick) 35’
MEM – Kyle Murphy (Penalty Kick) 84’