COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and El Paso Locomotive FC each had chances, but the top two sides entering the night in the USL Championship’s Mountain Division ended in a 0-0 draw at Weidner Field as Locomotive FC maintained its nine-point lead at the top of the division.
Locomotive FC sprang out of the gate quickly and went close to taking the lead in just the second minute as Diego Luna picked up possession in midfield and picked out a pass for Josue Aaron Gomez that allowed the forward to drive into the penalty area for a near-post shot that was parried away by Colorado Springs goalkeeper Sean Melvin. The visitors threatened again two minutes later as off a half-cleared corner kick Luis Solignac fired a volley from 25 yards that went side of the left post.
The Switchbacks’ first good look at goal arrived in the 12th minute as Sebastian Anderson floated in a free kick from the right channel that Matt Mahoney headed wide of the left post, but El Paso created more good chances as the opening half went on. Anderson had to be alert in the 22nd minute to block a shot by Gomez, and after the carom off the defender went back to the forward he clipped a cross from the left side of the penalty area that found Luna for a half-volley that went just over the crossbar from 14 yards.
Luna had another chance five minutes before halftime as after he delivered a cross from the right, the ball came back to him as Solignac was unable to control cleanly, setting up a shot that Melvin parried and then recovered on the second attempt. Gomez also carved out a shot for Chapa Herrera shortly before the break, but his effort went high as the game remained scoreless at halftime.
Colorado Springs opened the second half more brightly and in the 51st minute a lifted ball upfield was held up by Thomas Amang at the top-left edge of the penalty area before he laid a pass back for Deshane Beckford, whose shot was handled by El Paso goalkeeper Logan Ketterer. A few minutes later Solignac tried another long-range effort for the visitors that went over the crossbar, but the Switchbacks threatened strongly again just past the hour mark as Hadji Barry was played into space on the right. After his cross was deflected it came to Anderson, who went for a volleyed finish that went toward Amang near the left post for a redirection header that Ketterer just kept out.
Ketterer had to be sharp again in the 67th minute as a turnover in the El Paso half saw the hosts work possession to the right and to the feet of Barry, whose low shot to the near post was saved. Locomotive FC then might have taken the lead as a well developed piece of possession working the ball across to the left flank allowed Eder Borelli to deliver a back-post cross that Gomez headed wide of the right upright.
The sides continued to go back and forth as the game entered the final 20 minutes, with Barry sending a low ball through the six-yard area from a narrow angle on the right after creating a yard of space inside the penalty area to try and find the target. The Championship’s leading scorer also fired over the crossbar from the right side of the box with seven minutes to go after he brought down a long ball forward by Andre Lewis, but there would be no late winner for either side as they ended all square for a second time this season.
USLChampionship.com Man of the Match
Sebastian Anderson, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Anderson had a solid game on the right side for the hosts, completing 34 of 41 passes and recording three key passes while defensively winning 4 of 6 duels and making two clearances.