Earning a victory against one of the leading contenders for the USL Championship title – and in turn the biggest upset in the league so far this season – could be considered an aberration.
Doing it in back-to-back weeks, defeating the side that entered Saturday on top of the Championship’s Western Conference, certainly should be seen as something more.
With a 4-2 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday night, Monterey Bay F.C. delivered another performance that showed off the resilience and belief the first-year side has found over the past month of the campaign.
There were certainly similarities to Monterey Bay’s victory against Eastern Conference leader Louisville City FC in Week 11 when the visitors stunned the league with a 2-0 victory at Lynn Family Stadium. The Switchbacks came out strongly, taking four of the first five shots in the opening 12 minutes at Cardinale Stadium. After coming through that early stage, though, the hosts found their feet and their form.
“I think we weathered the storm really well,” said MBFC midfielder Sam Gleadle. “And again, same thing as last week in Louisville, they came out hot, but we survived, and we took our chances. So, I think we can be very proud of our game plan and how we stuck to it.”
Monterey Bay F.C. claimed a second significant victory on Saturday night, defeating Western Conference contender Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC for its third win in the past four outings. | Photo courtesy Monterey Bay F.C.
A late first-half goal by Hugh Roberts – the third by the veteran defender this season, already equaling his career-best with the Charlotte Independence in 2019 – gave Monterey Bay a platform going into the halftime break before Gleadle’s second goal in as many games doubled the advantage in six minutes into the second half.
The finish had echoes of Gleadle’s goal against LouCity, as he again combined with Christian Volesky to set up the chance and finish. Against the Switchbacks, James Murphy’s pass into the top of the penalty area was held up well by Volesky before he slipped a pass to Gleadle as the midfielder broke forward before clipping a finish over the advancing goalkeeper.
“Christian and I have been working a lot together in training,” said Gleadle. “Obviously last game in Louisville and now here at home, the same thing happened. We have good movement with each other and know where each other is going to be, so it was good to get another one with him, and good to be at home as well.”
A team as potent in the attacking third as the Switchbacks was going to be difficult to contain all night, and that proved the case as Hadji Barry quickly replied for the visitors only two minutes after Gleadle’s finish. At another point this season, that could have spelt problems ahead for MBFC, but the experience and growth the side has built over the first three months of its existence came back into play, keeping the visitors at bay.
“It’s natural, you’re two up hoping they don’t score and then they do and that gives them a lift,” said Monterey Bay Head Coach Frank Yallop. “We were probably thinking as a group ‘uh oh,’ but I thought we weathered the storm. Of course, there’s going to be a little five-minute spell where they keep pushing at 2-1, but I told [assistant coach] Ramiro [Corrales] on the bench, the game is settling down again and it allowed us to play our game again. They came at us, and we held our own. After that little five-to-ten-minute spell after they scored, I think we came into our own again.”
Monterey Bay F.C.'s Adrian Rebollar and Chase Boone each found the net as their side took a 4-2 victory against Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday night at Cardinale Stadium. | Photo courtesy Monterey Bay F.C.
A third goal by Adrian Rebollar, capitalizing on a loose pass by the Switchbacks in their own half to fire home from long range, before Chase Boone added a fourth in stoppage time with a beautifully taken shot from a narrow angle provided the cushion for the hosts, who have now won three of their past four games overall.
The final goal of the night delivered maybe the biggest roar from another enthusiastic crowd, which has quickly taken to the club as it establishes its credentials at Cardinale Stadium. As a key stretch of games arrives in June – including contests against NorCal rivals Oakland Roots SC and Sacramento Republic FC and another major power in San Antonio on home turf – Gleadle and his teammates are looking forward to the opportunity build on their recent success.
“We have a lot of home games coming up now, so we’re very excited about that,” said Gleadle. “Every game is a big game, but we have some really big ones coming up. San Antonio, Oakland here – big rivalry. I’m expecting the crowd to be here again and be loud. I think it helped us get through it today.”