Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and its fans will welcome San Antonio FC to Weidner Field on Friday night for a top-two clash in the Western Conference at Weidner Field. | Photo courtesy Ethan Mito / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
The top two teams in the USL Championship’s Western Conference will square off for the first time this season on Friday night in downtown Colorado Springs, part of a two-game slate of action that also brings a crucial game between two games sitting below the Western Conference playoff line after differing recent fortunes.
Here’s a look ahead to the action.
Venue: Weidner Field
Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor: COS 34%, SA 40%, Draw 26%
The Lowdown: First-placed Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC plays host to second-placed San Antonio FC on Friday night with the teams separated by two points as they meet at Weidner Field. The Switchbacks are off to the second-best 13-game start in a USL Championship season with 33 points after earning a 4-3 victory against Indy Eleven last Saturday night that saw Michee Ngalina score a pair of goals and Hadji Barry notch a goal and assist in a thrilling contest on their home turf. The Switchbacks are now tied for the league-lead with 31 goals this season, with only the 2017 Real Monarchs SLC squad that began the campaign 12-1-0 for 36 points having made a better start to a campaign. That will get challenged by a San Antonio side that is off to its second-best start to a season in club history, and that dominated Colorado Springs in their series a season ago. SAFC was held to a 1-1 draw last Saturday night by Oakland Roots SC at Toyota Field but has taken seven of its 10 wins so far this campaign on the road. Last year, San Antonio took a win and a draw on its visits to Colorado Springs while winning both games at home, leaving Colorado Springs looking for its first win in the series since a 1-0 win on March 23, 2019 this time around.
Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC – Cam Lindley: For a second consecutive outing, Lindley will face one of his former clubs. After notching an assist in Colorado Springs’ victory against Indy, he’ll be aiming to pull the strings against an SAFC side he recorded 57 chances created for last season.
San Antonio FC – Santiago Patiño: The Colombian recorded a hat trick in the first meeting between these sides last season, and then got sent off alongside Michael Edwards in a June clash at Weidner Field. Patiño will be aiming to have a positive impact for the visitors.
Venue: Cashman Field
Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET
538.com Predictor Odds: LV 31%, PHX 45%, Draw 24%
The Lowdown: Las Vegas Lights FC will try to add to a recent two-game winning streak and claim its second win this season against Phoenix Rising FC as the side clash again at Cashman Field. Las Vegas rallied to take a 2-1 victory on the road against San Diego Loyal SC last Sunday afternoon as the forward duo of Danny Trejo and Cal Jennings each found the net at Torero Stadium. The pair have now scored in consecutive games, moving Trejo to eight goals this season – tied for second in the Championship – with Jennings sitting on five goals this campaign and 24 regular-season goals for his career in the league. Trejo was on target when Lights FC last hosted Phoenix on March 19 in a 2-1 win that also saw Alvaro Quezada score for the hosts before Claudio Repetto scored late for Phoenix. While Lights FC has won consecutive games, however, Rising FC has lost three in a row as it arrives in Nevada after a 4-3 defeat to Loudoun United FC last Saturday at Segra Field. It’s the first three-game losing streak Phoenix has experienced since the conclusion and start of the 2016 and 2017 Championship regular seasons, and a fourth loss would be the first since 2016, prior to the club’s transformative ownership change and rebrand before the 2017 season. With a 4-2-2 record overall in prior visits to Las Vegas, Phoenix will be eager to turn things around and move back above the playoff line with a win.
Las Vegas Lights FC – Frank Daroma: The central midfielder has been a consistent presence for Lights FC and his ability to shift play and win possession will be key against a strong Rising FC midfield unit.
Phoenix Rising FC – Aodhan Quinn: The veteran playmaker notched a pair of goals against Loudoun United FC to move to 39 regular-season tallies for his career. Quinn’s next goal will make him only the second player to reach 40 regular season goals and assists in league history.