Photo courtesy Isaiah J. Downing / Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC
Having reached the USL Cup Playoffs in each of their first two seasons, 2017 was a disappointing year for Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, as the club missed the postseason for the first time in club history. It could have been so different, however, as the Switchbacks fell agonizingly short to miss the by just two points, but a three-game winning streak to end 2017 came too little, too late to jump past either No. 7-seed Tulsa Roughnecks FC or No. 8-seed Sacramento Republic FC.
There were some silver linings to the season, most notably the introduction of Jamaican striker Kevaughn Frater to a much-changed squad. The former Real Monarchs SLC player proved crucial for the Switchbacks as he scored 12 goals to lead the team in the season. There will need to be more improvements in the offseason, in particular defensively after the side conceded more than 50 goals in the regular season, but with Frater and other solid pieces at the heart of the squad there could be promising signs going forward if the core of the team remains together.
Record: 12-12-8, 44pts
Place: Ninth in the Western Conference
Goals For: 52
Goals Against: 51
USL Cup Playoffs: Did Not Qualify
2017 leaders: Kevaughn Frater (12 goals), Josh Suggs (8 assists), Moise Pouaty (97 saves)
Colorado Springs brought in plenty of firepower during the offseason as some key figures departed, and when the Switchbacks were on song they were capable of some impressive displays. The Switchbacks earned home victories against both Real Monarchs SLC and San Antonio FC – a victory that ended SAFC's 14-game undefeated start to the season – as an attack led by Frater and Masta Kacher proved capable of the spectacular on a regular basis. Nine of Colorado Springs' 55 goals in the regular season came from outside the penalty area, tied for the third-most in the league.
The Switchbacks were well on course to make the USL Cup Playoffs approaching the final quarter of the regular season until a 2-0 loss to Real Monarchs SLC on August 12th started a six-match winless streak, which proved fatal to the Switchbacks' postseason chances. Colorado Springs fell out of the top eight as it claimed only two points in a span that saw the side lose at home to the LA Galaxy II, Phoenix Rising FC and the Swope Park Rangers, making the club's three-game winning streak to end the season academic.
A strong run from Masta Kacher opened up the space for a shot from outside the area, which he took perfectly, curling a strike well out of the reach of the keeper to open the scoring against Real Monarchs SLC in a 2-1 victory at Weidner Field on April 15.
A free kick by OKC Energy FC's Jose Barril into the penalty area found Coady Andrews for a close-range header, but Switchbacks goalkeeper Moise Pouaty made a great reflex save to quickly change direction and save at full stretch.