Switchbacks ride strong preseason finish into historically tough fixture in OKC

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC seeking to secure their second win in Oklahoma City vs. the Energy.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC will begin the 2020 USL Championship season on the road at Taft Stadium vs OKC Energy FC. These two clubs have met fourteen times since 2015 with Switchbacks posting an overall record of 5-4-5. That includes a penalty shootout loss in the 2015 USL Playoff quarterfinals. In the away fixtures, the Switchbacks are 1-3-3.

Both sides certainly struggled in the Western Conference last season. While Switchbacks finished last at 18th with 27 points, OKC didn’t fare much better at 15th on 38 points. Despite remaining near the foot of the table, OKC still enjoyed a Top-15 scorer in former MLS veteran forward Deshorn Brown. Brown scored 15 goals and added 1 assist in 30 appearances last season. Brown transferred from OKC to Bengaluru in Indian Super League and continues to score with three goals in six appearances off the bench. In comparison, Switchbacks’ top scorer was defender Jordan Burt with seven goals in 33 appearances.

OKC has done well to replace Brown and improve their options up top. They replaced him with Jaime Chavez from Fresno FC (12 goals, 29 apps) and Frank Lopez (27 goals, 56 apps) who joins from LA Galaxy II, by way of a 14 game loan spell with San Antonio FC last season.

Four players join on loan from Colorado Rapids

Switchbacks have benefited from their new affiliation with MLS side Colorado Rapids by loaning in four players this season. Joining the side are Niki Jackson, Abdul Rwatubyaye, Abraham Rodriguez, and Sebastian Anderson.

Abraham Rodriguez returns to Switchbacks after making 16 appearances last season, including USL Championship Player of the Week award for his league debut at 16 years old. He will be competing for minutes with free agent signing Sean Melvin. Melvin inked a Homegrown Contract with Vancouver Whitecaps in 2018 but never appeared for the side. He did make 21 apps with four clean sheets for Whitecaps 2 in USL.

Abdul Rwatubyaye also returns for a second loan spell in the Springs at center-back. Abdul impressed last season with three goals and one assist in 21 appearances. He logged almost 2,000 minutes in his 21 appearances and his return will provide some welcome roster consistency at the back.

Sebastian Anderson is a Rapids Academy product who signed a Homegrown Contract in 2019. In six appearances at right-back for Rapids, he marked his place in club history as the youngest player to both appear and score.

Forward Niki Jackson also returns to Switchbacks after appearing in four games for the club back in 2018. Jackson has yet to make the score sheet for Switchbacks, but he has three goals in his 20 appearances with Rapids and five goals in 23 loan appearances with Charlotte Independence.

Colorado Springs counting on preseason momentum to carry over into OKC

The squad depth is a little concerning with only 20 players on the roster. However, aside from any injury issues, it should allow for efficient and hopefully productive chemistry. Preseason started out winless with two losses to Louisville City (3-0) and Union Omaha (1-0) and a scoreless draw to Real Monarchs SLC. Then, Switchbacks FC ended the preseason strong with two wins over Air Force Academy (1-0) and Denver University (4-2). This will provide some helpful momentum when they start out their 2020 USL Championship season in a fixture they have historically struggled in.

How to watch OKC Energy vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

You can stream the USL Championship match live on ESPN+ March 7th, 2020 at 6:00pm MT

Join Switchbacks FC independent supporters group Trailheads for a watch party at Overtime Bar & Grill  2809 Dublin Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO

Tickets to Taft Stadium in Oklahoma City, OK are available starting at $12