After taking last weekend off, the Orange County Blues are back in action on Wednesday evening, as they host USL expansion side Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC at Anteater Stadium.
The Switchbacks are also coming off a bye of sorts, as inclement weather postponed their game last weekend. And they are in similar form to the Blues at present. They've shown a propensity to do pretty well in shootouts, something the Blues haven't really been in yet this season.
Given the way the table is pretty tight in the West, every result makes a big difference. If the Blues win tonight, they move to first place, at least until the weekend. If the Switchbacks win, they'd either be right above or below the Blues in the standings. So this is a pretty important game for playoff positioning.
Amidst the many expansion teams to enter the league this season, the Switchbacks had probably the lowest amount of buzz nationally, though they seem to be settling in on the local level pretty well. Their go-to guy so far has been veteran Luke Vercollone, and the preview materials I've seen have cast him as the counterpart to the Blues' Didier Crettenand, providing leadership, locking down the midfield and also scoring and setting up teammates on the offensive side of the ball. If he's having a good night, Colorado Springs as a whole is probably having a good night.
Besides him, the Switchbacks have built their roster with a combination of local guys and lower league veterans. Devala Gorrick seems to have nailed down the starting goalkeeper job, and guys like Mike Seth, Aaron King, and Shintaro Harada have become regulars in their respective positions. Despite flying under the radar, this team looks like it could give some competitors a run for their money this season, and hopefully the Blues will be fully focused on the task at hand.
So what will the outcome be of this game? We'll have to wait until this evening to find out.
Tale of the Tape:
OC Blues: 12 points (4-2-0), 4th place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: 6 (11/5); Last five matches: W-L-W-W-W
Colorado Springs Switchbacks: 9 points, (3-3-0), 8th place in Western Conference; Goal Difference: 1 (10/9); Last five matches: W-L-W-W-L
How to Watch:
The game kicks off at 7:30 pm PT. Tickets are still available for the match, or you can watch it, live or on demand, on YouTube. Here's the game video for your convenience:
What do you think? Leave a comment below!