Colorado Springs Switchback FC Open Weidner Field With Loss

Weidner Field

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The wait is finally over! Weidner Field is open for business. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC hosted their first USL Championship home match on Friday night at their new stadium.

Colorado Springs Switchback FC Open Weidner Field With Draw

The Switchbacks and their supporters felt excitement, and some nerves, when it was announced that their first home league game would be against nemesis New Mexico United.

With changes made by local governance in the days leading up to the Friday game, the Black and Blue would be able to fill Weidner Field to 70% capacity, totaling 5,600 fans out of a possible 8,000. The limited capacity crowd proved to be a club attendance record.

Walking up to the stadium, I could feel the energy. There was a long line of fans at the east side entrance. Fans filled their seat well before the players took the field for warm ups. Despite the limited crowd, this is the best atmosphere I experience at a USL game.

The start of the game lived up to the hype. Colorado Springs came out with great energy, pressing the New Mexico backline and being aggressive in their forward passing.

Jubilation struck just 70 seconds in. Building out of the back quickly, Austin Dewing played Haji Berry in behind. The in form striker went at goal and beat goalkeeper Alex Tambakis at the far post. The goal was scored in south end of the stadium, right in front of the Trailheads Supporters Group.

The first half continued to be energetic with both teams playing positively. NMU made it 1-1 through Sergio Rivas in the 11th minute. Michael Edwards cleared a wide cross right to him and he bent the ball past everyone. Zach Zandi hit the post three minutes later.

Colorado Springs were the better side at halftime, despite it being tied 1-1.

New Mexico’s halftime adjustments paid off. Their spacing was better, allowing them to pass up field as the Switchbacks press let off. That led to more chances and the winning goal in the 49th minute. Amando Moreno had a flick on at the goal mouth, set up by Brian Brown.

The home side had life as the crowd got nervous and less intense minutes later. Andrew Tinari was given a second yellow card for a tactical foul.

Down ten men, New Mexico set up shop. The Switchbacks pored it on in the final 15 minutes but were unable to find a winning goal as the team ran out of gas. Haji Berry had two golden chances in stoppage time but couldn’t finish.

New Mexico scored in the final minute on a banger off a breakdown in the back. Daniel Bruce blasted it into the bottom corner. The match ended 3-1.

Three Takeaways:

Experience and quality win the day: NMU has dominated this fixture historically. They’ve shown their quality their entire existence. That was evident in the second half, especially when they went down a man.

Soccer in the Springs is here to stay: This game was still a momentous event as the Switchbacks open up a new era for soccer in the Olympic City. I was so happy the home side scored a and the first goal.

Thank you Dewing: Austin Dewing played his final game for the club in this game. A graduate of the Air Force Academy, he is being deployed.

Photo taken by Matt Pollard.