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Preview: Sporting KC II vs Colorado Springs Switchbacks

Both sides looking for their first wins of 2021.

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Thad Bell

USL Championship Regular Season- Matchday 3

Sporting Kansas City II vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

Friday, May 14, 7:00 p.m. CST

Where: Children’s Mercy Park, Kansas City, KS (closed to public)

How to Watch: ESPN+

Still in search of their first win this season, Sporting KC II will like their chances when the Colorado Springs Switchbacks come to town on Friday night.

SKC II currently sits on one point after opening the season with an away loss in Tulsa before coming home and salvaging a draw against the OKC Energy.

After showing some good play last year, it looks like Tyler Freeman could be one of the breakout stars this season for Sporting II. His goal last week, assisted by Enoch Mushagalusa, was the only goal SKC II have so far from two games this season.

Under manager Paulo Nagamura, SKC II are looking to pick things up and get back to the USL Championship playoffs for the first time since 2018. A win on Friday, against one of the league’s lesser teams, would put them in a promising position this early in the season.

SKC II has a 4-0-1 record against the Switchbacks, although they haven’t met since 2018. The only draw between these two sides came in 2016. Since that draw, SKC II won four straight in the following two years, including a pair of 1-0 wins in 2018.

Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC

Under first-year manager Brendan Burke, Colorado Springs is still looking for their first win of the season. This will be the second match for the Switchbacks, coming from an opening week 3-0 loss against San Antonio FC.

Colorado Springs is coming off a 2020 season where they went 2-7-7 and finished third in Group C. With five goals in 2020, forward Christian Volesky (formerly of SKC, though he played zero games) led the team in scoring before his move to Iceland. Jordan Burt will be the player to watch. The right-back is the club’s second all-time goal scorer with 28 goals in 170 appearances with the club.

The Switchbacks have a pair of former SKC II/SPR players on their roster. First is Dillon Serna, a Colorado Rapids veteran, who led SKC II with four assists in 15 appearances in 2020. He wasn’t in the team for their opener in San Antonio on May 1. On May 7, the Switchbacks announced that Serna had suffered a “long-term lower leg injury” with no timetable for a return.

Former SPR forward Hadji Barry is likely to play in his return. Spending 2018 with SPR, Barry scored a team-leading 19 goals in 35 appearances. He played all 90 minutes in his Switchbacks debut against San Antonio.

Predicted Starting XI

For this week’s starting XI prediction, I went with the same lineup that got the draw last week. McIntosh will look to make up for the goal he let in last week. The rest of the team will look to create and finish their chances.

Final Prediction

While the Switchbacks are ranked ahead of SKC II in the latest Power Rankings, I think it will come down to how well each team can attack. For me, SKC II has a more formidable attack led by Wilson Harris and Tyler Freeman that can become more dangerous if the midfield can link with them more.

For my final prediction, I am going to predict a 1-0 win for SKC II.

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