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Oppo Research: 5 Things about Colorado Springs Switchbacks

Hugh Johnson of the Colorado Springs Gazette tells us about the offensive struggles of the Switchbacks, and how Quenzi Huerman's could make an impact on Wednesday.

Quenzi Huerman could trouble the Baby Blues on Wednesday night | Courtesy of Isaiah Dowing and

In this edition of Oppo Research, Hudson River Blue spoke with Hugh Johnson of the Colorado Springs Gazette to learn more about Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, New York City FC II's opponent in the fourth round of the US Open Cup on Wednesday. Here is your NYCFC II vs Colorado Springs preview.

1. Colorado's lackluster attack

Hudson River Blue: Colorado finished fifth in the Western Conference last season but lost to San Antonio in the first round of the USL Championship playoffs. Since then, Colorado have won two games and lost five, and now sit second-to-last in the Western Conference. What led to this backward progression?

Hugh Johnson: It's a difficult question to answer considering Colorado Springs returned so many players from last season. Chief among the Switchbacks' offseason departures was forward Romario Williams, who now plays for Hartford Athletic. He had 15 goals for the club last season. The closest players were Jairo Henriquez and Juan Tejada with six.

The club brought in Ronaldo Damus, who scored 15 goals for now-defunct San Diego Loyal SC last season, as a replacement. But the club hasn't exactly just been able to plug Damus in and get the same result. The Haitian forward has five shots on the season – which is tied for fifth on the team – four of them were on target and he has one goal. That's a far cry from what we're seeing from teams who are near the top of the table in the USL Championship. The Switchbacks need to generate more in their attack. Before the last two weeks, they looked dangerous at times but couldn't finish. Combine that with a defense that conceded two goals in each of the first four matchups and it's not a recipe for success. 

2. Travel shouldn't be a problem

HRB: Colorado will have to fly to New York for the Open Cup tie on Wednesday, how will that affect the team?

HJ: While it's not often that the Switchbacks find themselves on the East Coast, I don't think the travel will bother them that much. If there's anything that could affect the club, it could be the fact they are about to play three games in a week beginning with a home match against El Paso Locomotive Saturday. The team will then travel to New York for the Open Cup Match on Wednesday, then will play at Hartford Athletic next Saturday. Given that the Open Cup match is bookended by a pair of league games, I expect coach Chambers wants to keep his starters fresh. 

3. Maalique Foster is the team's creator

HRB: Romario Williams led Colorado with 15 goals last season and has since moved to Hartford. This season, Ronaldo Damus has three goals, and winger Maalique Foster has three assists. How can this Williams-less offense get going?

HJ: We're starting to see it now as the team has built confidence against Oakland Roots SC and Indy Eleven. Saturday's match against bottom-of-the-table El Paso is huge. If the Switchbacks can continue playing well, score some goals, and earn another three points, they'll come into a busy week with a lot of momentum. Foster's decision-making in the 18 last week was the best it's been all season. He just has to be decisive in the final third, take his chances, and find trailers where possible like he did against Oakland.

4. The X-Factor: Quenzi Huerman

HRB: What’s the X-factor that could decide this game?

HJ: Quentin "Quenzi" Huerman. He's a forward who has been in and out of the starting lineup for Colorado Springs. He has seven shots on goal (two on target) this season. He nearly had a goal on an attempt from beyond the 18 against San Antonio earlier in the year. Despite being just 23 years old, he displays a poise and professionalism that is beyond his years. 

5. Predicted score, Starting XI

HRB: Prediction time: Starting XI? Final score?

HJ: This is a pure guess. Forwards: Juan Tejada, Quenzi Huerman, Alex Andersson. Midfielders: Marco Rios, Steven Echevarria, Dillon Clarke. Defenders: Duke Lacroix, Delentz Pierre, Koa Santos, Wahab Ackwei. Goalkeeper: Joe Rice. It will be 3-2 COS after extra time.