Dick’s Sporting Goods Park — When Switchbacks FC beat Arizona United on June 1, Colorado soccer fans knew they would get to see a Rapids/Switchbacks rematch in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on June 14. Today, both teams top the MLS and USL tables, and they’ve played two fewer games than the next-best teams in their leagues.* These are the two best teams in the country right now, if you’re measuring apples and oranges. The most important measurement for Colorado soccer fans is the Venn Diagram overlap between the teams, an apple-orange fruit salad with huge chunks.
The most intriguing overlap involves Dillon Powers and Nick Cullen (see below).
Switchbacks head coach Steve Trittschuh and assistant Wolde Harris played for the Rapids, and Trittschuh returned as an assistant coach. Davy Armstrong played for the Rapids Development Academy and signed a first-team contract in 2010, but he was released at the end of 2014 and signed with Switchbacks for their inaugural season. Armstrong has been playing extensive minutes for Switchbacks this past month.
The overlap continues…
- Rising Switchbacks forward Miguel Gonzalez joined Rapids training in Commerce City this winter.
- Switchbacks forward Mike Seth played for the Rapids U23 team in 2008.
- Denver-born forward Aaron King played for the Boulder Rapids Reserves in 2004. In 2006, King signed with the Rapids and scored two goals in 10 games for the Rapids Reserves. King became part of the Switchbacks veteran core when he signed last year.
- Switchbacks veteran Luke Vercollone has trained with the Rapids on and off for years, and he founded a mental-strength training company called Pro Performance** with former Rapids defender James Riley and current Switchbacks defender Jordan Burt.
- Vercollone worked with Rapids midfielder Dillon Powers, and now Powers is part of the Pro Performance pool for mentoring young players. Powers is currently mentoring Nick Cullen, a Real Colorado player who will be a Notre Dame freshman in the fall. Continuing cooperation between Real Colorado and Switchbacks FC, Cullen traveled to Arizona for the Round Three game against Arizona United. As soon as the game-day rosters are released, fans will know if they might see a Powers-Cullen on-field matchup.
* With 23 points in 11 games, Switchbacks FC sit second in the USL Western Conference behind Vancouver Whitecaps II (25 points in 13 games). The Colorado Rapids have 28 points in 14 games, tied for FC Dallas (16 games).
** To learn more about Pro Performance, listen to this interview with Riley, Vercollone, and Burt on Current of Colorado.