A new era of Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC football was born on Weidner Field on Saturday night.
The team, which played for the seventh time of the season, christened the new downtown stadium with a 2-2 draw with Orange County SC in front of an estimated 2,200 players. The friendly game was the last exhibition game for the Switchbacks, who ended the preseason 3-2-1.
"It felt like a regular season game to me," said Switchbacks defender Jordan Burt, the club's only member since its inaugural campaign. "When we were training we had cranes here and they finished all the details of the stadium. But seeing the lights on and the fans here was really special. It brings an energy that I really love."
The crowd, made up mostly of subscribers, was full of energy from the start when the Switchbacks hit the field in their new away kits. Team mascot “Ziggy” – a 7-foot goat – threw the crowd into a frenzy after striker Hadji Barry took a 1-0 lead at Switchbacks in the fifth minute after a support from Jose Torres.
Barry scored the team's second goal in the 52nd minute with assistance from Austin Dewing, an Air Academy High School and Air Force Academy alum. The goal broke a 1-1 draw.
"It definitely feels good, especially as a forward for our team," said Barry, the 13th overall winner of Orlando City SC's 2016 MLS SuperDraft. “I want to start the season.
"I thought we played very well, the result doesn't show it."
Switchbacks' freshman coach Brendan Burke felt his club was doing better than the result.
"There were many bright spots, but we would have had to pay (Orange County) several times," he said. “In the end, we paid not to let them pay. I thought there were four or five goals in this game. And that's what we want. "
Before this season, the Switchbacks played their home games across town on the old Weidner Field on Powers Boulevard.
Your new digs are priced at around $ 45 million. The stadium sits at 6,035 feet above sea level, making it the tallest used by an American professional football team.
The Switchbacks open their regular season next Saturday night in Texas at San Antonio FC.