Victoria Highlanders FC head to the mainland for the first-ever meeting with Premier Development League (PDL) expansion side TSS FC Rovers tonight at Swangard Stadium, Burnaby at 7:00 p.m. The pair of weekend matches between both sides also signal the return of the supporter-driven Juan De Fuca Plate competition, which was last contested in 2014.
It’s been an interesting inaugural season for the Rovers, who sit in the basement of the PDL’s Northwest Division table. Although unbeaten at Swangard, the team has struggled to keep the ball out of their own goal, conceding a division-high 20 goals against, while converting 11 through nine matches played. Daniel Davidson leads the team in scoring, tallying three of his team’s eleven goals. Teammate Zachary Verhoven has also contributed on the attack, with a pair of goals and assists to his name. Between the woodwork, Goalkeeper Andrew Hicks has shouldered the duties between the woodwork all season, making 52 saves with a .722 save percentage.
The Highlanders will be looking to reverse their fortunes in their first road trip of the season. A number of close defeats to marquee teams within the division has seen the team slip from the PDL’s Western Conference Power Rankings and down the division table to sit just above the sixth-placed Rovers. Tinkering by head coach Dave Dew through the opening five matches of the year has seen a varying number of different lineups take to the pitch at Centennial Stadium, with scoring spread out among six different players. Victoria native Simon Norgrove leads Victoria’s ‘keepers with four matches played, while teammate Yuichiro Hayami stepped into goal against Calgary Foothills two weeks ago.
The match marks the return of the supporter-led Juan de Fuca Plate competition, honouring the top PDL team in British Columbia. Last competed for—and won by the Highlanders—in 2014, the Plate winner is determined by the winner of head-to-head matches between the Highlanders and Rovers during the course of the regular season. Should the teams split the spoils in this weekend’s two matches, the two team’s final regular season match against each other at Centennial Stadium on July 9 will be the determining contest for Plate glory.
“It should be an exciting weekend of matches for both teams,” Highlanders FC head coach Dave Dew remarked. “The return of the Juan de Fuca Plate competition and a chance to play on the road for the first time this year will hopefully give our team some extra incentive to get a pair of positive results on the weekend.”
The Highlanders are currently (1W-0D-4L).
The game will be live streamed from the Swangard Stadium. Victoria fans can tune into the Live Stream by visiting www.highlandersfc.ca.