Highlanders FC (3W-0D-5L) posted a 1-0 win over Lane United FC (2W-4D-5L) in their first of three Premier Development League (PDL) matches in four days, June 29 at Willamlane Center in Oregon.
Highlander Sho Goto added to his team-leading goal total with his fourth in as many games, while goalkeeper Simon Norgrove captured his second clean sheet win of the year. Striker Fabian Kurimata made his Highlanders debut Thursday and was a target man for the Victoria side on several rushes throughout the match.
Norgrove was called upon early, making a handful of key saves in the opening minutes of play to keep the game scoreless.
“We weathered the storm in the first half a bit,” Highlanders head coach Dave Dew said. “Simon saved our butt. But Fabian caused them concerns as well and once we figured out some shape issues in first half things were a lot better.”
Kurimata looked lively in his first game since joining the team earlier in the month, and was responsible for the Highlanders’ top two chances in the first half off the left wing. Neither side would break the deadlock, however, heading to the break in a 0-0 tie.
Victoria made their first changes of the match just after the hour-mark of the second half, with midfielders Eva Batousal and Aidan Moore checking in for their first action of the road trip.
“To be fair, Eva was the best he has been all year in tonight’s match, as well as Aidan,” Dew added.
Victoria broke the deadlock on 76 minutes, as Kurimata was brought down just outside the top of box, setting up a dangerous free kick for the visitors. Goto’s perfectly placed strike curled into the top corner of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Lane’s attack would not be able to find an equalizer, as Victoria would go on to capture the 1-0 win and open up their three-match road trip with three points.
Both teams meet again Saturday, July 1, where the Highlanders will look to sweep the three-match season series. Kick-off is set for 12:30 p.m. For more information, please visit www.highlandersfc.ca.