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It was a confident Highlander’s team that walked into Centennial Stadium today, and it showed with a 4-1 win over Lane Utd, in their opening game of the PDL soccer season. There was strong opening play from the visitors from Oregon, but the Highlanders drew the first blood in just seven minutes with a perfectly staged goal by Callum Montgomery, from a free kick just outside the penalty box. Two minutes later Owen Pearce scored from the left side to make it 2-0.Some strong offence from Lane Utd tested the Highlanders defence until the third goal from the home team in the 36th minute. Andrew Ofusu, one of the Sheffield F.C. players drafted in for the season, showed superb ball skills as he beat two players and ran around the goalie to score.
Lane’s head coach, John Galas, must have given his players a roasting at half-time, as we saw a different team for most of the second half with a relentless offence testing Simon Norgrove, the Highlanders goalkeeper. Norgrove put up with the pressure well until the 62nd minute when Ismael Fernandez scored for the Lanes. This was the impetus for the Highlanders to pick up their game and in the 81st minute, ex- Plymouth Argyll pro player, Blair Sturrock made it four for the home team.
Despite the victory, head coach Dave Dew wasn’t ecstatic with his team’s performance. “I wasn’t impressed with many aspects and we have some work to do,” he said afterwards. “But Eva and Andrew have just arrived from England and they will bring a different level of play to the team.” The next four games will see the Highlanders face Seattle, Calgary and Portland which Dew know will be challenging. “Every game will be a battle and these are the best teams in the league, but we have 12 days before the next game on May 26 so we have time to prepare.”
Highlanders have four home games in a row coming up - on May 26 against Sounders U-23, June 2 and June 4 against Calgary Foothills FC and on June 18, they face Portland Timbers.