Victoria Highlanders FC (1-4-0) dropped a thrilling match by a score of 3-2 to Juan De Fuca Plate rival TSS FC Rovers (2-1-1) on May 27 at Centennial Stadium. An enthusiastic home crowd was on hand to witness a four-goal first half as both teams went back-and-forth on the scoresheet.
Victoria’s Cam Hundal and Cory Bent registered goals for the home side, while Eric de Graaf, Connor Glennon, and Thomas Gardner registered the goals for visiting Rovers.
Sunday’s match started with the visiting Rovers finding the back of the net early following a superb save from Highlander’s netminder Nolan Wirth. No. 4 Eric de Graaf pounced on an opportunity, putting the visitors up 1-0 at 11-minutes.
Highlanders pushed for an equalizer immediately. Victoria’s Cam Hundal had a great effort stopped by TSS’s Mario Gerges. The home side’s efforts were rewarded on 41-minutes, when Hundal found space to slot away a ball to make it 1-1.
The scoring in the half didn’t end there. TSS’s Glennon responded in the 42nd minute to take the 2-1 lead. The Highlanders answered back once again, finding an equalizer only minutes later off the foot of striker Cory Bent to head into the half tied at 2-2.
The second half opened with Victoria’s Isaac Koch finding a way through TSS’s backline but unable to get a shot off.
The game took a turn for the worse at 62-minutes for the home team when Victoria’s No. 9 Chris Rushworth received a straight red card following a tussle in the box. For the next 30-minutes Highlanders continued to push despite being down a man.
At 76-minutes TSS’s Gardner scored a lovely long shot making it 3-2 in favour of the visitors. Highlanders continued to look for an equalizer but were unable to find a way past TSS ‘keeper Gerges.
“Referee decisions make it more difficult for us to follow through on the things that we addressed at halftime that we felt could give us a winning effort,” stated head coach Thomas Niendorf. “It’s difficult to judge the group for the second half with a player down.”
TSS take a 3-2 aggregate lead back to Swangard Stadium next week in the battle for the Juan de Fuca Plate.
The Highlanders are back in action this Friday, June 1st at Centennial Stadium versus MLS affiliate Seattle Sounders U-23. Kick Off is at 6:35 PM. For more tickets and more information, please visit www.highlandersfc.ca.
VHFC: Cam Hundal (39’), Cory Bent (44’)
TSS: Eric de Graaf (11’), Connor Glennon (42’), Eric Gardner (76’)
VHFC: Owen Pearce (23’),
TSS: Erik Edwardson (83’)
VHFC: Chris Rushworth (62’)
Victoria Highlanders FC
Wirth (GK); Montgomery, Cunningham, Schaale, Hall; Pearce, Campanile, Bent (Smith 74’), Koch; Popadynetz (Bartolillo 45’), Hundal (Rushworth 45’)
TSS FC Rovers
Gerges (GK); Smychenko, Azuma (Guerreiro 70’), Skinner (Polisi 55’), de Graff; Metcalfe, Polisi, Varela; Verhoven (Edwardson 59’), Glennon (Moore 70’), Soolsma