Highlanders Come Up Short Against TSS FC Rovers

(Photo Credit: John Richardson)

VICTORIA, BC - Victoria Highlanders FC (6-4-1) played their final home game of the 2019 USL League Two regular season when they hosted Vancouver TSS FC Rovers (3-7-2) at Centennial Stadium on July 5th.  Although the Highlanders opened the scoring, three unanswered goals by the Rovers in the first half was enough for the road team to hang on for the 3-2 win, while also winning the Juan De Fuca Plate on away goals.

The match started out in favour of the home team as the Highlanders were awarded a penalty in the 6th minute. Shun Takano converted from the spot to give Victoria a 1-0 lead. The lead was short-lived though as Riley Pang headed it home off a fantastic free kick from Jordan Haynes in the 10th minute. The Highlanders came close to scoring the go-ahead goal in the middle stages of the half as Daniel Davidson and recently signed Caleb Clarke had dangerous opportunities in the offensive third.

It would be the Rovers to score the go-ahead goal as Rahid Rahiem scored off a perfectly placed curling shot that found the top right corner to give Vancouver a 2-1 lead in the 44th minute. The road team added to the lead just a minute later when the Rovers were awarded a penalty. Matteo Polisi converted on the chance and gave the Rovers a 3-1 lead after 45 minutes of play.

Davidson came close to pulling Victoria within one, but his header sailed just over the crossbar. Guurman Jhaj looked destined to put the Rovers up by three, but his shot rang off the post before Shojaei cleared it from danger. Davidson took advantage of his next opportunity as he was able to poke the ball past Trasolini in a scramble in the box in the 60th minute to cut Vancouver’s lead to 3-2.

Jhaj had another prime scoring opportunity as he found himself with possession behind Schneider, but Banton blocked the shot before making the clear. Takano cut across the top of the box before he fired a tough angle shot that was corralled by Trasolini in the 73rd minute. Jake Ruby had a great opportunity in the latter stages of the match, but his aerial shot was turned aside by Trasolini. The Highlanders pushed for the tying goal, but the Rovers were able to hang on for the 3-2 win and captured the 2019 Juan De Fuca Plate.

“We felt good coming into this game, knowing how we wanted to play, but the game did not go that way. The Rovers fought for it and came away with the win,” stated Highlanders head coach Thomas Niendorf. “They pushed everything forward, it didn’t even feel like they played defense at times as they threw everything and everyone at the net. Give the Rovers credit, they took advantage of their opportunities and we came up short. We knew this stretch run wouldn’t be easy and the boys know what needs to be done to be successful. Our focus now is on Seattle and making sure we take advantage of the opportunities we earn as a team.”

Victoria Highlanders FC are back in action on Sunday, July 7th as they travel to Sumner, Washington to take on Seattle Sounders U23. Kickoff is set for 2:00 p.m. For more details head to www.highlandersfc.ca.

Scoring Summary
VHFC: Shun Takano 7’, Daniel Davidson 60’
VAN: Riley Pang 10’ (Jordan Haynes), Rahid Rahieme 44’ (Guurman Jhaj), Matteo Polisi 45’

VHFC: Sean Young 26’
VAN: Elie Gindo 90+’

Victoria Highlanders FC
Schneider (GK); Banton, Adib, Ruby, Shojaei, Young, Cole (Ando 85’), Takano, Ntignee (Popadynetz), Davidson (Colley 75’), Clarke

Vancouver TSS FC Rovers
Trasolini (GK); Pang (Tachie 87’), Gindo, Schmychenko, Papakyriakopoulus, Rahiem (Cromack 74’), Haynes, Polisi, Malamura, Jhaj, MacMillan


REF: Cole Shoemaker
AR1: Hannah Browning
AR2: Cameron Olive
4th Official: Gustavo Uriegos