Highlanders Open Season With Hard-Fought Draw
VICTORIA, BC - Victoria Highlanders FC (0-0-1) welcomed Lane United FC (0-0-1) to Centennial Stadium, May 10th for their Home Opener. An entertaining match throughout, the home side opened the scoring early, but Lane United responded midway through the second half leading to a 1-1 final after 90 minutes.
The visiting team came out of the gate quickly, putting pressure on the young Highlanders squad, including a pair of dangerous corner kick chances. It was the home team, however, that got the first real scoring chance of the night. Victory Shumbusho fired a nice volley just over the crossbar in the 9th minute after a strong rush up the field by Jake Ruby. It didn’t take long after that chance for the Highlanders to get on the board. Shumbusho and Elyad Shojaei pushed up the field and started technical give-and-go passing that resulted in Shojaei curling a shot just inside the far post in the 10th minute for the first goal of the match.
The home squad continued to put the pressure on the visitors from Oregon on both sides of the field. Shojaei showed off his defensive abilities with a well-timed tackle that turned away a scoring chance for Lane, followed shortly after by a Joshua Walter free kick that was deflected on goal and turned aside from a diving Albert Escuin.
The two teams would head into the half with the home team holding a 1-0 lead.
With Lane United pushing for the equalizer, the early moments of the second half included a few sound positional saves by Highlanders ‘keeper Ty Venhola. One such save came off a Luis Guijaro header that Venhola was able to track through the traffic in front of the net.
United forward Charlie Spurr found himself in a fortuitous situation in the 62nd minute. The Seattle native took advantage of a miscue behind the Highlanders’ backline and squared the game up at 1-1 into the open net.
After the game tying goal, the match started to tighten up. Offense was harder to come by, but the teams traded a couple good chances late. Lane defender Andrew Boyd got a good look in tight, but Venhola was up for the challenge making a quick reactionary save. In the 77th minute Joshua Banton’s penalty kick was stopped by an outstretched Escuin.
After 90 minutes of back and forth play, both teams had to settle for the 1-1 draw.
The Highlanders are back in action on Sunday, May 19th at Centennial Stadium versus Portland Timbers U23. Kick Off is at 2:00 PM. For more tickets and more information, please visit www.highlandersfc.ca.
Rise & Grind Player of the Match
VHFC: Elyad Shojaei (10’)
LUFC: Charlie Spurr (62’)
VHFC: Mackenzie Cole 52’, Elyad Shojaei 86’
LUFC: Andrew Boyd 77’
Victoria Highlanders FC
Venhola (GK); Banton, Guilherme, Ruby, Shojaei, Young, Joshua Walter, Cole (Hill, 62’), Takano, Popadynetz, Shumbusho (Ando, 82’),
Lane United FC
Escuin (GK); Boyd, Graff, Lane, Romac, Jensen (Stadler, 82’), Segovia, Durango (Diaz, 62’), Kalla (Newton, 82’), Guijaro (Villapudua, 68’), Spurr (Engle, 73’),