Timbers Too Much for Highlanders FC
Posted on: Thursday, July 15, 2010
The Victoria Highlanders took to the pitch at Bear Mountain Stadium Saturday night for the last time this season to face Northwest Division giants Portland Timbers who were sporting a perfect record (14-0-0) going into this match. More than sixty minutes from kick off, the anticipation was palpable as fans streamed through the stadium gates, undoubtedly to get their fill of PDL action before the Highlanders finish their season with a two game road trip.
The Victoria Highlanders, sporting thier alternate blue "Coast Capital" kits, got off to a rocky start and allowed the visiting Timbers an early 1-0 lead when Portland forward Freddie Braun headed a goal past Highlanders keeper Brandon Watson in just the third minute of play, silencing the home town fans. The home side would fare better after that and in the 26th minute, Highlanders forward Jared Stephens would get a clear break at goal and make no mistake, rifling the ball past the Portland keeper and bringing the Bear Mountain Stadium crowd of 2,250 to a deafening roar. The Timbers would add two more before the half, however, and take a 3-1 lead into the interval.
The Second half was a much chippier affair with Victoria and Portland earning two cautions apiece. Brandon Watson's night got a lot busier beginning in the 52nd minute when Timbers forward Ricky Abergo danced his way into the 18 yard box, only to be brilliantly turned away by the outstreched hands of the Clan keeper whose confidence appeared at an all-time high. The 61st minute brought more turmoil to the Island crowd as the Timbers capitalized on mounting pressure and Matt Drake eventually found the bottom right corner of goal to give the visitors an unsurmountable 4-1 lead. To their credit, the home side never quit and neither did thier fans, stomping their feet and clapping throughout the half, aided in part by Nathan Robertson's familiar bagpiping. Watson would have a final moment of glory in the 76th minute as the Timbers offence overwhelmed the Highlanders defence and pounded shot after shot at the Victoria goal, only to be thwarted time and again by the sprawling Highlanders backstopper, who arguably had his best match of the year.
The two sides played 3 minutes of added time but it would produce nothing as the Timbers walked away with the 4-1 victory to remain unbeaten.
0' Match is underway
3' Goal Portland Goal: F.Braun (G.Dugoni)
26' GOAL VHFC:J.Stephens (J.Merriman)
37' YELLOW CARD to VHFC T.Hughes
39' Goal Portland: B.Richards
45' Goal Portland B.Richards (F.Braun)
61' Goal Portland M.Drake
FINAL SCORE - Portland 4 VHFC 1
Match Time: Saturday, July 17, 7pm @ Bear Mountain Stadium
VHFC 2010 Record: 7-3-3 – 24 pts
Portland 2010 Record 14-0-0 – 42 pts
2010 Results: 0-1
Head to Head, All-time: 0-2-1 – 1 pts
The Victoria Highlanders wrap up their 2010 home schedule with a visit from the currently undefeated first place Portland Timbers (14-0-0) 7pm on Saturday at Bear Mountain Stadium in Langford.
The game is dedicated to the tremendous supporters that have propelled the club to the highest average attendance in the NW division for the second straight year. To date every league game has been a sell-out.
Saturday’s match at Bear Mountain Stadium has much different implications than the first time these sides met this season. What was once a battle for first overall in the PDL’s talented and tight Northwest Division is now a life or death match for the Highlanders, who will need to collect every point available for the rest of the season, just to have a chance at the playoffs. They will also have to get a little luck and hope for losses from Kitsap and Tacoma. Portland on the other hand has enjoyed a steady year so far, unbeaten all season and racking up 48 goals for while allowing just five against.
The clan take their 7-3-3 record into the contest with hopes of still qualifying for the last playoff spot, held by rivals Kitsap Pumas (10-1-2) with each team having three games remaining. Coach Ian Bridge knows it is all on the line this weekend and is confident his group can find a way to solve the steady play of the Timbers and extend their playoff aspirations. "We know the season is coming down to beating one of the top sides in the conference, if not the league. We definitely want to maintain our unbeaten home record and stay alive,” says the gaffer.
The Highlanders can build off their gutsy performance last week when they held the Pumas to a 0-0 draw at the Bear. It will be more of the same this week, limiting the opponents scoring chances and creating a way to put a ball past the stingy Timber defense, who have only surrendered five goals while notching a division leading 48 goals themselves, to overtake last year's division champions from Kitsap.
The Highlanders can also take heart from their success last season when they ended the Pumas undefeated season with a 2-1 home victory on a late goal by 2009 MVP Paul VandenBoomen who has missed the entire 2010 season due to injury.
A bright spot for Victoria has been the solid play of young goalkeeper Brandon Watson who has filled in admirably for veteran Trevor Stiles who has missed all but one match due to injury and clearance issues.
Title partner Coast Capital Savings will be hosting their family day and celebrating Fan Appreciation Day at the park vs. Portland. There will be lots of prizes and a special half-time draw....the Boys & Girls Club will be the featured charity, providing ball retrievers, player escorts, fifty-fifty and an exciting mini game at the half...the Club's Awards Gala at the Royal Theatre is Wednesday, July 28th. Soccer supporters and the public are invited. Tickets $15 and available at www.rmts.bc.ca
under "tickets"...the Highlander Reserves and Women sides have qualified for the Coast League playoffs in their initial season and will play semis Saturday July 24th and if win, play final July 25th in Coquitlam.