May 21 2014 ISN – VICTORIA – Valuable points in the Premier Development League Northwest Division standings are on the line as the Victoria Highlanders head to Vancouver for their first road game of the season against the Whitecaps U-23 squad, May 23 at Thunderbird Stadium. Following Friday’s contest, the Highlanders return to Victoria to host the Washington Crossfire at Royal Athletic Park for their second contest in as many nights.
Last weekend, the Highlanders retained their first-place standing in the division as they played to a 1-1 draw with the Kitsap Pumas. For the second straight game,Victoria midfielder Wesley Barrett provided late-game heroics for head coach Steve Simonson, coming off the bench late and setting up the tying goal as he forced a through-ball to second-year teammate Blair Sturrock who then slotted a low shot past the Kitsap keeper to help earn his side a draw. The Highlanders earned a point and sit atop the table with four points.
First up this weekend, the Highlanders head to Vancouver on May 23 to face the Whitecaps U-23 in the final leg of the Juan de Fuca Plate. The ‘Caps have stumbled through their opening three matches this season, posting two ties and a loss and currently sitting in fifth place in the Northwest Division. Midfielder Cody Cook leads Vancouver in points with four after posting two goals through three games this season. Despite leading the team with six shots, former Highlander Brett Levis has posted just a single assist in the young season. The opening match between both sides saw the Highlanders scoring two goals late to secure a 3-2 victory—their first of the year, with goals for the home side coming from Barrett, Riley O’Neill and Carlo Basso.
The Highlanders then return to Victoria for a Saturday, May 24 match against the Washington Crossfire, who will be playing in their second game of the season after opening up their season with a 1-1 draw against expansion side Lane United. Midfielder Matthew Poplawski has the lone tally on the year for Washington, while Tyler Vistin got the season opening start in net, making six saves through ninety minutes of play. The Highlanders collected a 2-0 win and 2-2 draw in last season’s two-game series against the Crossfire.
Six points will be on the line this weekend for the Highlanders, who will play back-to-back matches for the first time this season. Friday’s match versus the Whitecaps U-23 squad kicks off at 5:00 p.m. at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium, while Saturday’s home match against the Washington Crossfire gets underway at 7:00 p.m. at Royal Athletic Park