VANCOUVER – In their first away match of the 2014 Premier Development League season, the Victoria Highlanders once again found a timely goal late in the second half to secure a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23 at Thunderbird Stadium on May 23. The victory was their second of the season and earned them first Juan de Fuca Plate in team history. Highlander striker Carlo Basso earned a brace, while teammates Cameron Stokes, Ryan Ashlee and Blair Sturrock also added goals
It looked as if Victoria would run away early with the victory, as the visiting squad notched three goals before the match had hit the ten-minute-mark of the first half, but a resilient Vancouver side would capitalize on an unfortunate Victoria mistake to get themselves back in the game.
Four minutes in, University of Victoria Vike Cameron Stokes jumped on attempted ‘Caps clearance, wasting no time as he fired a low shot to the bottom left of ‘keeper Nolan Wirth to give Victoria the early advantage.
Victoria didn’t stop there, adding two more goals that included a blast from centre back Ryan Ashlee inside the 18-yard-box. Teammate Carlo Basso worked the ball into the attacking zone before leaving the ball for the centre back to slot home. It was Basso next for the Highlanders, who received the ball to the right of Nolan before firing a perfectly placed shot into the back of the net to give Victoria a 3-0 lead.
Vancouver was the next to get on the score sheet, taking advantage of a Victoria miscue in the backfield. Vancouver’s Kianz Froese dispossessed Ashlee before working the ball past Victoria ‘keeper Elliott Mitrou for his sides’ first goal of the afternoon.
Unfazed, Victoria went back to the attack, with Basso notching yet another goal to earn his brace, but the goals continued to come. Vancouver’s Reynold Steward picked up his own rebound to fire a shot to the back of the net, cutting the lead to two goals once again. A six goal first half would end with the Highlanders leading 4-2.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Niall Cousens notched the third Vancouver goal, finishing a cross-pass from Mark Baldsimo inside the six-yard-box. Cousens struck again 23 minutes later, finishing a play from in close once again to even the once lopsided score at 4-4.
Victoria would not settle for the draw, however, with second half substitute Sturrock feeding a long through-ball to Cape Breton forward Ian Greedy in the 89th minute that the Scottish native then received again, striking it into the net for his second goal in as many games. Victoria was able to stifle the ‘Caps for the remaining five minutes of the match, earning three points and hoisting the Juan De Fuca Plate for the first time in team history.
The Highlanders will have little time to celebrate the victory, as they return home to face the Washington Crossfire at Royal Athletic Park, Saturday May 24 at 7pm. For more information, please visit www.highlandersfc.ca.
7′ – VIC – Ryan Ashlee (Carlo Basso)
9′ – VIC – Carlo Basso (Cam Hundal)
20′ – VAN – Kianz Froese
34′ – VIC – Carlo Basso (Andrew Ravenhill)
39′ – VAN – Reynold Stewart
49′ – VAN – Niall Cousens (Mark Baldisimo)
72′ – VAN – Niall Cousens (Reynold Stewart)
89′ – VIC – Blair Sturrock (Adam Ravenhill)
66′ – VIC – Ryan Ashlee
83′ – VIC – Sam Prette
90’+1′ – VIC – Adam Ravenhill
Vancouver Whitecaps FC U-23
1.Nolan Wirth; 2.Colton O’Neill, 6.Jordan Farahani (4.Mark Baldisimo 45′), 5.Nicholas Prasad, 23.Reynold Stewart (18.Sean Einarsson 73′); 14.Brett Levis (24.Cody Cook 19′), 7.Harry Lakhan, 17.Mitch Piraux (8.Mehdi Ballouchy 67′), 28.Marlon Ramirez (27.Chris Serban 45′); 19.Kianz Froese, 9.Niall Cousens
18.William Diaz, 30.Adam Jones
Victoria Highlanders FC
29.Elliott Mitrou; 15.Andrew Ravenhill, 5.Ryan Ashlee, 13.Tyler Hughes, 4.Gavin Barrett; 10.Riley O’Neill, 6.Alex Rowley (2.Kevan Brown 77′), 20.Tarnvir Bhandal (21.Blair Sturrock 57′); 19.Cam Stokes (8.Adam Ravenhill 64′), 23.Cam Hundal (26.Sam Prette 73′), 9.Carlo Basso (19.Ian Greedy 79′)
Unused subs: 1.Brandon Watson, 11.Jordan de Graaf