June 11,2014(ISN) – VICTORIA – Victoria Highlanders FC (3-2-2) enter the second half of the Premier Development League regular season, looking to build upon last weekend’s 3-1 victory over Portland Timbers U-23 as they play host to seventh-place Puget Sound Gunners (1-3-2), June 14 at 7pm at Royal Athletic Park. Sitting second-place in the Northwest Division, a win will ensure that the Highlanders keep within striking distance of first-place Kitsap Pumas SC.
The Highlanders returned home to host the Timbers after dropping consecutive matches in Washington the week prior. After being shut out in the two-straight losses, Victoria jumped on the scoreboard early Saturday off of Cam Hundal’s first goal of the season at the three-minute-mark. Additional Victoria goals from Blair Sturrock and left back Andrew Ravenhill secured the third victory of the season for the Highlanders.
Sturrock’s goal ties him with fellow striker Carlo Basso for the Highlanders’ team lead in goals with three. Seven other players have contributed goals through seven games this season. Overall, the Highlanders have put up 13 goals for and 12 against. Goalkeeper Brandon Watson is expected to start for the second match in a row with teammate Elliot Mitrou sidelined due to injury. The 22-year-old ‘keeper earned his first victory of the season in last weekend’s match.
Puget Sound currently sits second-last in the division through six games of play, posting five goals for and 10 goals against. Their limited scoring has come across the board, with four players contributing so far this season. Goalkeeper Jason Dodson has allowed seven goals in three starts.
This will be the first of two meetings this season between the rebranded Gunners and Highlanders. Last season, Victoria earned a 2-2 draw at home before capturing a 2-0 win in Puget Sound. Overall, the Gunners finished at the bottom of the table in 2013 with eight points. The team struggled on both sides of the ball, posting eight goals for and 32 goals against.
Positioning for the top-3 spots in the division is intensifying as the PDL season reaches the halfway point. Saturday will see three valuable points on the line as the Gunners and Highlanders kick-off at Royal Athletic Park at 7pm.