June 23,2014(ISN) – EUGENE, ORE. – After dropping a June 21, 3-1 decision to Portland Timbers U-23, Victoria Highlanders FC headed south to face Lane United FC, rebounding with an impressive showing that saw six Highlanders score in a 7-0 victory.
Riley O’Neill opened scoring for Victoria, while teammates Cam Hundal, Carlo Basso and Ian Greedy also posted goals in the victory. Teammates Sam Prette also earned his first of the season while Cameron Stokes notched a brace late.
Victoria came out strong in the opening half, pushing the play and being rewarded with an early free kick and corner in the opening five minutes of play. Hundal could have been rewarded early were it not for ‘keeper Bersano, who came out to challenge the midfielder at the corner of the 18-yard-box, wrapping up the ball to keep the game scoreless early.
It didn’t take long for Victoria’s offensive pressure to pay off as a Tyler Hughes diagonal to forward Greedy forced Lane’s Jack O’Connor to take down his mark inside the penalty zone, earning the Highlanders a penalty kick. O’Neill stepped up to take the shot, and calmly slotted the ball to the right of Bersano for his fourth goal of the season and second of the weekend.
Basso nearly added to the lead minutes later, redirecting a header off a pass from Gomez but was unable to get the ball to the back of the net. Victoria continued to dictate pace in the opening half, as Lane looked fatigued in their third game of the week.
Victoria added to the lead when Hundal was rewarded for his efforts in the 30th minute, finishing off a Victoria set piece that was taken from the left of Bersano. Hundal’s shot found its way through Lane’s defenders and into the back of the net.
Lane’s most threatening opportunities came late off the foot of Valazquez and Ribes just before the half time whistle blew. An initial curling shot was stopped by Watson while a second shot inside the attacking zone forced Watson to come out and challenge the Lane shooter, deflecting the ball out of play to maintain the three-goal Victoria lead heading into the half.
Needing a pair of goals to level the match, Lane came out with urgency in the attacking zone early in the second, but it was Victoria who would score another goal. Left back Andrew Ravenhill pushed all the way to the attacking third with room before crossing a perfect pass to Basso who neatly slotted it home for Victoria’s third goal of the game at 53 minutes.
Five minutes later Victoria increased their lead to four, as Ian Greedy shifted right-left-right on his defender before slotting it home.
On 69 minutes, Lane’s Bevin broke up the left, moving around Watson but firing a shot high and wide. Ribes followed his teammate’s chance up with a strike from the top of the box, but shot would also sail wide.
Substitues Stokes and Prette added to the rout late, with Prette converting from a sharp angle while Stokes received a flick-on from Greedy before wiring it home to push the score to 6-0. Minutes later a pass from Jordan de Graaf at 84 minutes found Stokes again who completed his brace to make it 7-0.
Splitting the weekend series with teammate Elliot Mitrou, Brandon Watson was sharp all match long in net as Lane continued to search for their first goal of the match, challenging in close when needed and allowing his squad to do the rest to earn the first clean sheet of the season for Victoria.
The Highlanders return to Victoria for the final two regular season home games of their 2014 PDL campaign, June 28 against Seattle Sounders U-23. During the two-game home stand the club will also welcome FC Edmonton on July 2 at Centennial Stadium.