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Loss to Westcastle rounds out first half of season for Powell River Villa

Good performance by goalkeeper Matt Liknes keeps game close until end of second half
Powell River Villa

Powell River Villa lost to Westcastle United 2-0 in a Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) game played Saturday, November 9, at Finlayson Turf in Victoria.

“Westcastle is one of the top teams in Division 1, so we knew it would be a difficult game,” said Villa coach Chris McDonough. “We were able to hold them to 0-0 until late in the game, which shows how far we’ve come since the beginning of the season.”

The game was tied until Westcastle scored 81 minutes into the second half. United followed up three minutes later with a second goal.

“The team made a good effort, holding Westcastle to the outside and to longer-range shots,” said McDonough. “We played a compact game and really defended our end of the pitch, as well as getting some chances on counterattacks. This defensive strategy has served us well over the last few games, and really suits the players we have on the team right now.”

McDonough gave high praise to goalkeeper Matt Liknes.

“Matt had another solid game,” he said. “He made some amazing saves again this week to keep it close and give us a chance. He’s been our best player lately, and has been having an outstanding season.”

Villa was down four regular players for Saturday’s effort, but permitted two players from the Vancouver Island Premier League (U17/18) for the game. In addition, the club is looking forward to adding some players from Vancouver Island University to the roster now that the university soccer season is over.

“They play out of Nanaimo, so they will be available for road games and might make the odd trip back to Powell River for training and games,” said McDonough. “Adding these players gives us more depth, and we’re looking forward to integrating them going forward.”

Saturday’s game marked the halfway point of the 18-game VISL regular season. Villa was promoted to Division 1 this season, and has now played each team in the division once.

“We’ve seen all the teams now and we know what we’re up against,” said McDonough. “It took us a bit of time to find our groove, but we’re comfortable with the way we play now, and we can be competitive against any team in the league. We’re just going to approach every game with the intent of trying to get results and pick up points.”

The second half of the season starts with Villa’s third road game in a row against Juan de Fuca All Flows on Saturday, November 16, at Westhills Stadium in Langford.

“This is a critical game, especially since we were tied for seventh place before All Flows won their game this weekend,” said McDonough. “We are both still outside the relegation zone, but every game is critical from now on.”

Villa players are looking forward to playing in front of a home crowd for the first time in four weeks when they face Vic West FC at Timberlane Park on Saturday, November 23. Kickoff is at 1:30 pm, and tickets are available at the gate.