The weekend’s storms broke enough for Powell River Villa to have a pleasant match with Juan de Fuca All Flows in Langford on Sunday, October 24. The two teams ended the game in a 0-0 draw, leaving each of them with one point to add to their standings in Division 1 of the Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL).
“Villa dominated the game and the play, and we dominated the scoring chances, but luck wasn’t on our side,” said Tony Leach, Villa’s coach. “Their keeper did make some great saves, but we also beat him a number of times and then hit the goal posts or crossbar. It was frustrating, but really shows what we’re capable of.”
The draw is good for Villa’s standing, leaving the club tied for eighth place. Because three teams will be relegated to Division 2 at the end of the season, Villa must place ninth or higher.
“We’ve already played some of the top teams this year, so these next few games are vital for our season,” said Chris McDonough, Villa’s manager. “Getting a point this weekend and not having any goals scored against us are both important for us staying in the division. We’re playing very well and have a lot of depth to the team; I think it’s one of the strongest groups of players we’ve had in recent years, and we certainly haven’t been seeing the kind of lopsided defeats we have in the past.”
The midfield and defensive lines were very strong in Sunday’s game, according to Leach.
“Kaizan [Hajdrych] is like a wall in the defensive line, and the whole defence played very well,” he said. “It was also great to have Nick Van’t Schip back in the midfield for the first time this season. He was a very solid presence and contributed to a lot of our offensive play. And we were also able to capitalize on Jacob Duyvesteyn’s long throw-ins to move the ball quickly.”
Several players had scoring chances for Villa, including captain Niko Cristante.
“Niko had a great game, including an amazing kick from about 45 yards out that the goalie just got his fingertips on,” said McDonough. “Chico (Richard Murphy), Griffin [Leach], and Marcus [Cramb] also had strong games. It was a good all-around effort from everyone.”
The game was also fraught with discipline from the referee, who issued two yellow cards to the Powell River side, as well as seven yellow and one red to the All Flows, who had their coach ejected from the game.
“They’re a big, intimidating team,” said Leach. “They were whacking and crashing into our younger guys with some nasty tackles, so I was glad to see the referee doing his best to keep the game flowing.”
Villa is home to face Cowichan FC at Timberlane Park on Saturday, October 30. Cowichan is currently in third place with 13 points. The game begins at 1:30 pm, and tickets will be available at the gate.
“Cowichan will be a tough test, and we’re glad to be at home, because the fan support and our home turf both give us boosts,” said McDonough.
Villa heads on the road again to Courtenay on Saturday, November 6, to meet Comox Valley United before returning to Timberlane on Saturday, November 13, for a match against Gorge FC.