Powell River Villa tied Cowichan United 2 in regular-season Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) play on Saturday, February 13, with a final score of 1-1.
Villa was missing three core players for the game, but were able to replace them with call-ups, including two former Powell River residents and Villa players Jake Kenmuir and Brody Harry.
“That bolstered our team with a couple of subs, so we were in good shape,” said McDonough.
The away match started off with a good pace and a few chances on either side, according to McDonough. Cowichan opened the scoring off a header near the 20-minute mark.
Later in the half, a Cowichan striker attempted to make it around Villa right-back Charles Timothy, who got called on a penalty for obstruction. Villa goaltender Matt Liknes saved the penalty shot.
“That gave us a real boost, rejuvenated us and got us back in the game,” said McDonough. “[Liknes] has saved a few of those this year. It’s one of his strong points.”
Villa was down 1-0, but felt pretty good about how they had played at halftime, said McDonough.
In the second half, Villa picked up the pace and had a few key chances. Villa’s Humberto Rosales, a Camber College student from Mexico, had a couple of good shots. Then, near the 70th minute, Daniel Paul made a run down the left side, beat his opponent and worked a give-and-go play with Rosales, who scored on the left side of the Cowichan goalie.
Villa put on a lot of pressure in the last 15 minutes but couldn’t score the go-ahead goal.
“We had them pinned in their end, but we couldn’t quite find that last goal,” said McDonough.
Longtime Villa player Dean Thorsell, who had one of the late chances to score, said the team could have played better, but still deserved the tie in an even game.
“We played pretty well, but we weren’t awesome,” said Thorsell. “We were good enough to make some chances, and we worked the ball around pretty well at times, but the other team also had some pretty good chances.”
With the single road point, Villa is guaranteed a second-division VISL placing next season.
With three regular-season games remaining, Villa will now face Cowichan United 1 in the Jackson Cup, the best team on Vancouver Island, 2 pm next Sunday at Cowichan. The upcoming cup game against Cowichan will be a huge challenge, said head coach Chris McDonough.
“Anything can happen, but it’s a tough task,” said McDonough. “They’ve got a few ex-professionals on their team, so we’re going to have our hands full. We’re big underdogs, but hopefully we’ll get a good result.”