After salvaging several wins and ties in the late going of games this season, the Victoria Highlanders were victims of the old switcheroo Sunday at Royal Athletic Park.
Vancouver United scored on a penalty kick at 83 minutes to pull out a 1-1 Pacific Coast Soccer League draw. It was United’s first game of the season, while Victoria remained undefeated with two wins and three ties.
“They turned the tables on us with that late goal,” said Victoria coach Dave Dew, about what had been his own club’s method of operation from earlier games.
St. Michaels University School Grade 12 star Callum Montgomery, committed to NCAA top-10 UNC-Charlotte for the fall, was in the box defending for the Highlanders when a Vancouver shot inadvertently struck his hand.
“I thought it was a fortuitous break for [United] because it was our best game of the season and we really outplayed them,” said Dew.
Dew said to do that against what he described as a “high-end” United team said a lot about his own club. Vancouver United boasted eight former UBC Thunderbirds and several more ex-CIS players from the Trinity Western Spartans.
United was led by former Canada Under-17 player Gagan Dosanjh, a former Vancouver Whitecaps prospect who has pro games under his belt with FC Edmonton and also Energie Cottbus in Germany.
“Dosanjh caused mayhem out there for us,” said Dew, of the difficulty in trying to contain the talented midfielder.
The Highlanders got off to a quick start when Alex Redpath, who graduated this year as captain of the University of Victoria Vikes, converted a cross from former pro Manny Gomez at 18 minutes.
The fixture concluded an unbeaten five-game home stand by Victoria to start the season.
“I am pleased with how we played during this stretch,” said Dew, who said the aim going in was to maximize points during this early run on home turf.
The Highlanders’ next five games are on the road, beginning this weekend with a pair against Vancouver United in a rematch and versus the Vancouver Thunderbirds, which is the main summer club for current and alumni UBC Thunderbirds and coached by T-Birds head coach Mike Mosher.
The Highlanders’ next home games aren’t until back-to-back fixtures June 13-14 against Khalsa Sporting Club and the Thunderbirds.