Photo: Gord Rufh
VICTORIA, BC – Victoria Highlanders FC (1-0-0) will look to open the 2017 Premier Development League (PDL) season with back-to-back wins as they play host to Cascadia rival Sounders U-23 (1-1-0) in a Friday night affair at Centennial Stadium.
Sounders U-23 have kicked off their PDL campaign with a respectable start, splitting their opening two matches with a win and a loss to sit second overall in the Northwest Division table heading into Friday’s tilt. Sounders conceded their first goal—and eventual defeat— of the season, May 21 versus Calgary Foothills U-23, following Foothills’ Ali Mousse’s strike from distance on 83 minutes that proved to be the deciding factor in the meeting. Head coach Darren Sawatsky’s team will be looking to rebound against the Highlanders to maintain their position In the division.
Victoria has wasted little time in making an impression on the Western Conference. The Canadian side exploded on offence in their May 14 Season Opener versus Lane United FC, capturing a 4-1 win off of goals from Callum Montgomery, Owen Pearce, Andrew Ofosu and Blair Sturrock. The positive start earned Montgomery a PDL Team of the Week selection and has bumped the Highlanders to No. 5 in the PDL’s Western Conference Power rankings heading into the weekend.
It’s the first of two regular season meetings this year between the clubs, with both sides meeting once more in the Highlanders final regular season home match, July 14 at Centennial Stadium. In 2016, Sounders U-23 got the better of their Canadian opponent, going 2-0-0 in the season series without conceding a goal. Given the Highlanders offence in their previous outing and some impressive offensive talent on display in training, head coach Dave Dew believes his team stands a good chance of netting a result not only this week, but any week.
“When you’re scoring goals like we are…if we’re making things happen, no matter who we play, we’re going to be in for a shout because of our attacking prowess and that will have to be what we hang our hat on,” Dew stated.
ABOUT VICTORIA HIGHLANDERS FC
Victoria Highlanders FC is a Canadian soccer team based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The team was founded in 2007, competing in the USL Premier Development League through the 2014 season. After a season in the PCSL, the Highlanders returned to the PDL in 2016.
ABOUT THE PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE
The proven developmental leader in North American soccer’s evolving tiered structure, the Premier Development League features 72 franchises in four conferences throughout the United States and Canada, including 16 clubs that are owned and operated by a professional club, or that hold a partnership with a professional club. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world, with nearly 70 percent of all MLS selections since 2010 having PDL experience.