VICTORIA, BC – Highlanders FC (1W-0D-3L) faced Calgary Foothills U-23 (5W-0D-1L) in their second match of the weekend on June 4, dropping a 3-1 decision in their fourth Premier Development League (PDL) match of the year.
Francesco Bartolillo scored for the home side before the trio of Chris Rushworth, Bori Falaye and Kyle Jones answered in the second half for Calgary.
Bartolillo opened his Highlanders account early, jumping on a Blair Sturrock shot off the bar to put his up 1-0 in the sixth minute of play.
Between the woodwork, Highlander goalkeeper Yuichiro Hayami was impressive in the match’s opening half of play, making a trio of critical stops following his sides’ opening goal. Calgary midfielder Nico Pasquotti tested the Iowa Western ‘keeper on two occasions, breaking into the 18-yard box at the half-hour-mark before his shot from in close was kicked away by Hayami.
After swallowing up Pasquotti’s second attempt from just outside the box on 41 minutes, Hayami faced a lobbing header from defender Josh Read that he was able to get fingertips on to push over the bar.
Victoria would take their 1-0 lead into the break.
Both teams exchanges chances to open up the second half of play, with Victoria’s Paddy Nelson sending a diagonal to teammate Bobby Eng. Eng’s cross would be just ahead of his teammates in the box. A rush from defender Josh Read at the other end would be broken up.
Calgary levelled the match on 53 minutes, breaking up the right wing before former Highlander Chris Rushworth was able to chip the ball over Hayami and into the far corner.
Both teams made a number of changes as the second progressed, with the likes of Aidan Moore, Elie Gindo, Andy Ofosu, Justin Donaldson and Mackenzie Cole checking in for the home side.
The visitors pulled ahead on 73 minutes, with Falaye sending a strike from inside the box to the back of the net for the 2-1 lead.
Veteran Blair Sturrock nearly levelled the match for Victoria, but saw both attempts come inches shy of crossing the goal line. The Scotman’s first attempt was cleared off the line, before a stumbling Powley was able to push his second attempt clear of the crossbar. Teammate Sho Goto followed up Sturrock’s attempts with a free kick attempt that Powley did well to stop, before sending a dangerous-looking strike from distance that would go just off target.
A late penalty kick goal from Jones sealed the deal for the visitors in stoppage time, who would come away with the 3-1 decision.
“We have an opportunity if we stay positive and stay focused to do okay this season,” Highlanders head coach Dave Dew stated following the game. “It’s frustrating because we’re not finishing chances that are there.”
Next up, the Highlanders FC welcome Portland Timbers U-23 to Centennial Stadium, June 18 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are available by clicking HERE.
For more information, please visit www.highlandersfc.ca.