By Cascades Media. The UFV Cascades men’s soccer team took to the pitch for the first exhibition game of the season today at their new home field at Abbotsford Senior Secondary. The squad broke in the venue with a furious offensive performance, beating the Kwantlen Eagles (PACWEST) by a score of 5-2 and mustering a four-goal second half flurry. The Cascades will play the majority of their 2014 CIS season home games at Abby Senior after having spent the last two seasons playing out of Townsend Park in Chilliwack.
UFV Cascades Photo
While the chances came thick and fast for both teams in the first half, the squads managed only a single goal each through 45 minutes. UFV’s James Najman netted his first of the pre-season with a beautiful volley at eight minutes, the Eagles retaliated at 16 minutes, and then the tallies dried up for the remainder of the half. Both UFV keeper Arturo Ortiz and his Kwantlen opposite were called upon to foil a breakaway, looming larger than life between the posts (which also played a part in keeping the score tied). While the Cascades dominated possession throughout the game, the Eagles looked relentlessly dangerous on the counter-attack, coming close to seizing the lead on several occasions.
The second half opened with a quick goal from Cascade Trevor O’Neill (47), and a penalty kick swap in which both teams tallied. UFV’s Connor MacMillan earned a kick from the spot after being grounded during a nifty move on the Eagles keeper, and made no mistake placing it top left corner. UFV rookie striker Elijah Sampson scored later in the half before Justin Sekhon grabbed his own first goal of the 2014 campaign off of a masterful pass from teammate Ryan Liddiard.
Unhampered by the usual limits on substitutions, the Cascades cycled through a number of players today as head coach Alan Errington experimented with combinations and chemistry. Three goalkeepers, Ortiz, Alex Skrzeta, and Mason Woochuk, spent time in net, and several rookies including Grant Fadden and Tammer Byrne helped reinforce the defensive line.
“I think the score 5-2 was probably a true reflection,” said Errington, “but having said that, I think the score could have been 3-3 at halftime. I thought Kwantlen played very well and they’re a very good team. We dodged a couple bullets early on … We need a little bit of work defending, that wasn’t the best. But that’s expected in this part of the year.”
Overall, Errington was also very impressed with the contributions of his new recruits. “Some of the young players came on and really played well,” he said. “Michael Mobilio came on and made an impact, and I thought Elijah Sampson came on and played very, very well. Of the goalkeepers, I thought big Alex was outstanding. I think he held the crosses well and his kicking was quite good. He didn’t have as much to do as the other two, but what he had he handled very well.”
The Cascades will play another PACWEST conference member Langara College on Saturday, August 1 at 7 pm in their only other home preseason game before leaving for an eight-day team trip to California.