Cowichan LMG Man of the Match Mike Daniels sprints down the sidelines during his team’s 1-0 loss to JDF All Flows last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan LMG Man of the Match Mike Daniels sprints down the sidelines during his team’s 1-0 loss to JDF All Flows last Friday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Cowichan LMG takes care of defensive woes; next step is more offence

Week off helps Div. 1 soccer team regroup

After a week off to regroup, Cowichan LMG returned to the pitch last Friday with some new ideas about how to put an end to their winless streak.

While the team didn’t quite pull off a victory, the new strategies proved useful in a 1-0 loss to JDF All Flows at the Sherman Road turf, a fourth straight loss and fifth game in a row without a win.

“It worked out for the most part,” Cowichan coach Ryan Flynn said. “We were able to get into the offensive zone and into the final third [of the field], but then the guys were trying to figure out how to score.”

As far as creating offence went, Flynn’s idea was to give the players the freedom to do whatever worked for them.

“They tried,” the coach acknowledged. “In the first half, we probably had 70 per cent of the possession, but we hit the crossbar a couple of times and their goalie made some outstanding saves. It’s not like we weren’t doing well, but the opportunities and bounces we had at the beginning of the year are drying up.”

Cowichan had allowed 12 goals over the previous three games, so Flynn wanted to limit JDF’s scoring chances and focused his game plan on defence, hoping the offence would create itself.

“I was thinking with the players we had, we must be able to muster a couple of goals,” he said.

The defensive plan worked out largely, and JDF didn’t score until the 88th minute when, with most of Cowichan’s players bunched up in the offensive zone for a set play, JDF sent a player in on a breakaway. With that one exception, both goalies were perfect.

“Their goalie [Cody Carter] made some outstanding saves,” Flynn commented. “He was the Man of the Match for them. He kept them in the game. Our goalie [Robbie Cochrane] made a couple of good saves. I feel bad for Robbie. He hasn’t had a win with us, but he has kept a positive attitude. We’ve left him out to dry.”

Cowichan’s Man of the Match was Mike Daniels, who Flynn said had “an outstanding game,” which included a few excellent scoring chances, one that rang off the crossbar and another couple that Carter stopped.

Regardless of the final result, Flynn had reasons to be optimistic about the way his team performed on Friday.

“We’ll move forward and keep plugging away,” he said. “We’ll get that victory and it might open things up for us.”

Cowichan will visit Westcastle at Starlight Stadium this Friday for their last match of 2021, and Flynn is ready to try another style of plan with the hope of creating more offence.

“If we outscore them 3-2, that’s fine with me,” he said.

With Cochrane not available, Flynn has summoned Darian Achurch from the O35 Cowichan 49ers, hoping to steal one of his shutouts. Achurch leads the O35 league with six clean slates in 11 games.

In Div. 3, Cowichan Oak FC played to a 1-1 draw with Gorge at the Sherman Road turf last Saturday night.

Gorge went down a man early and conceded a penalty after a handball in the goal mouth on a header by Alex Smith in the 12th minute. Smith scored on the penalty kick, but The Oak couldn’t otherwise capitalize on the man advantage.

“We really failed to take advantage of our numerical superiority and conceded a silly goal from a drop kick in the 25th,” coach Jonas Golf-Myers said. “We missed many chances afterwards and made 10-man Gorge look very good in the second half.”

The Oak will visit Saanich Fusion Matadors at Lochside turf on Sunday.