A huge save by goalkeeper Chris Muller proved to be the turning point in the Cowichan 49ers’ 6-1 win over Gorge FC at the Sherman Road turf last Friday.
The Niners were up 2-0 on a pair of goals by Stu Barker when Gorge got on the scoreboard. Soon after that, Gorge was awarded a penalty kick, but Muller made an outstanding stop to preserve his team’s lead.
“After they scored to make it 2-1, they had a lot of chances, a lot of energy,” Cowichan head coach Kevin James said. “[Muller’s save] deflated them a bit and got us back from being under a bit of pressure. We were in complete control after that point.”
Muller has been a vital part of Cowichan’s 3-0 start to the masters men’s soccer season.
“Chris has been fantastic for us,” James commented. “He was stellar in goal last season and in our cup run, and he’s been stellar again to start the season.”
The 49ers got one more goal in the first half on a penalty kick by George Thomas. They continued to dominate in the second half as Barker completed the hat trick and Neall Rowlings and Darcy Penner also scored.
“We passed the ball and forced a lot of turnovers,” James noted. “We didn’t stop running.”
James praised his team’s work rate, and declared that the game was a much better effort than a 6-2 win over Lakehill the previous weekend.
“It was a much better game for us,” he said. “I was a lot happier than I was a week earlier. We were much improved from the week before.”
A league power in recent years, Gorge has a slightly different roster this year, and were undermanned on Friday.
“It will be a different match when we go down to play them on the road,” James said. “They’re still a good team there.”
The 49ers will play at home again this weekend, hosting Saanich Fusion on Friday at 8 p.m. James knows not to take anything for granted.
“The bottom line is that everybody wants a piece of us,” he said. “We can’t take any teams lightly. We can’t go down a goal from the get go. We’ve got to be ready to go against every team.”
Cowichan’s other masters men’s team, the Steelheads, lost 2-0 to Castaways Juniors in Victoria last Saturday. The Steelheads host UVic Alumni at Sherman Road Saturday at 8 p.m.