Blaze Roberts moves the ball during a Cowichan LMG’s match earlier this season. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Blaze Roberts moves the ball during a Cowichan LMG’s match earlier this season. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Shortstaffed Cowichan LMG outmatched by Vic West

Coach and players not unhappy with performance

A shorthanded Cowichan LMG team was no match for a veteran Vic West team at the Finlayson soccer turf in Victoria last Saturday.

In what head coach Ryan Flynn described as “monsoon conditions,” the young Cowichan Div. 1 club struggled to keep up with their more-experienced opponents in a 3-1 loss.

“They’ve really got stuff together,” Cowichan head coach Ryan Flynn said of Vic West. “They have everyone in the right spots and they played the right way.”

Cowichan wasn’t in the same situation, scrambling to fill holes with players absent for a multitude of reasons, including injuries, work and vacations. Flynn had two players at centre back — Mateo Kostering and new signing Kwasun Cook — who had never played that crucial position in the Vancouver Island Soccer League.

“It makes it a little bit harder, especially when you’re going against a veteran team,” Flynn said. “We’ve been able to get away with some mistakes, but with this group, you’re not able to get away with many mistakes.”

Another new signing, goalkeeper Robbie Cook, was strong in his Cowichan debut, and the coach estimated he made six or seven saves before either team scored.

“He gave us a chance to be in the game,” Flynn stated. “To get a goal and play with the lead.”

Cowichan did, in fact, get the lead when Blaze Roberts scored his fourth goal of the season in the 15th minute. Vic West tied the game and took the lead with goals four minutes apart later in the first half. The host team’s third goal came late in the match after Flynn moved a player up from the backline to push for the tie.

“It was pretty much either we tie the game 2-2 or they go up 3-1,” the coach said.

Despite the loss, Flynn wasn’t unhappy with his team’s performance, and the players seemed pleased as well.

“For the first time losing in seven games, I would have thought the guys would be down a bit more, but they were kind of an upbeat group,” he recalled. “They understood who we were up against and that the opportunity given us wasn’t the best. It was a better mood than our last home game that ended in a tie.”

Cowichan is scheduled to play at home against Lakehill this Friday at 7:30 p.m., but that might change due to the partial closure of Highway 1 to Victoria. As of Wednesday, the league brass were hoping to reschedule some games to avoid travel over the Malahat.

Whoever their opponent is, Cowichan’s next match will mark the halfway point of the season, and Flynn is pleased with his team’s place in the standings, tied for second overall with Vic West.

“If somebody had told me going into the year that we have a chance to be second outright after the first half, I’d be like, ‘Yeah, I’ll take it,’” he said.

In Div. 3, Cowichan Oak FC lost 3-1 on the road against Prospect Lake last Saturday night. Miguel Trinczek opened the scoring for the Oak, but all the offence came from Prospect after that. The Oak are scheduled to play on the road against Lakehill this Sunday, but that could change.

In Div. 4, the Cowichan Fury lost 3-0 to Bays United last Sunday afternoon. The Fury are scheduled to play at home this Saturday against the JDF Spartans at 6 p.m.