TSS Rovers put Monday night’s disappointing 4-1 loss to Lane United behind them on Friday night to get their first win of the new PDL season, coming from behind to beat last year’s Northwest Division champions, Portland Timbers U23, 3-1 at Swangard Stadium.
When Malcolm Dixon fired Portland into a 22nd minute lead from the spot, after a very contentious penalty award, you wondered if the floodgates would open once again, but the Rovers showed their mental strength to come roaring back and tie things up through Nick Soolsma four minutes before half time.
It was goal their play deserved and they added two more in the second half, from Ukrainian Danylo Smychenko and man of the match Erik Edwardson, to secure their first points of the season.
It was a win that will do wonders for this squad moving forward, and a much needed confidence boost as they get set for a weekend of tough away games in Seattle and Victoria next week.
AFTN photographers Tom Ewasiuk (@ResidualImage)) and Duncan Nicol (@VanCityVilla)
were there to capture what action there was before, during and after the game. Here’s their “Story In Pictures”, with a full Flickr slideshow at the end.
Your TSS Rovers starting XI
It had been an even and fast paced start from both teams, but Portland got a penalty in the 22nd minute on a contentious call, and Malcolm Dixon just fired home after Andrew Hicks got a foot on it but couldn’t keep it out
A few calls from the referee weren’t going down well with the TSS bench and they got a warning
The pain of playing in the PDL, as demonstrated by Tommy Gardner
But TSS got themselves level four minutes before half time when Matteo Polisi fired a shot on goal
Portland keeper Zachary Nelson saved the first effort but player/coach Nick Soolsma pounced on the rebound to fire home the equaliser
And there was more joy for TSS in the 51st minute when Soolsma showed a great touch to bring the ball down and cut it back for Ukrainian centre back Danylo Smychenko
Who headed home the go ahead goal
Portland nearly got back on level terms right away but Gio Magana-Rivera’s shot crashed off the bar with Hicks beaten
And Hicks was called into action a few times in the match as he kept Portland at bay, making nine saves on the night
But TSS put the game to bed in the 80th minute when Erik Edwardson linked up well on the left with former Portland Pilots teammate Eric De Graaf
Powering into the box
And firing home past Nelson
Sparking wild celebrations in front of the Swangardians
You can see what the win meant for the players
Sheer joy all round
Even the scoreboard got excited. It was only 3-1, but we’ll take this for our goal difference!
And it was a 3-1 final as the Rovers did indeed show courage to bounce back in some style
A great night all round. Don’t miss the next one on June 1st against leaders Calgary Foothills
You can see all of Tom and Duncan’s photos from the game HERE and in our full Flickr slideshow below: