If you wanted an indication of how entertaining the Canadian Premier League is going to be with a crop of hungry, domestic talent, then look no further than Friday night’s PDL match up between TSS Rovers and Calgary Foothills.
It was an end to end affair between the top two teams in the division. Both teams had their chances, and Calgary should have left with all three points after missing a shedload of chances due to poor finishing and some fantastically resolute defending by the Rovers.
In the end, a Daniel Sagno double, with a goal in each half, gave TSS Rovers the edge, coming away with the hard fought 2-1 victory. A stoppage time consolation from Moses Danto made it a bit more respectable for Calgary, but it was too little too late.
TSS Rovers are now unbeaten in four matches and currently sit joint top of the PDL Northwest Division standings. On Sunday they have a chance to consolidate that and win their first ever silverware, the Juan De Fuca Plate, at Swangard. It’s early days, but what a season this has already been.
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.
Ready for an all-Canadian table topping battle
Your TSS Rovers starting XI
Some familiar faces in the Calgary Foothills line-up as well
TSS had a new tactic – shield the ball with all ten men and move it slowly up the pitch to stop Calgary getting near it
Andrew Hicks believes he can fly – he can, we’ve seen his saves
Chris Guerrero takes a sore one early on from Moses Danto in the slick conditions
That would have hurt! It was fierce out there
The breakthrough came in the 24th minute when Thomas Gardner picked up the ball deep in the Rovers half, cutting through the Calgary midfield like a knife through butter to brilliantly play in Daniel Sagno
And the striker showed great composure to coolly slot home past Marco Carducci in the Foothills goal
Sheer Joy! 1-0 Rovers
Things were still fierce out there and when the going gets tough, Marcello Polisi is the man for the job
But that tackle raised tempers and Moses Danto was lucky not to see red for slapping Eric De Graaf, just getting a yellow
Who doesn’t want a Hicksy hug?
Calgary turned up the pressure to start the second half, launching wave of attacks on the TSS goal, but the Rovers defence were dealing well with it
Ali Musse should have tied things up, but pulled his shot across goal just past the far post
And it proved costly in the 68th minute, when Marco Carducci could only parry a Matteo Polisi shot, and the rebound fell to Daniel Sagno two yards out and he fired high into the net for his, and the Rovers, second of the night
Now that’s what you call a celebration!
Foothills tried everything to get back into the game but the Rovers defence was resolute
But a cheap free kick given away in stoppage time gave Calgary one more chance and up stepped Moses Danto
To curl a beauty round the Rovers wall, past Andrew Hicks, and into the net. 2-1 TSS now
And as Calgary won another late free kick, which they couldn’t convert, tempers flared once more, carrying on to after the final whistle. Gotta love that derby passion!
And that was all she wrote. TSS Rovers took all three points and moved into a share of the lead at the top of the PDL Northwest Division standings with Calgary Foothills. The rest of the season is going to be a hotly contested cracker!
You can see all of Tom and Duncan’s photos from the game HERE and in our full Flickr slideshow below: