The champs are here!
TSS Rovers won their first piece of silverware on Sunday evening. A 2-1 victory over Victoria Highlanders at Swangard Stadium, their second in win in eight days over the islanders, saw the Rovers lift their first ever Juan De Fuca Plate, sparking jubilant scenes in Burnaby as TSS’ excellent run of form continued.
Zach Verhoven wrote his name into the history books with a first half double, as the Rovers pace tore the Highlanders three at the back defence apart. They should have added to their tally but in the end, solid game management saw them come away with the win. Even Callum Montgomery bundling home a stoppage time consolation for the visitors couldn’t dampen any spirits.
What a win! What a team! And they move up to second in the Western Conference Power Rankings with it to boot.
Equally important, TSS Rovers are now unbeaten in five matches, four of them wins, and remain joint top of the PDL Northwest Division standings along with Calgary Foothills. The Rovers sit second in the table on goal difference, with the top two teams advancing to the playoffs. With eight matches of their regular season remaining, they now have a six point gaps over third placed Lane United, who do have a game in hand.
Dare to dream! The trophy hunt continues.
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.
What Sunday was all about
Will there be a new name on the Juan De Fuca Plate this year – spoiler, yes!
The Swanguardians were ready for the battle ahead with their pyro display
And so were your TSS Rovers starting XI
TSS got out of the blocks quickly and a fast breakaway saw Nike Azuma cut the ball back to Zach Verhoven
Who drilled the ball home to make it 1-0 to the good guys after 17 minutes
Sparking ecstasy amongst the Swanguardians, who now had one hand on the Plate
And there was better to come when Highlanders keeper Nolan Wirth let a speculative long range strike from Zach Verhoven slip through his fingers
And into the back of the net
2-0 Rovers. The joy!
So you know what that means…
The Highlanders were shell shocked
Victoria upped the pressure in the closing stages of the half, but the TSS defence held firm and Mario Gerges kept Cam Hundal from letting them back into the match
The second half game management from TSS was excellent as Victoria ran out of puff and William Raphael had three chances to put the game to bed, but just couldn’t find that way through
Dog at the football! Always makes my day
As the game headed into stoppage time, a first ever clean sheet for the Rovers was beckoning, but as a corner came in Callum Montgomery and Mario Gerges went for the ball
But the Highlanders player just got something on it first, knocking it past the TSS keeper for a late consolation for Victoria
But it was too little, too late and the Juan De Fuca Plate was coming home to the lower mainland
Raise it with pride boys
And let the celebrations begin
And there’s no celebrations of a trophy win without smoke and flares
Mario Gerges just upped the ante on postgame goalkeeper celebrations
A big well done to the TSS Rovers coaching team on their first piece of silverware
You can see all of Tom and Duncan’s photos from the game HERE and in our full Flickr slideshow below: