Foothills FC Wins vs Victoria, One Point away from Another Division Title
If you wanted moments, you got moments.
Between five goals, several huge saves, close misses , and several hockey style shoulder checks, Foothills FC’s 3-2 win over the Victoria Highlanders was the most eventful and exciting home game of the season.
The club is three points closer to another run at the USL2 National Championship with the win at Mount Royal University’s stadium field on Friday night. Sixteen year old rookie Aribim Pepple scored in his third consecutive match and Willy Akio scored twice to propel Foothills FC back into first place in Northwest Division with one game day remaining.
Foothills FC’s goals came at the expense of Trevor Schneider, who is Akio’s teammate at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, so there was a strategy to success.
“What I knew (and didn’t share publicly) was what I wanted to get at today, and it worked.”
What worked was getting Schneider to commit to a chase for the ball, and simply swerving around him to pocket a 2-1 leading goal late in the first half. The game winner in the 71st minute came off a well-reacted to rebound chance that he slid along the grass to the far corner.
Akio said after the match his team knew they needed a result because the Highlanders playoff lives depended on sweeping this two game road trip.
“I told the boys just to be calm and play our game, we have more possession and we would get the goal. And we did.”
Akio spoke to Schneider after the match for a few moments.
“I wanted to talk before we went back to Texas and have our next season together. It’s all about sportsmanship and having fun.”
In what he called a hectic match, Akio said the team’s new training plan pushed them throughout the match.
“We put the game into sections. We start strong, keep going, and we just got better. It kept getting more hectic but we knew we could kill it off.”
Head Coach Leon Hapgood said his team made it too hard on themselves.
“We started sloppy, we took back the lead and played some nice football in the last 20 minutes of the first half.”
“In the second half we had chances to put the game to bed and we didn’t. But credit to the boys, they saw it to the end and credit to Victoria, they played hard all the way and have had a great season.”
Victoria’s goals came from a brilliant cross to Mackenzie Cole in the 10th minute, and a penalty kick finish for Shun Takano which put the game back even at two.
Hapgood said Foothills FC made a tactical change after the high pressure first 15 to 20 minutes and when midfielder, and ex-Highlander, Marcus Campanile was injured and replace by Drake Rendle. The Highlanders had very little sustained pressure from that point on and relied on taking the ball away to create offense.
“We need to be ruthless. We had a chance to by three or four and we don’t do it. We need to make smarter decisions in the middle of the field so we can have a better end product and maintain possession to create spaces.”
PLAYOFF RACE UPDATE:
Foothills FC improved their season record to 8-3-2 for 26 points. The Seattle Sounders FC U23 defeated the TSS Rovers Wednesday night in Vancouver 1-0 which gave them 24 points. By having the head to head tiebreaker against Seattle, Foothills FC only requires a draw in the Victoria rematch to claim their third Northwest Division title in four years. If that doesn’t occur, Seattle must defeat the Portland Timbers U23 in their match in Sumner, Washington, which will begin one hour after the 2pm kickoff at Mount Royal University’s stadium field.
ABOUT FOOTHILLS FC
Foothills FC operates in Calgary and competing in the USL League Two Northwest Conference since 2015. In 2018, Foothills captured the National Championship title of the U23 league. Foothills FC’s mandate is to be a bridge for the future stars of the game to develop and succeed in Canada, while providing our fans with a premier sporting experience.
Foothills FC would like to thank all its sponsors including our jersey and game day sponsors: Telus, PetroTranz, Rogers Insurance, Secure Energy, FieldSafe Solutions and Strikers Soccer
ABOUT USL LEAGUE TWO
The proven developmental leader in North American soccer's evolving tiered structure, USL League Two (formerly the PDL) features 74 franchises in four conferences throughout the United States and Canada, including 18 clubs that are owned and operated by a professional club, or that hold a partnership with a professional club. League Two has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world, with more than 70 percent of all selections in the MLS SuperDraft since 2010 having PDL experience, including 66 selections in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft.
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Contact 2019 media coordinator: David Standish at 403-860-1235 or email@example.com
Calgary Foothills Soccer Club, 111 Exploration Avenue SE, Calgary, AB T3S 0B6 (403) 225-9388