Chilliwack FC’s U-21 men are finally in the win column after edging Vancouver FC 2-1 on Saturday.
CFC came into the Pacific Coast Soccer League game 0-4, surrendering 14 goals over that stretch while scoring none of their own. Early on against a Vancouver team that came in 2-0, it looked like more of the same.
“They came out pretty strong and they scored and we were like, ‘Uh oh. Here we go again,’” said CFC head coach Graeme Slee. “But the guys are starting to work well as a unit, and they started to come on after that Vancouver goal.”
Kyle Staiger got the locals on the board with a rocket from 30 yards out.
“His confidence will be through the roof now because he let it rip and it was on a rope, catching the top corner,” Slee said. “The confidence for the whole team was flowing after that, and they knew they were going to score again.”
About 12 minutes later, some good work by Jaye Amberg led to the winning goal by Scott Delcourt.
“Jaye went down the right side, drew the defender in and slid the ball right across the park to Scott,” Slee said. “It was a sitter for him and he calmly swatted it into the corner.”
The locals went into a defensive shell from there, nursing the one goal lead to the end.
Chilliwack was helped immensely a full roster, including four substitutions. The visitors had nothing beyond their starting 11, a bad situation on a day where the sun was beating down at Sardis secondary school.
“They knew we were a young team and they were travelling all the way out to Chilliwack with Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals that night,” Slee surmised. “But they’re still a good team, holy smokes. Most of their guys were 18, 19 and 20 years old while we’re going with 16 and 17 year olds.”
After battling hard through four hard-luck losses, Slee was happiest to see his young charges rewarded for their hard work and perseverance.
“Look at Kyle. When he first came out he was very nervous. He wouldn’t challenge, he was a step behind, and it was strictly confidence,” Slee noted. “In this game he won everything in the air and the majority of his tackles. He scored a great goal and he was the man of the match by far. I think this team as a whole believes in itself now.”
The road doesn’t get any easier just because they’ve got a win.
Coming up, Chilliwack hits the road for a tough trip to Victoria on Saturday, followed by a visit to West Vancouver on Sunday. Both teams are middle of the pack in the Pacific Coast Soccer League, but the travel alone will make the matches difficult.
“What I saw this weekend, I’m expecting to use that as a ruler for our future games,” Slee said. “It’s tough when you’re up against it every week. You need something to fall for you, and it did this weekend.”