The TSS Rovers were once again unable to make the most of an opportunity at home, drawing 1-1 with the visiting Lane United FC from Eugene. TSS now enters the half-way point of the season with 2 wins, 2 ties and 3 losses, for a total of 8 points. The Rovers started the year with two wins at home by a combined score of 7-0. Since then, however, it’s been a tale of points just slipping away. In the past five games, TSS has drawn twice and had three one-goal losses. It leaves them in before-last place in their division, but with a +4 goal differential. Yet, not all is lost. Vancouver sits only six points off division leading Calgary Foothills FC and a playoff spot, with a game in hand. And not to mention, still half of a season to play.
Despite some disappointing results as of late, Will Cromack will surely be pleased with the way his team has played the last couple of games. The Rovers have held most of the play. Jordan Haynes, Mark Baldisimo and Mateo Polisi have outplayed most of their opponents in the middle of the park and going forward, the team has been dynamic, being on the front foot more often than not. What’s more, it’s been fun to watch!
The good news for the players on this team who might feel it has more to prove, is that they don’t have to wait long at all. Today the Rovers are right back in action in another crucial match, about 41 hours after the final whistle of their last one.
In this one TSS was feeling it coming out of the gate. In the eight minute Jordan Haynes played a beautiful ball from his own half which Connor MacMillan got on the end of and slotted into the bottom right corner to give TSS the early lead. The Rovers didn’t sit back after that, forwards Yli-Hietanan, Glennon, Malamura and MacMillan pressed the Lane back line not allowing them to play out from the back and creating a few chances for themselves. TSS was able to play the ball up the field on the ground but also looked over the top to find their attackers.
Lane United didn’t get many looks at goal in the first half. Once in the opposition half they would often send balls overtop, but didn’t find much success. The Lane fullbacks pushed quite high up the park however, which almost cost them on a couple of occasions, since when the Rovers came back the other way there were big holes in their backline. Despite finishing the half with a good number of chances, Vancouver headed into the interval up by the lone goal.
The second half was a bit of a different story. Rovers fans surely felt confident at half-time that there was enough in their side to take the full three points. However, that confidence was dashed just three minutes after the restart when the ball fell somewhat fortuitously to Sørn Jensen who’s perfectly placed shot into the top corner of the net gave ‘keeper Luciano Trasolini no chance. After that Vancouver was never able to find the same form they had in the first half.
The second half grew into a more open and scrappy affair. Not too long after the Lane goal one challenge cost Mark Baldisimo the rest of the game. Elmes was forced to substitute him for Riley Pang. Lane United managed to shift some momentum in their favour. They weren’t exactly slicing through the Rover’s backline, but had more chances and managed to slow down the TSS attack. Despite a few more chances exchanged, there were no more goals to be scored. The Rovers will be disappointed they were unable to play better in the second half, but give Lane United full credit for the way they responded after the break.
Man of the Match
#3 Jordan Haynes
After having featured in the middle last week against Victoria, Haynes started at left back until the team got shuffled around in the second half and he was slotted back into central midfield after TSS conceded. From his natural position on the back line he was able to influence the game with his great ball control and passing, even beating a few players on his own. His highlight was the perfect long ball which found MacMillan, the goal scorer. It was another very solid match for Haynes and no matter where he lines up in the next few matches, all fans will want is for him to get involved in the game as much as possible.
Today the Rover’s men face the Seattle Sounders U23s. Seattle sits one spot ahead of Vancouver in the standings, with one more point but also one extra game played. The Sounders also played on Friday, meaning that this contest will be comparing the depths of both teams.
Just afterwards, at 5 o’clock, the TSS Rovers’ women team face Westside Timbers in a Women’s Premier Soccer League clash. The ladies will look to get above .500, as they have won twice and lost twice so far this season.