Cowichan United didn’t get off to the start they wanted when they hosted Lakehill at the Sherman Road turf last Sunday afternoon, but managed to collect a single point in the Vancouver Island Soccer League U21 standings with a 2-2 tie.
“They scored in probably the first four minutes of the game,” Cowichan coach Tyler Hughes noted. “Obviously, we didn’t start the game too well. It’s not ideal to be down less than five minutes in.”
Cowichan started to play better after that, and although it was still 1-0 for Lakehill at halftime, United tied the score in the second half on a penalty kick by Michael Fusick, then went ahead on a goal by Igor Liah. Lakehill managed to tie it again shortly after that, and that’s how it stayed.
“It was a pretty even game,” Hughes said. “In the second half, we started to play some of the best soccer we’ve played all year in terms of ball movement and possession.”
As has been the case for Cowichan all year, and as the score showed, it was a competitive game.
“They were a strong team,” Hughes said. “I think of all the games we’ve played so far, there haven’t been any easy games or any games against teams that were beyond us.”
After their upcoming match against Castaways, Cowichan will have played everyone in the U21 league once. The team is improving steadily, Hughes pointed out, even though they haven’t yet been able to put a consistent lineup together.
“We’re coming along,” he said. “We’ve still got a handful of players out. They’re slowly coming back to training. We have a roster of about 20 players. Once people start coming back healthy, there will be good competition for spots.”
Hughes’s charges are playing a lot of soccer right now, as some are seeing regular action with the Cowichan Div. 1 team, and some are playing high school soccer this time of year.
“They’re physically demanding games for sure,” Hughes said of the Div. 1 matches. “But it’s great that the guys are getting a lot of soccer. The kids, if they want, are playing a lot. The kids who are working hard and the kids who want to improve, we’re starting to see that pay off.”
With one win, two draws and one loss, Cowichan will visit Castaways on Sunday afternoon at Victoria’s Central Park grass field.
“It’s the same game, just a slightly different surface,” Hughes said “I don’t know much about Castaways, but based on the standings, it will be another good test for our crew.”