The Surrey United Firefighters continued their tune-up for the upcoming national club soccer championships by posting their second win in as many weeks in Vancouver Metro Soccer League men's premier action Saturday at Cloverdale Athletic Park.
The defending provincial champs overcame a sluggish start to earn a 2-1 win over visiting Croatia to improve their record to two wins and one loss after three weeks.
"Getting a win is always a good confidence booster," said Surrey coach Niall Thompson. "It's nice to get a result even though we came out flat. We didn't panic even though we did come out a bit flat and that just shows the signs of our depth, resilience and maturity. The guys just refocused and kept working and got the job done."
Steve McAuley opened the scoring off a corner kick by Nick Peringini midway through the opening frame.
Croatia countered shortly after play resumed following the halftime break to knot the count at 1-1.
The Firefighters continued to press and were rewarded in the 70th minute when Jeff Clarke fed a pass to up Angus Burke, who sidestepped Croatia goalkeeper Didar Sandhu and tapped in the winning goal.
The Firemen have one final test before heading to nationals in Winnipeg. United will catch a crosstown bus to Newton Athletic Park Saturday to take on the high-flying Rovers CCBTU beginning at 4 p.m.
The Rovers maintained their share of top spot in the premier tables by upending Imperial Cup champion West Van 2-1 on the North Shore Friday.
Using a patched-together lineup, the Rovers rode stellar goalkeeping from Chris Beck and a pair of timely goals by Dever Orgill to a satisfying win in one of the toughest road parks in the league.
"The game was a real grind," said Rovers coach Ted Hans. "We picked up three injuries in the first 15 minutes so we had to make adjustments on the fly. Our backup goalie had to play out for about 70 minutes. The guys all really stepped up, especially Dever; he played every position on the field."
Elsewhere, ICST Pegasus and the Delta United Hurricanes played to a scoreless draw in a rare mid-week encounter at Newton Athletic Park Wednesday night.
The result was a good news/bad news situation for Pegasus. The good news is the Horsemen are still undefeated and have yet to allow a goal. The down side is they have only mustered two goals in three outings to date.
"We haven't scored a lot of goals but we are creating chances, which is good," said Pegasus coach Stephen Burns. "If we weren't getting any chances there would be a lot more to be concerned about. We're a little too passive around the goal but we've been working hard at being more aggressive in the final third of the field in practise and hopefully it will come around."
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