Tigers 3-2 Okanagan FC
The Okanagan FC PCSL team started a tough back-to-back weekend with an away match to FC Tigers, who are now top of the division with 23 points.
OFC’s leading scorer, Randy Hubber, almost got the visitors off to the perfect start… only to be denied by a string of solid saves by the Tigers’ goalkeeper. OFC were off to a bright start, but weren’t able to take their chances.
Tigers grew into the game midway through the first half, and moved the ball well. Showing the quality that now has them on top of the table. OFC’s defence held strong, but was eventually broken in spectacular fashion, when Tigers’ central midfielder blasted a shot into the top corner from 30 yards.
Despite their strong second half record this season, OFC quickly found themselves 3-0 down with two lapses of concentration soon after the break. Tigers’ forwards were clinical with their finishing, leaving OFC keeper Carson Murray little chance with any of the goals.
Character is shown in these moments though, as Okanagan FC piled on late pressure in the last 15 minutes. The team relentlessly attacked until the final whistle, never giving up on the result. They were rewarded with a goal from Shaun Pilcher, and then a second in the 89th minute from Christian Artavia. Both goals coming as a result of quality crosses from the left wing.
In the final moments, OFC pressed hard for the equalizer, hitting the bar and carving out a clear breakaway opportunity … but the Tigers’ keeper held strong and the final result was a 3-2 defeat for OFC on the road.
Okanagan FC 1-3 Khalsa Sporting Club
Sunday saw OFC host Khalsa Sporting Club, the PCSL’s current League and Playoff Champion. The teams had met just one week earlier, with OFC winning 2-0 on the road.
The hosts started quickly, feeding from the energy of the home crowd (400) at the Apple Bowl. A couple of early attempts could definitely have been converted, one header from winger Christian Artavia missed by inches.
Against the run of play, Khalsa scored a fantastic free kick from 30 yards out. The ball whipped over the wall and kissed the post on its way in… 1-0.
OFC responded positively to this goal however, and substitute Alex Thompson had soon won the hosts a penalty with some excellent work down the right wing. Despite scoring one the previous weekend, the Khalsa goalkeeper made a good save to his bottom right to deny Alex the equalizer.
The equalizer would come though, from a Markus Roth free kick just before half time. From right on the edge of the box, The German midfielder curled the ball around the wall and beat the goalkeeper to his bottom left, a tremendous strike!
Khalsa were much more threatening in the second half, and their striker capitalized twice with fantastic finishes into the top left corner of the Okanagan net. With a 2 goal deficit and 15 minutes to play, it wasn’t looking good for OFC.
Once again, Okanagan never gave up on the match… Brandon McCallum and Fabrice Fanfani both hit the woodwork in the second half, the finishing touch was all that was missing for the home team.
Overall though, two very competitive and hard-fought games against quality opponents for Okanagan FC… and a fantastic crowd in the stadium who had a great time, watching some quality local soccer – the club now sit 2 points behind local rivals Kamloops Wolfpack in the race for playoffs. The two teams meet each other, in what will be a crucial match this Saturday July 13 at the Apple Bowl. The team have 2 home back-to-back weekends left, all games against the current top 4, come out and support!
Okanagan FC vs Kamloops Wolfpack – Saturday, July 13th – 4:00 – Apple Bowl
Okanagan FC vs Victoria Highlanders – Sunday July 14th – 12:00 – Apple Bowl
Okanagan FC vs Surrey United – Saturday July 20th – 4:00 – Apple Bowl
Okanagan FC vs FC Tigers – Sunday July 21st – 1:00 – Apple Bowl