Tough Opening PCSL Weekend

It was a tough weekend for the Okanagan FC PCSL team, and not the start we were looking for as we opened our league campaign with back to back trips to Penticton and Kamloops.

Penticton Pinnacles  2-0  Okanagan FC

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On Saturday, our local rivalry with Penticton resumed, and the match once again provided plenty of incident and talking points. Played in wet and slippery conditions at Kings Park, the game started brightly for OFC and the first half quickly developed a pattern of OFC being largely in control of possession, but Penticton looking dangerous on the counter attack. For all their possession though, the Okanagan team were unable to create too many real goal scoring opportunities, and it was Penticton who took the lead just before half time with a long range effort deflected past goalkeeper Harry Butler.

The second half became intense as Pinnacles looked to build on their advantage, and OFC needed to defend resolutely to stay in the game. The match threatened to boil over on several occasions…both sets of players desperate to kick off their campaigns with a positive result. OFC striker Kamen Wimbleton was unlucky to see his quick thinking from a free kick tipped over the bar by the Penticton keeper, and Brandon McCallum was inches away from an equalizer with a volley that flew into the side netting.

OFC_M_VS_Pentiction (3 of 16)

The all important second goal came mid way through the period…Penticton’s strike partnership are a real handful to deal with and caused problems for the OFC back line throughout the game. They combined together to get behind the OFC defense, and effectively finish the game. The visitors threw caution to the wind in the closing stages, and the game got pretty frantic, but Penticton were able to manage the game and close it out for a valuable home three points, probably just about deserved.

Kamloops Wolfpack  2-1  Okanagan FC

OFC had to pick themselves up for the Sunday trip to MacArthur Island Park, in Kamloops. This was another great game to watch between two evenly matched teams, both producing some very good quality soccer. The first half was very back and forth, with both teams creating chances. Okanagan FC came close to opening the scoring on several occasions…Spencer Young rattled the crossbar, and Kamen Wimbleton screwed his shot wide with only the keeper to beat. The visitors were frustrated with some of the referee’s decisions in this game, none more so than when Lucas Hicklin rounded the keeper and was brought down in the box, only for the penalty appeal to be waved away. Shortly after that it was Kamloops who took the lead following a defensive mistake from OFC…1-0 to Kamloops at half time.

The second half was again very evenly balanced as OFC went in search of an equalizer, sometimes leaving themselves exposed at the back to the counter attack. The equalizer did eventually come for the visitors though, as Spencer Young fired home after a bit of a scramble in the Kamloops box. The match looked to be heading for a tie when, in the final couple of minutes, another unfortunate defensive mistake resulted in a penalty for the home team. Kamloops made no mistake from the spot, and the final whistle was blown shortly afterwards. A harsh way to lose the game for Okanagan FC, but proof once again that the PCSL is going to be very tight this year with a fine line between winning and losing in matches which are very competitive indeed.

Next up for Okanagan FC is another tricky road trip to Vancouver Island this time, with back to back games against Victoria Highlanders on Saturday and Mid Isle Mariners on Sunday.

 

PCSL Exhibition Games

OFC Exhibition weekend

The Okanagan FC PCSL team were in action in The Lower Mainland this weekend, and had a very successful trip as pre season preparations continue.

TSS Rovers  1-2  Okanagan FC

On Saturday we played a young and very talented TSS Rovers team from the PDL. Played in sunny, but very windy, conditions at King George Park in Richmond, TSS started brightly and quickly settled into a pattern which saw them control the ball. OFC struggled to keep possession, and had to be content with long periods of defending against an excellent TSS team. However, the OFC team managed to get to the half time break still at 0-0 and, for all their possession, TSS were limited to just a handful of half chances. In fact, the best chance of the first half fell to OFC on the counter attack with the very lively Lucas Hicklin. The second half was very different…the Okanagan players grew in confidence as they realized that we were solid at the back and difficult to break down. The centre back pairing of Max Morgan and new signing Sam MacDonald is formidable. OFC started to look dangerous as they grew into the game and with better possession in midfield, they started to create good goal scoring opportunities. The opening goal came around the 65th minute when Darrell Plantz found himself one on one with the keeper, after great work from the influential Alex Thompson down the right hand side. A cool finish from Plantz and OFC were 1-0 up. Just 5 minutes later, the game was tied at 1-1…with OFC pushing for a second, TSS showed their quality once again with a lightning fast counter attack following an Okanagan chance at the other end. OFC were not discouraged though, and continued to take the game to their opponent, creating several more good chances. The winner came around the 80th minute, with Fabrice Fanfani firing home from close range following a spell of intense OFC pressure. TSS went in search of another equalizer, but that left gaps exposed in their back line and it was OFC who could have added to their score as the clock ran down. All in all, a great game and a fine performance from the Okanagan FC team.

OFC Man of the Match… Max Morgan for a rock solid performance at the heart of our defence

Kotoko  1-5  Okanagan FC

On Sunday we travelled to New Westminster to take on Kotoko FC. This opponent presented OFC with a different challenge for sure. Kotoko were not as fluid with the ball as TSS the previous day, but they were big and strong and very athletic, looking very dangerous going forwards. The first half was a pretty even game, with few scoring chances from either team. The conditions at Mercer Stadium were bright and sunny and the new playing surface on the pitch was immaculate. The game burst into life just before half time with two goals in two minutes. Following an OFC mistake, Kotoko took the lead with an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net which gave keeper, and new signing, Carl Vandekraats no chance. OFC were level straight from the kick off, however, as midfielder Markus Roth beat two defenders and netted with a cool finish. The second half saw the Okanagan FC team quickly take control of the game. A big part of the OFC pre season has been focussed on fitness and, similarly to the previous game, fitness started to become a factor in this game. OFC started to press forward, and they did it relentlessly…the goals were a while in coming, but once Kamen Wimbleton gave OFC the lead around the hour mark, the outcome became inevitable. The tireless Lucas Hicklin added a third after rounding the Kotoko keeper. Classy midfielder Ryunosuke Ahsan was scythed down in the box after a mazy run, and Alex Thompson calmly netted the penalty kick to make it 4-1. The best goal was saved until the end though, with yet another new signing, Alex Matsubara, curling one into the top corner from the edge of the box.

OFC Man of the Match… Influential midfielder Markus Roth showed his quality and creativity with the ball

Head Coach, Andrew Stevenson…”We could not have asked for a better weekend for our team, both on and off the field. Our hard work in pre season so far paid off in the matches, and we look like we are shaping up into a very decent team !”

 

PCSL Update

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The Okanagan FC PCSL squad are currently full scale into pre season preparations and looking forward to an exciting season of top quality local soccer in The Pacific Coast Soccer League. The team is training twice a week and working hard on all aspects of the game. Pre season strength and conditioning program is being run by Brandon McCallum and HDC Performance, and the players are working hard on improving their fitness. Coaching staff and players are getting to know each other better and the group is beginning to gel properly as a team.

ROSTER…The initial 21 player roster has been set and can be viewed HERE. The squad has been joined by a couple of trialists this week who will be hoping to be added as permanent members. We will also be announcing some new signings soon, as we are joined by players arriving from out of town university programs.

MATCH SCHEDULE…The full season game schedule has been published and can be viewed HERE. The season kicks off with a short trip to Penticton, followed by several other away games. First home game is against Penticton once again on June 9th at The Apple Bowl. June and July are busy months with our home fixtures being played at The Apple Bowl on Saturday afternoons at 4pm or Sundays at noon.

SEASON TICKETS…Are now on sale. Full details for how and where to purchase season tickets can be found HERE. We have an ambitious target of getting 1000 people out to watch our home games at The Apple Bowl. We aim to provide a good local soccer matchday experience which will be fun to come along and be a part of. We are hoping that Kelowna’s soccer community will get behind us and join us for home games, creating an exciting atmosphere in an iconic stadium.

EXHIBITION GAME…Penticton 2-0 Okanagan FC was not the result we were looking for in our first pre season game at Kings Park, Penticton this weekend. However, it was definitely a learning curve for our staff and players and we discovered plenty about our team and our prospects for the season ahead, as well as a little about one of our opponents ! Penticton brought a level of intensity to this game which caught us by surprise a little, and clearly showed their intent to establish an intense local rivalry with us as the season progresses. The game was a somewhat scrappy affair, which threatened to boil over on more than one occasion and the scene has been set for an interesting  PCSL season opener back in Penticton in May. For us, the match was largely a training exercise and we look forward to making some adjustments to improve our team in time for our next exhibition match, which will be against TSS Rovers in Richmond on April 27th. We will look forward to giving our friends from Penticton a warm welcome to Kelowna on June 9th !

 

PCSL Squad Announcement

We were delighted with the quality and depth of local soccer talent that turned out for our PCSL tryouts last week. We have selected a squad of 21 players for the roster and will add further signings over the coming weeks to make a full squad of 26 for the season.

Here is the list of players selected for the final roster from the week of evaluations:

Alex Thompson
Braden Peters
Brandon McCallum
Carson Murray
Christian Artavia
Dalmain Newland
Darrell Plantz
Davion Hutchinson
Fabrice Fanfani
Harry Butler
Jordan Hesketh
Jorge Angel-Mira
Kirby Carter
Lloyd Larsen
Lucas Hicklin
Markus Roth
Max Morgan
Randy Hubber
Ryunosuke Ahsan
Spencer Young
Tristan Moench

Pre season training starts this week and we are excited for a great year ahead in the Pacific Coast Soccer League.

Invitational Tryout

Thank you to everybody who came out to this week’s PCSL open tryout sessions at UBCO. Here is the list of players invited to attend tonight’s (Thusday March 14th) final session at UBCO at 8.30pm.

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George Smallridge

Dan Thornton

Noriyuki Nakanishi

Spencer Young

Ryunosuke Ahsan

Darrell Plantz

Alex Thompson

Davion Hutchinson

Braden Peters

Max Morgan

Brandon McCallum

David Bond

Lucas Hicklin

Lloyd Larsen

Kirby Carter

Markus Roth

Mees Geelkerken

Noah Dueck

Carson Murray

Randy Hubber

Harry Butler

Christian Artavia

Laszlo Toth

Jorge Angel-Mira

Emre Kermen

Fabrice Fanfani

Jordan Hesketh

Kevaughn Thames

Tristan Moench

Dalmain Newland

Angel Camejo Gonzales