Match Report: Lane United Record Tough Home Loss Against Calgary Foothills FC
June 18, 2016
Lane United FC fell 1-0 to the visiting Calgary Foothills FC on Friday night, 24 hours after winning by the same score against the same opponent. The pattern of the second installment of this fixture, between the top two teams in the USL PDL Northwest Division, was markedly different from the first: the night before, Lane United had scored their winner in the 80th minute, but Calgary took only 90 seconds to find their one goal tonight, then defended stoutly for the next 88 minutes or so to see out the win. Splitting the results over the two games means that the status quo of Calgary sitting alone atop the Northwest Division table has been restored; Lane United are now in second with 13 points, and still in position for a playoff spot.
Head coach John Galas said that the pattern of playing two games in two nights—necessitated by the distances Calgary and their opponents are forced to travel, frequently on limited budgets—“is awful for the players, but both teams have to do it.” To that end, he named only three of the same starters from the previous night: the goalkeeper Ben Willis and two outfield players, Matthew Coffey and Jose Carlos Terrón. Where Terron had been Lane United’s most regular offensive threat on Thursday night, he distinguished himself in this match by being at the center of flashpoints all night long as Calgary’s players tried in vain to get him sent off on numerous occasions after he had picked up a yellow card late in the first half. The temperature of the on-field action was certainly hotter than the night before, as referee Lucas Brooks failed to limit, let alone prevent, any of the altercations and frank discussions that took place after routine fouls with increasing frequency as the game wore on. “Calgary are a very organized team, a very mature team, and from a gamesmanship perspective they’re skilled as well,” Galas said after the match. “It affects the referee and it affects our guys too.”
Actual goalmouth action amidst the argle-bargle tended to be at a premium, especially after Calgary’s early score and with many of Lane United’s first-choice attackers on the bench after going the distance 22 hours earlier. The goal came from a cheap Reds giveaway that resulted in Tofa Fakunle sliding a pass for Mitchell Bauche to latch onto, in acres of space behind the recovering Lane United back line. With only Sam Tweeton remotely near him, Bauche was able to sidefoot a mostly uncontested shot to the far post past Ben Willis for a second-minute lead. Calgary made that scoreline stand while rarely enduring any scares from the Lane United attack. For spells in the first half, the Reds were in control of possession and occasionally organized enough to win the ball in dangerous areas with high pressure, but chances rarely materialized from that good work. The only time the visiting goalkeeper Mitch McCaw was forced into a save was within a minute of the second-half kickoff, when Nathan Braaten hit a cross/shot from the right side of the penalty box that the Calgary man sprawled to catch.
Calgary, for their part, “were experts at soaking up the pressure and hitting us on the counter, and their forwards are very very good with their back to goal” Galas said—but even with those advantages, the visitors were rarely able to produce clear-cut opportunities to double their lead. Ajeej Sarkaria, their starting striker, several times was able to roll an opposing defender but could never quite fashion the chance to shoot without being disrupted first. Darius Ramsay, on as a substitute, had a great look on a flowing counterattacking move late in the game but shot weakly at Ben Willis. And Nico Pasquotti, in an attacking midfielder role, showed few effects of having played 80 minutes the night before and made several inroads down the right wing, forcing Willis to save his hard, low half-volley in the 34th minute and parry his very dangerous cross, with multiple teammates waiting to tap-in, from the right bi-line in the 53rd. But that was essentially that for scoring chances, as the second half dragged on with little flow, suiting the team in the lead just fine. Calgary, having earned their first points on American soil (or plastic and rubber, as it were), continue their punishing road trip by playing at the Portland Timbers U-23s at 2:00 pm on Sunday. Lane United get rather more rest—a full week until their next game, hosting local Liga Unida team, Club Jalisco in an exhibition match on June 24th at 7 PM.