Reds Open PDL Season in Canada
By Keeler McJunkin
Lane United opens the 2017 PDL slate this weekend, traveling to Canada for the first road trip of the year. The Reds will play TSS FC Rovers Friday, May 12 and Victoria Highlanders FC Sunday, May 14.
LUFC is coming off a 4-0 victory in last Friday’s exhibition friendly against Northwest Christian, led by a hat trick from forward Anthony Macchione and a clean sheet from keeper Jose Subirats.
Players have been arriving daily since the opener last week, leading to quality training sessions and improved competition as the season kicks into gear in Canada.
“The quality keeps getting better and better,” head coach John Galas said. “We’re getting close to our full numbers. We have quality and depth at all positions.”
Galas has been impressed with the performance of center back Sam Buzzas this week, specifically noting his ability to integrate with his teammates instantly and compete right away. Buzzas, a redshirt freshman from Xavier will be playing in his first games with the Reds this weekend.
“Training has gone really well and it’s been nice to meet all the guys,” Buzzas said. “I like the training culture, it’s very positive and you don’t see that a lot in soccer, so it’s nice to be in a positive environment. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do as a team. Obviously I’d like to see us win, but it’s progression based, so anything we can do to get better is good.”
Even with the numbers continuing to improve, the players still haven’t had much time to train together, but that’s nothing new for teams playing in this league as the season begins.
“That’s the nature of the beast in the PDL,” Galas said. “We’re fortunate enough to have quality players we can plug in and hopefully get results. We expect them to be integrated quickly and put in a good shift on the road.”
Buzzas, who arrived in Eugene on Sunday, isn’t concerned with just the four days of training with his new teammates before taking the field Friday.
“I’m pretty used to it, it’s kind of typical how soccer goes,” Buzzas said. “You just come in and start playing. I like getting the ball moving and that’s what we did during training. We got right into it.”
Scoring four goals and recording a clean sheet in the opener was a good start, but Galas wants to see improvement heading into the first league games of the year.
It will take a better all around effort to steal points on the road against two quality teams.
“I’d like to see better care of the ball, we were a little casual in possession,” Galas said. “We got a little complacent defensively and I thought we gave the ball away a little too cheaply. TSS will be very organized and hard to break down. We need to shift their defense and make them chase the game, but we have to take care of the ball or it’ll be hard for us to create chances.”
Lane United’s game against TSS FC Rovers is scheduled for a 7pm kickoff Friday night from Swangard Stadium in Burnaby, British Columbia. The game will be live streamed on YouTube: Click here to watch