Varsity Vs Highlanders (MEN): How the teams match Up

VANCOUVER — Varsity FC will be looking to build off an assertive debut win against Unity FC when they face Victoria Highlanders FC on Saturday, June 4th in what will be their first home match in the inaugural League 1 campaign.

Varsity FC’s first match of the season started on the back foot, having to deal with continued pressure from Unity that saw a couple decent half-chances in the opening minutes. Connor Mrazek’s deft bottom-corner finish in the 14th minute not only negated any chance of Varsity going down but perhaps eradicated some early-game nerves: Varsity quelled practically any chance of a Unity equalizer and solidified themselves as the superior team for the duration of the match. After a barrage of chances went begging for Varsity, striker Caleb Clarke sealed the victory in the 84th minute after running on to a lovely aerial through-ball from Jordano Pinto and calmly rounding the keeper to pass the ball into the net. Aside from a valuable and well-deserved three points that saw them go top of the table, Varsity’s solid performance earned them two Team of the Week selections for experienced defender Joe Zupo as well as for Clarke.

“We were happy to have a decent performance in game 1 and get the full three points,” said Varsity FC head coach Mike Mosher. “Now we want to build and improve each week going forwards.”

The team will be facing an experienced Highlanders side that feature a number of UNBC and UVic players. Of note is UNBC’s Kensho Ando and UVic’s Isaac Koch. Ando, a deep-lying 6, has a knack for meticulously finding players with great precision, with his long-ball prowess making him a threat for midfielders and defenders alike; Ando finished as the Canada West leading assist-maker in the 2021 Canada West season with an impressive 6 assists. Koch, a vastly different player to that of Ando, will no doubt be just as much of a concern for opposing defenders, with his lightning-quick pace and nimble dribbling proving difficult to contain. Koch was named a Canada West 1st team all-star for the 2021 season, racking up 14 goals and 4 assists throughout the regular and post-season.

“I am sure we will face a strong opponent in Victoria as Coach Steve Simonson has done a great job in preparing his teams that I have seen over the past several years,” said Mosher, whose praise of Simonson and his squad surely foreshadows a competitive match between the two sides.

Kick off for Saturday’s match is scheduled for 1:00 PM PST at Thunderbird Stadium. Tickets at the gate are by donation, with a suggested $10-15 to aid Varsity FC operations.

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