The PACWEST men's soccer season got underway this weekend, and Douglas kicked off the year with some fireworks. The opening 10 minutes saw lots of back-and-forth action, but the first shot on target came in the 14th, when Taylor Richardson launched a bullet of a cross that fell perfectly for Tomi Fagbongbe. Tomi went for the spectacular with a backheel that was corralled by the Falcons keeper Kevin Monk*.
Race Williams and Yianni Siafakas had excellent chances before Richardson finally broke the deadlock when a corner kick was headed back across goal by Burhan Waisy and fell to the big man, completely unmarked. The Falcons pushed back at the start of the second half and nearly leveled it up, with a deflected shot being cleared off the line by Waisy. Edris Najm was booked almost immediately after coming on as a substitute at the start of the second half, and things got ugly soon after.
Siafakas picked up a yellow, and Najm was nearly booked a second time for disagreement with the referee. The controversy looked to be in the past when Williams sweetly struck a ball from the left edge of the box which curled past Monk into the goal, but not 5 minutes after, two quick yellows saw Williams' night end early and things began to kick off. Three more yellows were handed out to Douglas players as the game quickly became chaotic, but it wasn't long before three blasts on the referee's whistle sent the Royals home with a 3-0 win after a third goal was scored by Siafakas. The job was done, but Williams, one of the key pieces of this Royals squad, was forced to miss Sunday's match at Capilano due to the red card.
The Blues jumped out to an early lead in the second game of the weekend, as chaos in front caused the ball to fall kindly at the feet of Keith Jackson, the 2017 Player of the Year, whose beautiful curling shot found the top corner from 20 yards out. The Royals were unlucky to be down, as Capilano's Hudson Nelles had saved what looked to be a sure goal just a few minutes earlier.
The action cooled down a bit heading into halftime, with a few chances from either side that led to nothing. Douglas came back hard after the break, with a flurry of chances that culminated in Quinn Desaulniers opening his Royals account with the equalizing goal after a great series of passing play and well-timed runs. After that the pace of play slowed, as a few chances fell to either side but no man was able to capitalize. When the referee's third blast brought the game to a close, the result was still a well-earned draw for the visitors.
Capilano also won their Saturday match, and are tied with Douglas on four points. The Royals are on the road next weekend as they visit Nanaimo to take on the VIU Mariners.
*reposted with a correction to the starting keeper for Lanagara. Alex Kalajdzic was incorrectly reported and has been changed to Kevin Monk.