The second half provided few second chances for the Yukon Strikers in the finals of the Whitehorse Men’s Metro League at Porter Creek Secondary on Wednesday.
Playing the Yukon Selects, the territory’s representative men’s team, the Strikers let in two goals in the first half before allowing four more in the second, en route to a 6-0 loss.
“It’s an 80-minute game, but for 60 minutes we were really good – we moved the ball quite well,” said Strikers captain David Ratcliff. “In the end they moved the ball well and they beat us. Their pace up front was hard to deal with.”
“I think we played great,” said Selects captain Nick Locke. “We’ve trained quite a bit this summer, compared to last time we went to nationals when we didn’t have a lot of sessions together.
“We have a good mix of experience and youth – and new additions. So it’s going well.”
Leading the way as captain, Locke opened the scoring 18 minutes in, taking a pass over the Strikers’ defence from Jake Hanson, putting it in from wide open in front.
Two minutes later, Selects’ Ammon Hoefs lofted the ball out of the corner allowing teammate Jonathan Russell to slam it in out of mid-air.
Four minutes into the second half, Selects’ Jeff Hills tucked the ball into the far, top corner of the Strikers’ net on a free kick from the tip of the penalty box.
Dealing the final blows were Russell, Hoefs and Stephen Dynes with goals later in the second half.
“The young guys (on the Strikers) played well, they just didn’t finish their chances,” said Locke. “It could have been a different game today if they got a couple of their chances.”
While the two teams split their regular season games, the final could have been more lopsided with two Selects goals called back for offsides at the start of the game while still scoreless.
“The first goal I scored was called offside, and it wasn’t very clear,” said Locke. “(The ref) said I was in an offside position, but they played it back to me, so it was kind of weird.”
The eventual champs advanced to the final with a 2-1 victory over the U-17 Yukon Strikers on Monday. Hills scored both of the Selects’ goals.
The Strikers reached the final with a 7-1 trouncing of the Yukon Brewing FC in the semis. Strikers’ Curtis Hills led the team with a hat trick.
In the match for bronze, the U-17 Strikers knocked the fizz out of Yukon Brewing, downing the over-35 team 3-0.
Scoring for the Strikers were Michael Hare and Belgie Nunez with two.
After missing last year’s tournament, the Yukon Selects will be vying for the Challenge Trophy against Canada’s top clubs at the National Championships this October in Brossard, Quebec. This will be the best Selects team to go in years, said Locke.
“I’ve been part of this team for nine years now, but I haven’t seen the team look this good,” said the 24-year-old. “We have a lot of depth, a lot of college players, and guys who have played college. It’s a really good mix.
“And we have a good coach in Victor (Lavenderous), so I’m pretty excited. He played semi-pro in Montreal.”
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