Rovers mark successful return to Swangard

Original publication: https://www.tssfc.ca/blog

TSS Rovers men and women’s teams secure 3 points each at the home opener with over 700 in attendance.

It was Swangard Stadium in British Columbia that gave young Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani a chance to showcase their talent. The pair scored a goal each in an U-20 World Cup tie against a Spain side featuring Gerard Piqué and Juan Mata back in 2007. Nearly 17 years later, Suarez returns to the province next week with his club, Inter Miami, to face the local powerhouse Vancouver Whitecaps. As for the Swangard, it remains a hub for the showcasing of young talent and has been the home of League1 BC side TSS Rovers since 2017.

This past Friday saw the Swangard open its doors for the first time this season, as TSS Rovers hosted Altitude in the so-called “Ironworkers Derby”. It was to be a football feast, with both women’s and men’s sides in action, as well as an array of additional entertainment. The club’s shirt sponsor, local brewing company Parallel 49, operated a beer tent, selling beer with TSS Rovers’ logo etched into the can. Next to this were two food trucks, and to the other side a club merchandise stand, all occupying space on the running track that surrounded the pitch. 

A local Surrey band called CJ & the Road Kills were invited in to add some atmosphere to the spectacle. They played classic rock hits both before and during the games, as well as subtly riffing along with the action.Their energy gave the building a good buzz, just in time for the first match-up of the night.

Women

After two defeats in their opening two games, TSS had to take advantage of home comforts if they were going to end the night with points. Altitude had tied their first three games, proving to be an attacking threat, but with a defence that could be tested. 

The first half hour was a cagey affair, with neither team dominating possession and without any real quality. TSS midfielder Sofia Faremo had the best chance of the first half when her curling effort forced Altitude keeper Ava Jones into a fine save. The half was over without talking points. A better start for TSS compared to previous weeks, though. 

Within three minutes of the restart, the red smoke was released from the Swanguardians as TSS opened the scoring. Megan Sun delivered a looping ball into the six-yard area; there waiting was Devon Kavanagh, who sent her header past Jones and into the far right side of the net. Kavanagh had had a bright start to the second half, clipping the outside of the post just a minute before scoring her first goal of the season. Five minutes later, Altitude were back in the game. Maya Smith made an excellent run on the right-hand side before delivering a dangerous ball into the box. The ball was not dealt with by Amanda Scott, whose attempted clearance instead ended up in the back of the TSS goal.

Another defensive mishap was to come, this time at the expense of Altitude. Ten minutes after equalising, a long ball over the top went under the attempted clearance of Altitude keeper Jones. With the recovering defender slipping, Megan Sun was allowed a free shot at goal, restoring the TSS lead with 25 minutes to play. The game petered out, and TSS were able to hang on for the win, keeping the ball well and not allowing Altitude any late chances. 

It was a deserved 2-1 win for TSS, who demonstrated a clear style of play: possession. While there were stray passes, there was a huge improvement on previous weeks, where possession was being lost too easily. Maddy Mah was much improved in the middle of the park, breaking up play and providing a focal point for defensive and attacking transitions. Megan Sun proved key, a goal, and an assist as the reward for a hard-working performance. 

Head coach Kevin Booker said his players had been “putting in the work” off the back of their opening defeats. “Obviously, playing the two teams we did [Whitecaps and Unity] in our first two matches was a challenge. There were some good things to come out of those games, though. I’m glad the players stuck with the style of play; today they were rewarded for doing that.”

Men

The men were coming off the back of two impressive wins as they stepped out for the second game of the night. Their opponents, Altitude, had endured a mixed start to their season, recording a win, a loss, and a draw in their opening three games.

Both teams began with defensive back three’s, which, on an expansive Swangard pitch, made space look abundant. It was an opening half hour that, like the women’s game, offered little in the way of match action. Altitude had an early handball appeal waved away; they also had a player go down with cramp within 25 minutes, but it was just after the half-hour mark that a more brutal blow was dealt. Kian Proctor’s delivery was converted by the in-form Devin O’Hea, who headed in a first for TSS. Eight minutes later, Gurman Sangha cut back a ball into the path of Matteo Polisi, whose first-time shot hit the crossbar, bounced off the back of Altitude keeper Luca Ortu, and fell to Connor MacMillan, who tapped in a second for TSS.

“TSS have shown their quality this season, not getting a ton of chances, but converting them when they do come.

The band had been providing entertainment throughout the night, including goal music every time TSS scored; 18 minutes into the second half, their guitars were back in action. Matteo Polisi’s free-kick was met by TSS captain Danylo Smychenko who headed the ball home for his first of the season. Four minutes later, Ambrose Tinmouth made it four when he sent the ball into his own net after Michael Hennessy’s shot deflected off the Altitude man. TSS had five when substitute Gabe Escobar, playing his first game of the season, beat his man and sent a powerful strike off the gloves of Ortu and into the path of O’Hea, who bagged his second of the night. The final attack of the game saw TSS get their sixth. Ivan Mejia pounced on a poor Altitude clearance and struck fiercely past Ortu. At full-time, TSS finished 6-0 winners.

TSS have shown their quality this season, not getting a ton of chances, but converting them when they do come. The aerial ability of O’Hea is a real threat, and the defensive strength of Smychenko and Nik White make TSS the team to beat in League1 this season.

Spirits high at Swangard

Big turn-out from both the TSS youth club and all the Rovers supporters

On a cold evening at Swangard, TSS showed their mettle on the pitch. The home fans went home happy as another new season at the Swangard started in the right way. Off the pitch, it was another impressive match day experience after Unity’s home opener last weekend. Happy faces were plentiful throughout the night, including a group of TSS youth players who swarmed women’s midfielder Maddy Mah for pictures and autographs. The clip demonstrates the importance of local football, the accessibility of these games for young children, and the opportunity for them to interact with their role models.