Revenge must drive the Royals into sharpness
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
The beautiful and rather annoying thing about having a 12-game league with 5 different teams, is the fact that you get a chance to play each team 3 times before the playoffs. Think of it like a triple-round robin group stage of a tournament. While the statistics of this fact aren’t too obvious yet, the amount of story each game provides is only boosted.
Next week, the Royals will once again take a swing at the VIU Mariners and see if they can take a game off of them on their soil. The very next day, the team will travel out to the valley to take on the Quest Kermodes as well. Undoubtedly, out of the two, the most interesting game will be against the Mariners.
The last times these two met, the Mariners managed to hand the Royals their first regular season loss. To say the game was lopsided would be slightly further from the truth. The Mariners ran laps around the Royals. After they conceded the first goal, the Royals seemed to lose their momentum and never found a way to get it back. They’ll really need to fix that before they face the Mariners.
The key for the Royals also happens to be their weakest link. They need to step on the gas early and dump on the pressure. Statistically, the Royals always lose when they concede the first goal. Realistically, the only time they’ve conceded the first goal was against VIU the last time they played. While some may say that means nothing without more data, I think it means a whole lot.
The Royals team thrives off their control of the game. When they can control possession, the game isn’t even close. The team dictates tempo and wears defences thin with their constant and precise aggression. That’s the only kind of soccer the team knows how to play. It’s beautiful and powerful. However, when the team can’t do that, they kind of fall apart. That just makes the strong start even more important for the team.
However, they can come into the game with quite some confidence. The team is coming off a hard fought tie with the Capilano Blues, whom the Mariners lost to the week before. Although they managed to bounce back against the Kermodes the next day, the loss is likely still on the back of their mind. If the Royals managed to draw even with the team that beat the Mariners, it should mean that they are better than the Mariners, right?
Well, not necessarily so. As so often said, any team in the PACWEST can take a win on any given day. The Royals will need to show up for this game. And if the Mariners show up as well, it should be a really good game.
The Royals will also face off against the Quest Kermodes the very next day. With both games being away, travel fatigue will be a very real issue for the team. Coaches Paul and Robby will need to rotate their team well during the trip to avoid fielding players that are out of steam.
While the game against the Kermodes seems like an easier one, the Royals shouldn’t take their opponents lightly. Though their record speaks to the level the team is playing on, they still are dangerous. Just last week, the team crushed the Langara Falcons, dominating the game start to finish. Their four goals is the second highest amount of goals scored by one team in a game this season. The Royals will need to be on point, lest they fall victim to the same fate.
All in all, it should be a great weekend of soccer. I think the Royals pulling four points out of their matches will be reasonable, with a minimum of three. Getting all six would put the team in the top position in the standings.