For a new franchise, the TSS Rovers have already experienced more than their share of growing pains in just a handful of weeks.
And with four games under their belt, the Rovers look to have absorbed some of those lessons and turned them into something positive.
The club picked up its first point of the USL-Premier Development League season last week, when they treated their home-opening crowd at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium to a 2-2 draw with Eugene, Ore.-based Lane United.
They followed that with a 2-0 road loss to the Portland Timbers u23 in Salem, Ore., on Tuesday.
In that game, the Timbers set the tone early, and took the lead when Francesco Amorosino counted his first of two, burying his shot from 10-yards out, 20 minutes into the first half. He counted the game’s only other goal just before halftime.
Last week in their home opener, TSS looked sharp when they erased a 1-0 deficit on Kristian Yli-Hietanen’s second goal of the season, thanks to a brilliant set-up from defender Zach Verhoven.
In the second half, Mamadi Camara counted his second goal of the year off a penalty kick.
“We were in the lead with 12 minutes to go but we gave up the equalizer,” remarked assistant coach Will Cormack. “From that point we held on.”
The team’s record is now 0-3-1, with the club slapped with a three-point penalty in the standings due to using an ineligible player in the opening loss to Calgary.
The roster is composed of mostly Lower Mainland university players, including SFU products Ryan Dhillon and Michael North and UBC’s Chad Bush and Karn Phagura. A handful spent time in the Whitecaps Residency program.
“We’re a very young squad, but we are sticking to the idea that this is a under-23 development league… Our first and foremost goal is to develop Canadian soccer players,” said Cormack.
The PDL is three levels below MLS soccer, and has been operating since 1995.
The Rovers play host to Calgary Foothills FC on Friday, 7 p.m. at Swangard Stadium.