United win first game on new pitch

Nanaimo United midfielder Andrew Adams, middle, gets to the ball ahead of two Victoria West opponents Saturday night at Merle Logan Field. - GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin
Nanaimo United midfielder Andrew Adams, middle, gets to the ball ahead of two Victoria West opponents Saturday night at Merle Logan Field.
— image credit: GREG SAKAKI/The News Bulletin

Nanaimo United’s Div. 1 men’s soccer team hushed a cocky Victoria West squad on the weekend, walking off the sparkling new Merle Logan Field with a 2-0 win.

Prior to the match, some Vic West players were predicting a 6-0 blowout for the visitors, said United team manager Allan Jorgensen.

“We had a lot to prove,” said Jorgensen. “A lot of people were having doubts about what we could do this season. Victoria actually predicted we were going to lose 6-0 to them so it was a great weekend. A lot of people down there had a lot of questions after the game.”

After a nervous start to the season last week, when United lost 1-0 to Juan de Fuca on the road, Jorgensen said Nanaimo’s players stepped up their game considerably.

Keeper Mack Zirkl was a big part of that, turning away a consistent Vic West attack, including a penalty shot, to preserve the shutout. Nanaimo goals came from Jordan Reems and midfielder Tony Maestrello.

“Our guys pulled it together,” said Jorgensen. “It was one of the best games I’ve seen us play in a long time. Everybody played together, there was a lot of hustle out there, and there was some good passing. We stepped it way up from the first game of the season.”

Nanaimo United will have an opportunity to carry its positive momentum forward Friday night when it travels to take on Sooke, a team that Jorgensen said always charges hard right from the opening kickoff.

“They come at you really, really hard,” he said.

The win highlighted a solid weekend for Nanaimo soccer. The men’s Div 2 squad opened the weekend with a 0-0 draw against Salt Spring. United’s Div. 3 and U21 men’s teams and women’s premier and Div. 3 sides also won.

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