SoccerStop P.E.I. F.C. will play its first game in nearly three weeks today with plenty on the line.
P.E.I. F.C. (11-1-0) hosts the Fredericton Reds (4-6-0) at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. in McCain New Brunswick Premier Soccer League action. Both games are at UPEI.
“I think we’re going to have to play . . . with our emotions in check,” said Matt Thomson.
While the Island squad comes into the contest after being idle for 20 days, the Reds are coming off shutout wins against the Fredericton Wanderers and Codiac First Touch.
“They are kind of turning their season around,” Thomson said. “We’re certainly not taking the weekend lightly.”
P.E.I. has a 14-point lead on second-place Codiac. P.E.I. has four games remaining (12 potential points) while Codiac has six games (18 potential points).
“We are very pleased with the way the season has gone so far, but there’s still a lot to play for,” Thomson said.
The Island team would clinch first place with two weekend wins, but that’s not their mindset heading into the weekend.
“When you step on the field you have to focus on what’s happening,” Thomson said. “You can’t be worried about how many wins and losses and points other teams in the league have.”
These two contests are P.E.I. F.C.’s final home games of the season. They conclude league play with road games at Codiac on July 18 and 26. The Island squad has not lost at home this year, with the only blemish being a 2-0 road loss to the Fredericton Wanderers on June 7.
“We certainly don’t want to lose points at home,” Thomson said. “It’s a matter of pride. When teams come to the Island they don’t like coming here because they know what kind of games they’re in for.”
Some of P.E.I.’s players are unable to play this weekend with prior commitments, but the team is expected to have 16 players in the lineup. P.E.I. F.C. is lining up a couple of exhibition games for August.