The Brandon Pizza Express Inspire’s soccer season came to a very disappointing end on Saturday at Optimist Park.
The Inspire were tied 2-2 with Lions FC and needed to hang on to avoid being relegated from the Manitoba Major Soccer League’s Premier Division 2, but a defensive breakdown allowed Lions FC (8-8-2) to score in the game’s final five minutes. That marker held up as the winner and knocked the Inspire (5-9-3) into the Senior Division 1 play for next season.
Norvin Campos scored both goals in the 3-2 loss for the Inspire, who finished in ninth place and one point back of Pescara and Dynamo Kyiv.
Although coach/player Taso Spiropoulos would have liked to stay in Premier Division 2, he thinks being relegated might be good for his team.
“It’s not great, but it’s not a horrible thing right now,” he said. “Earlier in the spring I mentioned our average age went from 26 to 21 this year. We dropped in age. We had a lot of young guys this year and it showed. They need a bit of time for maturity and it will be a lot easier (to develop) a division below than it would have been to try to hack it out here.”
It was a rough season for the Inspire as they lost three of their most experienced players — midfielders Carlos Ortiz and Jordan Hope as well as goalkeeper Eder Torres — for at least two months of the season. Spiropoulos also pointed to coaches lacking some experience, the players not being as dedicated as they should be, no team trainer and off-season training programs as weaknesses of the team, but he plans to change that next year.
“We’ll have our eyes open for players and additions to our coaching staff as well,” he said. “ ... We’ll be busy this winter.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 16, 2013