Andrew Stevenson’s side translated a 600-strong crowd into a 2-1 victory last weekend in Pacific Coast Soccer League play against the Penticton Pinnacles.
They’re hoping you have another one in you.
OFC is back in action this afternoon against Nanaimo’s Mid Isle Mariners, 4 p.m. at the Apple Bowl.
Another crowd like the one that turned up last weekend would put OFC on the front foot immediately, Stevenson said.
“It was an amazing feeling to have that show of support from the community and that passion for soccer and our club,” the manager said. “We hope we can build on that atmosphere.”
Stevenson said he’s confident Sunday’s attendance was the largest in the PCSL this season. Players on their Vancouver Island road trip two weeks ago said they played in front of a smattering of friends and family.
What OFC has going in its favour is the Socca Skool and youth teams.
Stevenson and his dad started Okanagan FC a couple of years ago. It includes a roster of youth teams, a Kelowna Men’s Soccer League team and the Socca Skool junior academy.
Many of the fans were players from the youth club there to see for themselves if their coaches really knew what they’re talking about. Turns out, they do.
Stevenson said OFC sent 23 shots toward the Penticton goal, with 17 of those from inside the 18-yard box.
They led 1-0 early thanks to a rocket from Braden Peters. Playing on the left side of midfeld, Peters one-timed a deflection from the edge of the box, across goal and into the Penticton net.
It brought the fans to their feet at the 20-minute mark, only to have the goal called back due to an offside ruling.
OFC didn’t let the call get them down, however, and broke through 10 minutes later—for good this time.
Randy Hubber scored his team leading third goal of the season, slamming home a shot of his own from the edge of Penticton’s penalty area.
Yet, the Pinns didn’t fold and equalized on the hour mark from in close.
It wasn’t until the dying moments that the game was decided.
Hubber scored again, converting a Spencer Young shot that clanged off the crossbar.
Stevenson also gave credit to centre-midfielder Kirby Carter. The KMSL veteran had played whatever role the squad needed earlier in the season, and was rewarded with time in the centre of the park.
“He brought a lot to our midfield,” Stevenson said. “He was crucial for us.”
That’s two straight wins for OFC (2-0-3) and another winnable game today against the same Mariners team they beat June 2.
Stevenson said he’s not worried about his club suddenly feeling overconfident.
“We’ve got a great group, to be honest,” he said. “The guys are really disciplined and motivated … I’m certain that every game we’re going to get maximum effort from them.”
The Mariners (0-2-5) are still looking for their first win and head into Kelowna having lost twice last weekend (Penticton, 3-0 and Surrey United, 3-1).
Yet, they held OFC in check much of their last meeting, a 2-1 OFC win in Nanaimo.
Stevenson said he’s not overly concerned of a letdown today.
“It’s the easiest job in the world for me, at the moment,” Stevenson said. “The guys are just so determined to keep that streak alive. I have no worries that they’re going to come out guns blazing on Saturday.”
Tickets are $10 for adults, and free for children 16 and younger. Stevenson promises a family-friendly, fan-friendly environment with mascot, beverage garden and DJ.
Or, in his words, “a real genuine, local soccer experience.”