Their playoff hopes are still a long shot, but a late-season hot streak is at least allowing the Premier Development League men’s side from Magnuson Ford Mariners FC to dream of the post-season.
The Mariners went undefeated on a weekend road trip south of the border, knocking off the defending national champion Portland Timbers U23’s 2-1 on Friday and battling the Tacoma Tide to a 1-1 draw on Sunday.
Those results leave the Mariners at 5-6-3 on the season, tied for fourth in the PDL’s Northwest Division with Portland. Only the top two teams in the division make the playoffs, and with two games left in the regular season, the Abbotsford side is five points in arrears of the second-place Victoria Highlanders.
They’re mathematically alive, but require plenty of help, since Victoria has a game in hand.
Regardless of how their playoff fate plays out, Mariners head coach Ian Knight has been pleased with a late-season surge which has seen the Mariners go 4-2-1 over their past seven games.
“We’ve battled hard against some good teams,” Knight noted.
The Mariners upset the Timbers for the second time this season on the strength of a pair of highlight-reel goals in the first half from midfielder Juan Pablo Mora Perea and striker Danfi Parker. Perea struck a top-corner shot from 25 yards out to open the scoring, and after Portland equalized on a penalty kick, Parker scored on a spectacular volley to the far side of the goal to restore the Abby lead.
Mariners goalie Andrew Kowan stood tall in the second half, making seven of his nine saves after the break to preserve the victory.
On Sunday in Tacoma, the Mariners started slowly and surrendered an early goal. Adrian Kekec equalized in the 76th minute and Abby pressed forward for the go-ahead marker, but ultimately settled for the draw.
The Mariners wrap up the regular season with road games against the Washington Crossfire (July 15) and the Victoria Highlanders (July 24).