Seeking first victory, new indoor soccer team's playing roster could see sweeping changes this weekend
The world of pro sports is cruel -- judged by wins and losses, not by moral victories.
That universal measuring stick means Prince George Fury coaches and players are not yet able to label the team a success. Not with four losses in as many games, translating to last place in the Canadian Major Indoor Soccer League standings.
The headline on the CMISL website said it all -- 'Close but no cigar for Prince George!'
"It's bugging me a lot, and I know it's bugging the players," said coach Sipho Sibiya, who also plays.
"Honestly, it's the manner of which we lost the four games. We should be .500 and I'd be somewhat happy with that, but losing that game to Wenatchee and not getting at least a split at home... we have to find a way to finish teams off and close the deal.
"I can't fault the effort, it's not that. I know we can play with the teams we've lost to, but it's a matter of minimizing mistakes, and I mean that literally. It's a lack of experience, and mistakes. I sat the guys down after that Wenatchee game and put a threat to them. We'll change the whole team if we don't get two wins."
The next chance is Saturday when the Wenatchee Fire show up at CN Centre for games at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Wenatchee defeated Prince George 11-10 in the Washington city last Sunday, a day after the Fury fell 10-8 in Tacoma. On the opening weekend, the Fury was on the wrong side of 9-8 (in overtime) and 6-2 results against the Tacoma Stars, games played at CN Centre.
Sibiya plans to use more of his 24-man roster to keep legs fresh on Saturday. The coach can put 13 players on active duty and said he is evaluating all positions, from the goalkeeper out. Kyle Flannagan has played all four games in goal.
"There will be a couple changes, for sure," said Sibiya, adding that the team is injury-free.
"After (opening weekend), we figured out not everyone can play back-to-back games like that so it gives us more to work with."
There are individual beacons of optimism. Matt Mehrassa is currently leading the CMISL in scoring with eight goals and 14 points, one point ahead of Jay Tomchuck of the Saskatoon Accelerators. Tomchuck is tops in goals with 10, followed by Kyle Yamada of Calgary United and Mehrassa.
"Matt's been one of our best players, and is doing what we've asked him to do," said Sibiya.
"He's scoring and he's been a bright light. He can play different positions and allow us to give different looks, so that can change the matchups and confuse the other team a bit."
After this weekend's games, the Fury heads to Edmonton and Calgary for games Saturday and Sunday, respectively, then return home for a Valentine's Day doubleheader against the Edmonton Drillers. The regular season ends with two games against the Alliance in Winnipeg, played Feb. 20-21.