Looks can be deceiving. That’s what Richmond F.C. hope all will be saying come next spring.
The Metro Women’s Soccer League premier division juggernaut heads into a home-and-home encounter with two-time defending Provincial Cup champion Surrey United this weekend with a rather underwhelming 5-1-3 record by its high standard.
A year ago, Richmond did not lose during the regular season, only to fall to North Shore in the league cup final and in penalty kicks to Surrey in the provincial semis.
Hampering the team’s record thus far is leading scorer Caitlin Davie being sidelined since the pre-season with a broken foot. The standout striker is expected to start training again soon and should be available for cup play in the new year.
Another key missing ingredient to the attack is Jenna Richardson.
The former Oregon State University star has made her nursing career her number one priority and has yet to make her 2018-19 debut. However, the one-time national team player is signed and is expected to launch her season during the stretch run.
It’s these developments and others that has led to a patient approach from Richmond head coach Jim Caldwell and his staff.
They have been dealing with a limited roster all season and it goes with the territory of players being pulled in different directions at this stage of their lives yet still make an impact when they are on the pitch.
“For our game this weekend we only have 10 players available, noted Caldwell. “However, I can say on paper, this team is even more talented than last year and is at least on par with the (provincial cup champion) team of three years ago.”
That season saw Richmond FC finish second at the Canadian Championships — becoming the first city women’s team to reach the national stage in 30 years.
Now they are hoping to make another push at glory in the months ahead when everyone is accounted for.
Richmond travels to Cloverdale Athletic Park to face Surrey United this weekend and the teams are also at Minoru Oval next Saturday at 2 p.m. in the final game before the Christmas break.