First Touch prepared for first-place showdown

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First Touch prepared for first-place showdown
Moncton tackles Premier Soccer League’s top team on Island
NEIL HODGE Times & TranscripT June 20 2014

   It’s a much-anticipated battle between two powers.

   Moncton Tom Cormier Co-Operators First Touch and Prince Edward Island FC will meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 2 p.m. in McCain New Brunswick Premier Soccer League action.

   Both games are at the University of Prince Edward Island field in Charlottetown.

   P.E.I. FC (9-1-0 for 27 points) sits atop the five-team league, and Moncton (5-0-1 for 16 points) is in second place. These clubs are in a class by themselves at this point in their 16-game regular season schedule, and tonight will be their first meeting.

   “We’re going right into the belly of the beast with these two games against P.E.I.”said Moncton head coach Patrick Gautreau.

   “I think it will be interesting to see their style of play. We have to battle in the first game (tonight) and then we’ll make adjustments for Saturday’s game.

   “They’re in first place, so we look at these two games as a measuring stick. It will show us where we are right now compared to them. We’re looking forward to the challenge.”

   Moncton, the league’s only undefeated club, is looking for its first championship in the league’s five-year history.

   “I’m very happy with our start to the season and not just because of our record,” said Gautreau. “The boys have a very positive attitude. Everybody is showing up for practices and games. Everybody is having fun.”

   Moncton has outscored opponents 18-9 in the opening six games. It’s now riding a four-game winning streak with the last three outings decided by a one-goal margin.

   “I think we’re pretty well balanced between offence and defence,” said Gautreau.“I don’t think we’re blowing anybody out of the water. I think offensively we’re generating what we need to do. I think we’ve improved on our finishing touch around the net with eight goals in the past two games.

   “I think we’re lacking a little bit defensively. We have to tighten up the screws a little in that part of the game.”