Imperial Cup 2020 Imperial Cup

Canucks4Ever

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Hmm...

Very interesting draw with some good Prelim round matches.

UBC vs. Inter is fantastically poised, so too Burnaby Metro vs. Columbus. Could some upsets be on the cards?

Holders West Van and Croatia with just Div. 1 teams and a lone bottom half Prem side in their quarter; would expect both in the semis.

Potential CCB vs. Rovers quarter final sets up as a cracker with this likely CCB's only path back to the Provincials; winner would presumably have to get through Croatia to reach the final and the Provincial Cup spot that accompanies being a finalist.

Absolute death march through Rino's Tigers quarter though. UBC/Inter winner gets Coquitlam Metro Ford Prem while Rino's play Peg. Winners of that play in the quarters with the winner likely getting West Van. Good luck predicting that one!
 

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The magic of the imperial cup, how I will miss it. Seems like just yesterday when we beat Croatia. I am going to go bold and say the Strikers upset Colombus if they get past Burnaby Metro.
 

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Absolute death march through Rino's Tigers quarter though. UBC/Inter winner gets Coquitlam Metro Ford Prem while Rino's play Peg. Winners of that play in the quarters with the winner likely getting West Van. Good luck predicting that one!
No kidding! That's the first thing that jumped out at me. If Rino's can get through to the final, they will definitely have earned it!
 
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As the Imperial Cup begins again, one cannot help but wonder if anyone from Thistle FC, who hoisted the trophy 100 years ago in 1920, could have foreseen the competition enduring for this long. Thistle were the first two winners of the trophy, bracketed around either side of World War I. Since then, the tournament has had a colourful history, with winners like Excelsior Lumber in 1938, South Hill FC and James Builders in 1950, back to back title for the Vancouver Pilsners in '53 and '54, followed by Dubbell Wear FC in 1955, Vancouver Friuli in 1965, co-winners Lobbans and Glenavon FC in 1969, North Shore Paul's (whoever Paul was...) in 1975, Discovery '84 who won the cup in 1984, Dartmen FC in 1988 and simply Indo-Canadians in 1999, to name a few. Also, along the way, somebody bent the trophy and it has been deformed ever since. Another chapter is to be written this year and it all starts this weekend.

Completely Baseless Predictions - Preliminary Round

Burnaby Metro Athletic (D1) v Columbus (Prem)
Nothing better than promotion contender against relegation candidate. Burnaby Metro are right in the thick of it for promotion in Div. 1 again this season and, after coming up short to this very Columbus side last season, look to have the inside track on going up at the moment. Columbus should act as a cautionary tale for Metro though, as Premier has been a struggle to put it mildly for the Italians. With just one win and seven points on the season an immediate relegation back to Div. 1 looks to be on the cards. Discipline problems have also mired Columbus and potentially cost them vital points that could have, if not saved them, at least put them closer to survival. A listless 0-0 with White Eagles all but sealed their fate and one has to wonder what sort of spirit is left in the Columbus camp. Burnaby is also coming off a draw that could prove costly to their hopes of going up after they conceded a last minute penalty to Rino's. Spirit should not be a problem for this group though as they still have plenty to play for, plus being a home draw they should have a full strength squad available. It might be a bit chilly or snowy even on Sunday night though, so it might come down to which of these teams has fewer "fair weather" players. The winner gets another favourable match against Striker, so plenty of motivation to get a result for both sides here as, should they make the quarterfinals, who know what might happen. I think that Burnaby will be more up for this one that Columbus and that an early goal against might just cause the Italians to more or less pack it in. Make this one my "Upset Special" for the round; Burnaby Metro to advance.

CCB LFC (Prem) v GN Sporting (D1)
The march to the Provincial Cup via the Imperial Cup starts here for CCB. While they could well still make the top six places and qualify for the post-season competition via their league standing, depending on the outcome of the Imperial Cup, CCB are a team built for knockout football and the draw has been as kind as it could be to them. They begin with Div. 1 GN who have seen their season lose steam since December and then Sierra who are trending upward but should still be a realatively straightforward task for CCB. After that it is the quarter finals and they are in Rovers' quarter who were the lowest of the seeded teams and look to be not quite clicking here in the New Year. CCB won that Surrey derby earlier in the season and it will go again next week as well. Assuming they can make it that far, the semi-final against likely Croatia would potentially be season deciding and defining for the Provincial and National champions. They have got to get over the first hurdle first though and that is GN at home where, despite GN being a decent Div. 1 side, CCB should be comfortable. For GN, at least it is a local game, so hopefully they can field a full strength side and give a good account of themselves.

Club Inter EDC Burnaby (Prem) v Richmond Hibernian (D1)
What an intruiging match up and facinating quarter in general this is! Definitely the MOTR here with Division 1 champions-in-waiting UBC playing Premier side Inter, who look likely to be missing Provincials once again this season. Their odds of cracking the top six look to be diminishing weekly with them sitting eighth, six point out with only four games left and two teams to climb over. Likely their only route back to the tournament they won three seasons ago is via the cup, but it sets up as tough slog. Winner of this match plays the red hot Coquitlam Metro Ford and the winner of that will have to contend with an away fixture at either Rino's or Peg. For "Richmond" they have taken on all comers this season and, outside of a few draws, have seen every one of their challengers off. This will be a step up in level though and UBC's draws have come against the top three sides in Division 1 and against Sierra before that match was wholly chalked off for the brawl at the end of the game. Chinter definitely will not want the embarrassment of stumbling at the first hurdle of the cup and being ousted by a lower division side. However, this one sets up as a proper contest. UBC pulling off the upset here is a very real possibility, but a slog to Burnaby Lake on a miserable Friday night might be a tough sell for the campus kids. I will say Inter should have enough to get this one over the line, but we will see.

Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi (D1) v Westside FC (D1)
This is definitely a quality cup match between two top Division 1 sides. Both teams would likely prefer this to be a league meeting where they could potentially bank some points in the hunt to finish second. Alas, they will simply have to settle for a bonus game and while neither can reasonably be expected to mount a serious Cinderella run, both likely fancy a home draw against lower mid-table Premier side NorVan in the next round. Westside took NorVan to extra time away last season while Lupi had a similar encounter with West Van, who would likely be waiting in the third round if they can get that far. So both these side have proven capable of hanging with the big boys, but will need to get past each other if they want to earn a shot at them. As mentioned, these teams are well matched, with Metro Ford four points up on Westside in the table, though Westside hold a game in hand. They split their two meetings with Westside winning 2-0 in Coquitlam early in the season and then Lupi hitting back with a 1-0 success in the reverse fixture. Expect a close one here again and possibly extra time or penalties. Complete coin toss here, but away teams are two for two between these teams this season so I will go with the visitors.
 

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Well, I was on the wrong side of the upset in the Preliminary Round. I knew there would be one and both went to penalties, but instead of a perfect four for four I start off at fifty percent. Sigh... Full eight game Round of 16 on tap this week with most results looking straightforward. That said, there are of couple of tasty looking draws and maybe an upset in it.

Preliminary Round: 2/4

Overall: 2/4

Completely Baseless Predictions - Round of 16

Croatia v Burnaby Selects White Eagles
Sadly this game looks to be a mere shell of the match that it could have been. With so much history and bad blood between these two franchises, a chance to meet for a third time this season, this time in cup competition, should be a marquee event. Unfortunately, after looking as though they would continue to take steps forward as White Eagles tried to firmly establish their rebuild, the former Serbians plummeted off a cliff. Their 2-2 draw at the weekend with Pegasus was pretty much the first sign of a pulse from their camp for close to three months, but they still have not won a game since the first days of November. That is a streak of ten games without a win for anyone keeping track at home. Croatia, meanwhile, were far from at the races in a 3-1 loss to West Van, but that was only their third loss of the season and they still hold their fate in their own hands when it comes to defending their VMSL title. The first meeting between these teams produce a rather anticlimactic 0-0 before Croatia coasted to a 5-2 win in the rematch. Hardly the vociferous battles of old. This one looks likely to follow a similar script, baring some sort of sudden inspiration, or maybe divine intervention, for White Eagles. Expect to see Croatia in the quarters as they hunt the elusive League and Cup double.

Columbus v Vancouver Strikers
Things are far from rose coloured in the world of Columbus at the minute. It appears as though, at this point, they are all but running out the clock before their immediate relegation back to Division 1 is confirmed. Assuming they return to the lower league, they will get two further games against Vancouver Strikers next season, a team they have never encountered before in the VMSL. Promotion hopefuls Burnaby Metro push Columbus literally all the way to the brink in the first round, but Strikers are not quite in that same echelon. The new boys have secured safety in their first season in Div. 1 and are basically playing bonus games at this point. Strikers have shown an ability to score goals, so Columbus would do well not to sleep on them, but the Vancouver boys have seen their production drop off sharply in the second half of the season. Additionally, rumours persist that Strikers may not be at full strength for this match, missing bodies due to the holiday weekend. If Columbus are destined to go down, one would think the Italians would want to lay a marker down in this match that their intention will be to be competing at the top of Div. 1 next season.

Rovers Hurricanes v Guildford FASA
In an fun twist, FASA have only two league games remaining and one of them is against Rovers. If they were two win one of the two encounters between these two sides, surely they would much prefer it to be the league match. If they could win, it would leave them the hail Mary chance to beat title challengers Croatia and escape relegation at the last time of asking. FASA cannot be considered contenders in this competition, so it is a case of when, not if, they will go out and resume their desperate struggle to stay up, now that they are down to their last life. FASA have pulled off a few shocks this season, the most recent of which was them beating West Van. They have played two matches since that win though and shipped 16 goals. Needless to say they did not get much out of those contests. Rovers do not exactly look infallible by any stretch of the imagination. They are without a win in 2020 through four matches and do not look like a side capable of winning a trophy at the minute. They were finalists in this competition last season a year after winning the VMSL, the Provincial Cup and a National title. Many of their big guns are still with the team, but perhaps age is finally catching up to a group of players that were the cream of the crop for a few seasons. FASA in with a chance, but Rovers clearly the favourites here.

CCB LFC v Westside Sierra
Climbing into the top half of the table is now within CCB's reach after recent results, however it means finishing the season on a perfect run. That is not much margin of error, but CCB certainly have the weapons to pull it off. They are also a team that might be perfectly built for the win or go home pressure of knockout football. There are times when you start to wonder if their "hired" guns simply lose interest in the marathon that is league competition. Regardless, after knocking off Division 1 side GN in the Prelim Round, they have another Div. 1 side on deck in Sierra. The former Burnaby leaguers will be taking their bow in the VMSL oldest competition this week after earning promotion from Division 2 at the first time of asking last season. This will give them a taste of the top tier in the league and given the way they have approached the VMSL, that will likely be appealing to them. That said, their suspension list is starting to become a real albatross and they appear to be without a goalkeeper for this one. Number one netminder Glyn Lewis was suspended after a brawl with UBC right before the Winter Break and Sierra look to have survived using a call up goalkeeper for league play. Obviously that will not be an option for this match and CCB are not exactly the type of offense you want to face with a shaky rearguard. Expect a decent effort from Sierra, but CCB are likely too much for them at this time. Plus, two more wins in this competition after this one will guarantee CCB a chance to try and defend their Provincial title, so they should be plenty motivated.

Rino's Tigers v SFC Pegasus
A tough draw for both these teams with on of them seeing their cup campaign end at the first hurdle. It is two top Premier sides and it is definitely the MOTR. It was looking like Peg might well be able to reel in neighbours Rovers for fourth place and a guaranteed spot back in the Provincial Cup after missing out last season. Instead there form has hit a bit of a speed wobble. They followed up a loss to title challengers Croatia with a somewhat surprising 2-2 draw against a woeful White Eagles team last time out. Suddenly, the Horsemen have dropped to sixth and CCB are bearing down on them with the chance to pass them should their win their games in hand. That would potentially leave Peg on the outside looking in again this season, barring a run to the Imperial Cup final. This adds more importance to this match for the Surrey side, given they could really use a Provincial Cup insurance policy. No such policy is required for Rino's as they have already officially confirmed a top four finish, meaning they will be in the post-season tournament regardless of any Imperial Cup factors. Rino's remain right in the title hunt as it looks to be down to them and Croatia for first place. They certainly would not turn down a chance at silverware though, and would surely jump at the chance to recapture the Imperial Cup after winning it just two seasons ago. There is more on the line for Pegasus in this one, so perhaps they bring some extra desperation into the battle. Based on the results of the two teams to this point of the season though, Rino's look the better side, if only just. Rino's were comfortable in the only other meeting between the two sides this year as well. It is a bit of coin toss in this one, but I will take the Vancouver boys.

Richmond Hibernian v Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves
In possibly the most intruiging match of the round, UBC host Coquitlam on campus. "Richmond" look set to come up to Premier for next fall and they have already claimed one Premier scalp already when they knocked on Inter on penalties in the Prelim Round. Clearly having some sense of occasion they have opted to move this match from the South Turf to Thunderbird Stadium. Regardless of which actual field this one gets played on, a trip to the endowment lands from the Coquitlam is a bit of a trek for the Tri-Cities boys on a Friday night. Presumably they will be at relatively full strength though and, if so, they present a step up in ability from Inter. It is 11 matches without a loss now for Metro Ford, although they did cut things a bit close against relegation candidates Columbus last time out. They trailed until a late goal tied things and then nabbed an even later winner after Columbus were down to ten men. Hardly their best performance of this purple patch, but just as effective in the end one supposes. The fact Columbus hung right in with Coquitlam will give UBC some hope and I have to think they will come out well organized with a plan for how to match up against Metro Ford. This should be a decent contest, but I have to think Coquitlam's pedigree will ultimately win the day.

West Van v Rino's Fury
Holders West Van get about as close to a free pass as possible to the quarterfinals. Their top for standing earned them a seeded position and a bye into the second round and now they have drawn a lower mid-table Division 1 side in their first match. Rino's do love a cup upset, and what a coup this one would be if they somehow pulled it off, a legend that would surely live for all-time in Rino's lore, but they have not exactly been delivering those types of results so far this season. In fact, their season could likely best be described as underwhelming, especially by their standards. They have only a lone win, over Sierra, against top half opposition in Division 1 this season, though they do have draws against Lupit and Metro plus chances still to play Westside and UBC once more. Overall though, Rino's are usually capable of delivering big results, even if they are not breathing the rarefied air at the top of the table. This one looks likely to be a bridge to far against the Amblesiders.

Westside FC A v NorVan
There are not a lot of looks at potential upsets this round, but if there is going to be one it might be here, so I'll make this my Upset Special. Westside are pushing for promotion from Division 1 and were given a huge boost this week when the league sanctioned their chief rival, Burnaby Metro, for an administrative error. They are in form at the minute and had a decent comeback win over another top Div. 1 side, Lupi, in the Preliminary Round. NorVan are in a vein of form at the minute, unbeaten in three and having won two on the spin by a combined 7-0 margin. They have struggled to find the net at times this season, though, and Westside will certainly be hoping that NorVan is the one who turns up at Point Grey for this match. With their tails up at the moment, the North Shore boys will be a tricky proposition and are, in all likelihood, probably favourites in this one. No one likes it when all the favourites just march on, however, so I'll stretch a bit to find a bracket-buster and say Westside take advantage of some home cooking at Point Grey to squeak into a quarterfinal.
 

Regs

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Friday Imperial Cup Results:

MetroFord 4-3 Richmond
Croats 1-0 Serbs
Sapperton 7-0 FASA
Columbus 3-1 Vancouver Strikers
CCB 4-2 Westside Sierra
 

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No love on my upset call, but, other than that, things went to plan in the last round. With due respect to the previously eliminated teams, the quarterfinals are where this competition really starts and there is plenty to play for with Provincial Cup qualification looming large. Both CCB and Coquitlam would love to reach the Imperial Cup finals and put all worry about qualification to rest. Meanwhile, NorVan all of a sudden look like they believe they might have potential as a Cinderella side, while Roves cannot afford to be cavalier, with their qualification still not assured. It should all hopefully make for some very entertaining fixtures!

Preliminary Round: 7/8

Overall: 9/12

Completely Baseless Predictions - Quarterfinals

Croatia v Columbus
Of the four quarterfinals this one is easily the least compelling. There is little history or animosity between these two sides and the match up itself looks to be fairly straightforward. Croatia are in pole position to defend their VMSL title while Columbus are all but certainly destined for an immediate return to Division 1. Columbus have had the chance to play a couple of Div. 1 sides to get to this point of the tournament, though they made hard work of Burnaby Metro in Round 1. Maybe the cup has provided a welcome distraction from their league woes and they will be able to keep that momentum going. Croatia also seem to be playing tight games regardless of their opposition recently, narrowly edging other bottom sides FASA and White Eagles in their last two outings. The key, though, being that they still did win those games. Perhaps if things stay close Columbus could spring a last minute shock. That said, it still seems fairly unlikely.

Rovers Hurricanes v CCB LFC
What an important fixture this is and it is a local rivalry. It might not necessarily be the "best" pound for pound game on the schedule, but it is the MOTR. After their slow start, despite improvement following their return to the VMSL as National Champions, CCB still face an uphill battle to qualify for a chance to defend their Provincial title. They are nine points out of sixth place, though they do have three games in hand. Still, they are looking at needing to likely win all five matches to have a realistic shot of making up the ground. Winning two Imperial Cup games seems the much more economical route to go. For Rovers, they have been in the top four for nearly the whole season but their dip in form in the New Year has allowed the likes of Metro Ford and Pegasus to close that gap. They now only have a three point cushion in fourth with the possibility the dropping into fifth might cost them a spot in the post season tournament, depending on who reached the Imperial Cup final. They cannot afford to simply shrug off the importance of reaching the cup final, considering that last season they found themselves in essentially the same position as CCB now find themselves. A year ago it was looking set to be a fight to the finish between National Champions Rovers and Inter to make the Provincials, but then Rovers reached the final of the Imperial Cup and the matter was resolved. CCB would be keen to follow a similar path and it will require a win over their local rivals. The match up seems to favour CCB as well, given they have won both meetings between the two sides by an aggregate score of 5-1. Still, they are well aware of the weapons their Newton neighbours possess. In fact, this match will be a decent showcase of top tier talent. Rovers boast former TFC man Nick Soolsma along with top amateur and semi-pro players in Pavi Dhillon, Ryan Dhillon and Cam Hundal. CCB are know for their ability to court former professionals and near professionals with former Whitecap Caleb Clarke, former Pacific FC players Ryan McCurdy and Issey Nakajima-Farran plus local SFU stars Matteo and Marcelo Polisi, among others. It should be a great cup tie and about as good a match as you could hope to see on a Friday night for free. As for a winner, Rovers have had a chance to try and kick their season back into gear with easy wins over FASA and White Eagles in their last two matches. Still, their overall form is less than inspiring. CCB, meanwhile, were pegged back by West Van in their last outing, losing 2-1, snapping a four game winning streak and making for their first loss since the beginning of December. It is likely to come down to which set of stars is firing on the night and CCB, it seems, have a deeper well to draw from. They should also be the more desperate team in terms of what this game means for Provincial Cup qualification, plus the head-to-head record favours them.

Rino's Tigers v Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves
From one top tilt to another, Rino's and Metro Ford lock horns for a rematch a week after battling to a 2-2 stalemate in Coquitlam. By all account it was a top level match with plenty of good football, which is a great omen ahead of this fixture. However, this time around there will have to be a winner. Rino's are already assured of a place in the Provincial Cup and will do everything they can to set the bar as high as possible for Croatia to win the VMSL title when their wrap up their league schedule next week. Metro Ford, on the other hand, still have a pair of league matches to come and are in a dog fight to qualify for BC Soccer's showpiece event. A appearance in the Imperial Cup final would allay any fears of missing out, but it is set to be a tough task. The Tri-Cities boys nearly did not make it to this stage when a plucky UBC Division 1 side pushed them all the way to penalty kicks in the last round. Having come through that unscathed though, Coquitlam will no doubt be confident that they have a team that can not only reach the final, but that can ultimately lift the over a century old trophy. Metro Ford last won the Imperial Cup in 2016 when they were arguably the best team in the league while Rino's won it just two seasons ago in 2018, claiming a first trophy of their new top flight era. Etching their names on the cup again would be a nice boost for the respective club and it also comes with the added bonus of being seeded in the Provincials. Much like their league encounter last weekend, this match it likely to come down to a battle between the divisions top two goal scorers. Carlo Basso has long been the talisman at Metro Ford and his goal haul of 23 would, in many seasons, be enough to claim the scoring title. However, this year Rino's Farivar Torabi has set the league ablaze, allegedly, setting a new single season Premier goal scoring record with 34 to his name so far this campaign. All signs point to another close encounter, though in the first meeting between the two teams, also in Vancouver, Coquitlam were able to shade it 2-1. It will likely be the finest margins that ends up separating these side and penalties are not at all beyond the imagination. Not much to base this one on, but I will say the Tri-Cities boys find a way to eek out another win.

West Van v NorVan
A North Shore cup derby rounds out the action in this round, with current holders West Van welcoming NorVan to Ambleside. West Van have now clinched a place in the Provincial Cup, but have been officially eliminated from title contention. That would make defending their Imperial Cup crown the only thing they have left to play for and, as a bonus, new signing and leading scorer Eoin Mccormick, who has taken to the VMSL like a duck to water, will no doubt be motivated to claim a piece of silverware in his inaugural season. NorVan are at the other end of the table, but they too have little else to play for but trying to make a Cinderella Imperial Cup run. They are now mathematically safe from relegation and are a single point away from being unable to finish inside the top six. So this is essentially it for NorVan, but you would not know that from the way they are playing. After a ho-hum season, the mountain men have rattled off a five match unbeaten run. Additionally, while they were thumped by their local rivals back in Week 2 when West Van flattened them 4-0, in the return match at Ambleside NorVan took a point away from a 2-2 draw. While they will be underdogs in this match again, NorVan will be buzzing for this one and their social media has already been trying to drum up local interest in the game. The chance to send their neighbours and the current champions crashing out of the competition is surely quite the carrot. Still, it is goal scoring that will be likely to undo NorVan as they are still averaging just 1.55 goals per game compared to West Van's 2.55. Even if you only consider NorVan's last five matches during this purple patch in form they are averaging an even 2 goals per game compared to 2.8 over the same stretch for West Van. That extra goal per game could well be the difference in determining which team progresses. Still, NorVan are gaining momentum and will sure be thinking that just one bounce or refereeing decision in their favour could be all the cup magic they need to pull off the shock. They are in good form and high on confidence, if there is going to be an "Upset Special" in this round it has to be here.
 
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The world of sport seems to be slowly grinding to a halt with the spread of Covid-19. Vancouver seems to be a low risk area at the minute, so hopefully all matches in this competition and the Provincial Cup end up going ahead. There has been quite some drama in the Imperial Cup this season and it would be a shame to see everything shelved. That decision is likely out of the hands of the VMSL and will come from the powers that be. In the meantime, let's keep calm and plan to (hopefully) play on.

Quarterfinals: 2/4

Overall: 11/16

Completely Baseless Predictions - Semifinals

Columbus v CCB LFC
It is unlikely that even Columbus had Columbus getting past Croatia in the quarters to reach this stage. Relegation seems all but inevitable for the Italians in their first season back in Premier, but they are one win away from the consolation prize of getting a crack at the Provincial Cup. However, if them beating VMSL title hopefuls Croatia, who seem to be in the midst of a self-induced level-7 meltdown, was unexpected, them beating CCB would be down right unimaginable. With so much ground to make up in the league table, this is the only viable path for CCB to seal a return to the Provincial Cup and stake a claim to defending the crown they won last season. If they lose this match then Columbus will get one of the six VMSL berths meaning that CCB would have to climb to fifth, catching Coquitlam Metro Ford, in order to qualify. Metro Ford have a league game left to play and a win in that match would leave CCB with no chance to catch them, never mind the fact that Coquitlam could well win their own Imperial Cup quarter final, thereby settling things this weekend. Yes, Columbus and CCB met for the first time this season last week and it finished 1-1. Not sure anyone can read too much into that result though. Surely CCB were keeping a few bullets in the chamber ahead of this weekend's clash and, given the talent the Surrey boys have the ability to call upon, those bullets are likely hollow points. One would have to expect the full force of CCB featuring former Whitecap Caleb Clarke, former Pacific FC man Issey Nakajima-Farran and SFU and TSS stalwarts Matteo and Marcelo Polisi. If Columbus find a way to get past this team, they will spend most of the summer scratching their heads wondering how on earth they finished on the bottom of the table.

Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves v West Van
It is a classic VMSL clash of the titans and it is clearly the MOTR. The weekly check in with Metro Ford seems them now unbeaten in 15 matches after a 1-1 with this same West Van side last time out. That match seems to have been something of a non-event as both teams likely had an eye on this match. Still, the point was valuable enough for the Tri-Cities boys who now need just one more win in either this match or their final league game next week to book the last VMSL spot at the Provincial Cup. Overall, after a middling start, this season appears to have represented a return to form of sorts for Coquitlam who spent the last few seasons playing well below the standard they had set by winning back to back league titles in the years preceding that. It is somewhat of the same path that West Van trod last season and they capped things off by lifting the Imperial Cup. These two sides have generally always mirrored each other in terms of their VMSL power and it is nice to see them return to playing again in marquee games with trophy implications. For West Van's part, they have long been the defensive yin to Metro Ford's attacking yang, but now the former Trollers seem to have found an offensive talisman to call their own in first year recruit Eoin Mccormack. His 21 goals in all competitions do not quite measure up to long time Metro Ford line-leader Carlo Basso and his 23, and only time will tell if Mccormack can go on to have as prolific and enduring a VMSL career as Basso, but, in the meantime, it does add an intriguing extra element to this rivalry. Besides their draw last week, West Van won 3-0 early in the season at Ambleside, however, it is safe to say this is a much improved Coquitlam side to that outfit. This one is definitely a toss up. It is tough to discount the incredible unbeaten streak that Metro Ford are currently on, plus, in the spirit of good cup competition that would make this an Upset Special, at least on paper. So I will take the Tri-Cities boys, but, overall, everyone just has to be hoping for a cracking cup tie overall!
 

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