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2022 BC Mens Provincial A Cup - Draw, Predictions, Results & Banter

Canucks4Ever

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Tigers 2-0 Abby FT

Was a really competitive game until Tigers banged in a pair ten minutes before half time. That just seemed to kill Abby. Pretty straightforward after that for Tigers.

Sets up a pseudo rematch of the 2019 Final next weekend at Swanguard.
 

Canucks4Ever

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The semi-finals ended up seeming like formalities as, in the end, we have the Final we were probably all expecting, if not the Final that everyone wanted. First place in the FVSL will play first place in the VMSL and, even though both of the team names have changed, this is essentially a rematch of the last Final in 2019, blissfully pre-pandemic. That time things were on the Island up in Nanaimo. This time around there will be the full pomp and circumstance of beautiful Swanguard Stadium with kickoff at 3pm on a, hopefully (though I would not count on it given the May weather so far...) sunny afternoon.

SF - 2/2; Overall 10/14

Completely Baseless Predictions - Men's A Cup Semi Finals

FC Tigers Vancouver (FVSL) v BB5 United CCB (VMSL)
The path to the BC Soccer Men's A Provincial Cup runs, as ever, through the VMSL. To say that the Metro League has dominated this tournament would be a vast understatement. It has been the exclusive property of the Vancouver society over the past decade. Indeed, only wins by Victoria Gorge in 2010, 2008, 2002 and 2001 serve to besmirch the VMSL's record of wins since the mid-80s. Of late, the Metro League has been able to stave off any challenges from the VISL, and that is to say nothing of FVSL, who have never won the trophy.

This fact, that surfaces annually alongside the Province's showpiece footballing event, has come to rather rankle the top Fraser Valley brass and they have been charging hard over recent seasons, yet the ultimate prize has remained elusive. First it was Aldergrove United in 2017 breaking through and storming onto the stage, catapulting the FVSL back into the collective conscious of the local footballing hierarchy. After being the first name out of the hat that season, they faced a pair of Island teams at home, seeing both of them off they were able to down a seventh place VMSL side before falling at the final hurdle in a loss to Club Inter. The next season, though, the Valley was at the main event again as Langley United was handed a favourable draw against a rebuilding Surrey United who had returned to the Valley the year prior. Langley emerged as winner, but this is where the story, and it ties to this season's final, get quite interesting.

The seeded team in Langley's quarter in 2018 was one Rino's Tigers. Tigers were seeded on the strength of the Imperial Cup win and were in the nascent stages of building there team into a powerhouse. Their chief weapon that season was one Declan Rodriguez and he, alongside his Tigers teammates, had just finished a complete dismantling of Aldergrove in their first round match, coasting to a 6-0 win. Aldergrove had failed to comeback as strong a season after winning the FVSL title and reaching the Provincial Cup final. They only qualified for the tournament at the last minute when they won the Pakenham Cup and, sadly, the side would fold at the end of the season.

The thing was, however, that Tigers were irking many in the local soccer community. Rumours abounded that they were paying players. Links to Saudi Arabian "oil money" were bandied about, stemming from the teams connection to Dr. Muhammed Abu Aish. Long have rumors bubbled about teams with such practices, seldom, though, is there ever tangible, actionable proof. There was nothing solid this time either that could be placed in front of BC Soccer. There was, however, a bit of administrative paperwork that had been overlooked. Tigers star man Rodriguez had been playing in the USA and never filed an International Transfer Certificate ("ITC") to make him eligible to play in BC.
For a number of years the local leagues appeared to opperate on the basis of an unspoken, but understood, "don't ask don't tell" policy regarding ITCs. BC and the CSA charged, at that time, a $100 fee to process these transfers and, given the flighty nature of amateur players, it was generally considered not to be an expense that was necessary to occur. Aldergrove, allegedly, expressly declined to report Tigers for their infringement, after they had been well beaten by a superior side. Despite this, the FVSL's top brass wanted Tigers' head. If they could not get them on paying players they would get them on this. So a protest was filed with BC Soccer.

The response to the FVSL's protest from Rino's management was, predictably, unwelcoming. Some quick detective work found a player among the Aldergrove ranks who had played in Germany and his ITC had not been filed either. So a counter protest was filed. The end result was that both teams were deemed to have played ineligible players in the match and both were expelled from the competition leaving Langley with a bye to the semi-finals. As an aside, these actions by the FVSL perhaps go some way to explaining the motivation Rino's had this past season to aide Coastal in leaving the FVSL for the VMSL's top division.

To Langley's credit, they made the most of their free pass and were deserved winners in the semi against Inter. The final was at Swanguard, as it is again this season, and opposite Langley were VMSL Champions Rovers Tigers, featuring former TFC man Nick Soolsma as their star striker. Langley had a star up front themselves this day as the towering Elie Gindo led the line for the FVSLers. Gindo was an absolute handful on the day and the Rovers defenders struggled to deal with him all afternoon. He bagged a brace and Langley led 2-1 into stoppage time with the FVSL seemingly poised to lift the trophy. Until it all unraveled. In stoppage time, with Rovers throwing everything forward, a Langley defender clearly tripped a Rovers attacker in the area and a penalty was awarded. Soolsma showed his worth, burying from twelve yards clinically. Then, in extra time, Pavi Dhillon was streaking in on goal for Rovers when Langley keeper Andrew Hicks, who had been sensational throughout the tournament that season, brought him down. It was a clear red card and Rovers ended up cruising to a 5-2 win.

So the FVSL was denied once more. In 2019 there was no FVSL representative in the final, but Rino's Tigers had ensured they got their paperwork done correctly for the season and guided their way to the final where they faced off against a CCB side that now boasted Langley's former star striker, Gindo, as a centreback. CCB would win the match comfortably and then go on to win Nationals as well in November. Rino's Tigers continued to strengthen and were leading the VMSL's top flight in 2020, keen for another shot at the Provincial Cup, but then came Covid-19. During the extended offseason there was some sort of falling out between Dr. Mohammed and Rino's management.

By the time footy returned as we all know it for this past 2021/22 season, the Good Doctor had no place for his side to play. The VMSL had determined their former Premier spot belonged to Rino's and a shortlived merger with Metro Athletic had not borne fruit. Naturally, they turned to the FVSL, the league that had once found them contemptible and illicit. Now though, with Tigers a clear powerhouse side, the FVSL was, apparently, willing to forgive and forget. Tigers stepped into the Fraser Valley's Premier Division and delivered as advertised, winning everything on offer and only losing a single game all season. Now, they are the FVSL hopes for finally, after all these many years, reaching the summit.

In getting to this final Tigers have yet to face a team from the VMSL. They were handed an opening match against a woeful Surrey United side and, as expected, coasted to victory, winning 7-1. Next up was a stingy Nanaimo side, over from the Island, and they did make Tigers work for it but, ultimately, did not have the offense to match their defense and wrestle the match away from the FVSL champs. Tigers could have faced VMSL opposition in their semi, but, instead, they were treated to more home cooking, with another favourite foe in Abbotsford United. Abby put up some resistance, but Tigers had already defeated them four times this season and it was clear they were confident of a fifth win.
So confident, in fact, were Tigers that captain, talisman and FVSL Golden Boot winner, Farivar Torabi was kept in reserve. Presumably Torabi had some sort of knock and would have been available had the situation become dire. It never did, though, so he was given a week of rest. Tigers still have plenty of other weapons to call upon, particularly wingers Ivan Mejia and Erik Edwardson, both of whom have been key cogs in this run to the final. Edwardson set up both goals in the quarter final against Nanaimo, one of which was scored by Mejia, while Mejia himself was the provider for the opener against Abbotsford in the semi with just a sublime bit of skill to work himself space for a cross. Tigers are deep as well with the hero of the semi final being Gabe Escobar, who picked a wonderful time to score his first two goal of the season.

Tigers' opponent in this final, BB5, have undergone many changes themselves since 2019. Possibly the most significant, and certainly the most poignant, is their name change from CCB to BB5 to honour their late centreback Brandon Bassi following the former SFU standout's tragic passing in a car accident just weeks after they lifted the Provincial title in 2019. On that day three years ago it was all BB5, as they ran rampant over Tigers, charging out to a 3-0 lead before ultimately winning 4-1. Of the front three that began that match, only former Whitecaps academy product Caleb Clarke remains. Clarke had a brace in that final while his attack partners Milad Mehrabi and Mamadi Camara figured in the other two goals.

This season alongside Clarke scoring for BB5 is Nic Morello. Both men clattered in 17 league goals apiece this season, with Clarke adding a further cup tally for good measure. BB5's run to the final been, perhaps, a tad more difficult than what lay in front of Tigers. An intense opener against Rovers Hurricanes saw them overcome a Nic Soolsma brace with Morello scoring two of his own in that match. He would score again the next week, netting the winner in extra time in a tense showdown against FVSL side FC Faly. In the semi-final it was Clarke who finally broke his duck in the tournament, scoring the opener after he was quickest to his own rebound after he saw his penalty saved on route to a 3-0 win.

The biggest asset for BB5, though, may well be the return of stalwart goalkeeper and captain Luke O'Shea. O'Shea missed the majority of the season but was back between the sticks late in the year and took up the mantle for the Rovers match, making some crucial saves to preserve the win. The man who had deputized for O'Shea all season, and who earned the VMSL's Golden Glove award with 11 clean sheets on the season, Andrew Metcalfe, was back in net against Faly, but seemed, maybe, a bit off the pace. O'Shea returned against Coastal for the semi and was in top form once more, so one would expect to see him leading the Surrey boys out at Swanguard on Sunday.

Former Langley man Elie Gindo remains with BB5 and anchors a back line featuring Erik de Graaf and, BB5's marquee offseason pick up, former Canadian international Marcel de Jong. De Jong, though, could not go the distance against Faly in the quarter final and did not play in the semi against Coastal. BB5 will certainly be hoping he is available for the final this week.

So that is how we have arrived here. It has been three long years in the making and, perhaps even more for the FVSL. Will this finally be the year their get their name on the trophy? Tigers seem to have been brought into the fold with this singular purpose in mind. Or will the VMSL maintain their stranglehold on this competition with BB5 defending their title after nearly 1000 days? This game feels like a pick 'em. It also appears to be basically a semi-pro match, so expect top quality. If you are picking a winner, one probably has to opt for the VMSL, solely based on history. In the immortal words of Rick Flair, though, if you wanna be the man, you've gotta beat the man. Sunday at Swanguard at 3pm we will find out if Tigers can do just that!
 

YoAdrian

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That was an awesome write up!

I’m with @Regs on this one tho, after a year of total BS and complete fcukery within the league, fcuk the valley.

Come on BB5 save football, just like @Dude saved langley once upon a time. Hoping for an entertaining final!
 

bulljive

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BB5 the favourite but their middle of the park looked like the parting of the seas the entire first half. Talisuna out there covering for two people as his partner drank dirty pond water.

Tigers are a more structured, properly run team. They haven’t had the competition and that’s what’s against them here. BB5 has higher end talent but they have serious holes.

I’m calling upset
 

LHE

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BB5 the favourite but their middle of the park looked like the parting of the seas the entire first half. Talisuna out there covering for two people as his partner drank dirty pond water.

Tigers are a more structured, properly run team. They haven’t had the competition and that’s what’s against them here. BB5 has higher end talent but they have serious holes.

I’m calling upset
You sound like a coastal fan Better luck next year
 

Regs

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30 minutes in and Tiger player gets second yellow and sent off. Moronic really as was warned 1 minute earlier on a committed foul.

Shortly after BB5 slots one.

1-0 as of now.
 

Soccer 98

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BB5 the favourite but their middle of the park looked like the parting of the seas the entire first half. Talisuna out there covering for two people as his partner drank dirty pond water.

Tigers are a more structured, properly run team. They haven’t had the competition and that’s what’s against them here. BB5 has higher end talent but they have serious holes.

I’m calling upset
Call whatever u want 3-1 game. I said 3-0. They took it easy at the end come on winning a provincials final by 5 doesn’t feel right. Bb5 has holes bb5 has this bb5 has that waaa waaaa waaa bb5 is going to loose. Haters will keep hating while they keep winning.
 

star #1

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3-1 final.

Congrats to all of BB5 including @star #1 !

Back to back National Champions has a nice ring to it... I think Norvan was the last to do it early 90s?

Do it.
Thanks Regs! The boys played some really good footy this year and really wanted to cement Brandons legacy by having his name etched on the trophy. Hoping to have a good showing at Nationals.
 

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