Div 1 [VMSL Div 1] Predictions, Results & Banter 2019/2020

Canucks4Ever

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While the VMSL's top flight is stealing most of the headlines, as it well should, Division 1 is about to serve up some top of the table tilts as well. The teams are all jockeying for position as we barrel towards the halfway point of the season. Who will be in the promotion places come the schedule turning over? We are starting to get an idea...

Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 9

GN Sporting v Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi
It is second hosting third in what is most definitely the MOTW. After a hot start that saw them win five of their first six matches with just a lone loss to blemish their record, Lupi have recently slumped to two less than impressive draws against mid-table sides Rino's and Sierra. This is somewhat reminiscent of their form last season when, after a fantastic start that saw them lead the league into November, they had a dreadful second half of the season and finished mid-table themselves when all was said and done. Perhaps their form has something to do with their inability to get promoted so long as Wolves remain in Premier, though this season that team has not started well and might end up in a relegation battle. If that were the case suddenly Lupi might be in a position to go up, though sources report that is not a focus for this group, who are much more content with a somewhat more recreational pace. GN, on the other hand, know they can go up if they earn that right and with a few players who have top level experience in the FVSL or on the fringes of teams in the VMSL's top division, that is surely a step they would be keen to take. Unfortunately, consistency has long been the issue for the Surrey/Delta boys and that seems to be the case once again this season. They too only had one loss through the opening six weeks of the season and it came against leaders UBC. That being said, GN had been riding their luck somewhat, scoring late goals to win matches and getting the rub of one or two refereeing decisions. All that luck ran out when they inexplicably drew against last place Santos who were without a point to their name when the sides kicked off. The got back on track against the other bottom team, Greencaps, last week but it was a narrow 1-0 win and they left it pretty late once more. On the one hand you could day that GN must have the belief that they can always find a winner; on the other hand you might say that it hardly inspires confidence when your result is always on a knife edge. This should be a top contest and one that probably means just a little bit more to GN than Lupi given the potential promotion ramifications. That being said, it just feels like Lupi are the more consistent team and if GN are expecting to pull one out of the fire late, Metro Ford might not be the kind of team to give them that chance.

Richmond Hibernian v Vancouver Greencaps
Things have been improving of late for Greencaps after just a woeful start. They have picked up a couple of points but they are still mired in the relegation places. They play NorVan next week in what looks to be a must win match, even this early in the season, especiall if NorVan get the job done against Santos this week. Despite their disheartening record, the Irish lads have not exactly been played off the park in their matches, they just cannot seem to find the crucial goal at the crucial time. They put in another good performance against second place GN last week, but were once more on the wrong side of the odd goal, losing 1-0. It will not get any easier against free scoring league leaders UBC this week. "Richmond" were rather inexplicably held to just a 1-0 win themselves against last place Santos, but that was likely an anomaly. One would have to assume that they will be at full strength at home on campus on a Friday night. This one should be fairly straightforward.

NorVan Storm v VAFC Santos
All of a sudden this is a very intriguing match up. After being the punch line of the division through the first four games of the year, in the last four Santos seem to have finally found a formula that works. It might not be a formula for success just yet, but it least it is a formula for respectability and competitiveness. They have allowed only one goal against in each of their last four matches, were apparently unlucky not to earn a point against Sierra when they had a late penalty saved, did earn a point in a draw with second place GN the next and then held league leaders and rampant attackers "Richmond" to just a 1-0 last week. This progress would seem to have them well poised to face a NorVan side who are just barely teetering above the drop zone. Of course, the Storm know the position that they are in and will be well aware that this is a full on relegation six-pointer. The problem for NorVan is they are bleeding goals at the minute. They have conceded 18 in their past five games which makes it 22 total for the season, the second most in the league ahead of only Santos who have given up 28. However, as mentioned, 24 of those were in the first four weeks and of late they have been much tidier. The big issue for Santos is they still are not scoring goals. So it is a team that cannot score against one that cannot defend, making it very tough to pick a favourite. If I had any confidence in them being able to score a goal I might well make Santos the favourites here as I think they can genuinely win this game. If I believed they were capable of scoring two goals, they would be a slam dunk. NorVan, on the other hand, knowing that a win in this game is likely to result in a five point cushion on relegation with a chance to grow that even bigger next week against Greencaps, might well be able to will this one over the line especially at home. No idea here. Call it a draw.

Club Inter EDC Burnaby B v Westside FC A
Having already played the top sides, Westside are now traipsing through the bottom half of the table. So far so good as well as they come into this match on the back of a pair of wins over lower half teams and are unbeaten in their last four matches. With the teams above them playing each other over the next few weeks, Westside has a chance to make a move up the table if they can hold their nerve against the sides below them. Inter may have struggled to begin the season, but they seem to have steadied the ship of late. They have picked up seven points over their last five matches while only conceding seven goals in that stretch. These points have allowed them to climb to safety and the relegation battle is not a major concern just at the moment. It also appears that they have found a goal scorer with Andres Mauricio Rojas Rodriguez now up to six goals on the season, including one in their 2-2 draw last time out against Strikers. That Strikers result was likely Inter's best performance of the year as their two wins have come against the bottom two sides. That being said, they did throw away a two goal lead in that match, so it is not all good news stories for Chinter. Westside will counter with a six goal man of their own as Justin Lee scored again in their 3-1 win over NorVan last time. Westside will need another similarly solid performance if they are to take home the points this week as they are the favourites, but this is by no means a free hit.

Westside FC Sierra v Burnaby Metro Athletic
A quick glance at the schedule might lead you to believe that Burnaby Metro are in a similar position to Westside A in terms of having the chance to make up some ground on the table over then next few weeks. However, a closer look at their schedule reveals that they are yet to play the top teams in the division at that GN and UBC are on deck for the next two weeks. So, yes, Burnaby have a chance to move well up in the table, but it will not come from beating the teams at the bottom of the league, to do it they will need to beat their other sides in the top half of the table. This starts with Westside Sierra who sit sixth, two points behind Metro. Newly promoted Sierra have got their feet well under them at this level and while they are not likely to climb seriously into the promotion race, they are certainly solid opponents for every side they come up against. Case in point, last week they held title challenging Coquitlam to a draw on Lupi's home turf. Burnaby really need these points if they are to position themselves to stay in the promotion fight with big tests coming down the pipe. Tipo Conteh looks to be the man who has stepped into coach Farivar Torabi's shoes and will carry the offensive load for Metro as he is up to six goals on the season. Sierra, meanwhile, hold the dubious distinction of being the only team in the division with anyone suspended this week as they are missing both Pablo Clinaz, their second top scorer, and Armin Khadem Fini. Certainly they will put up a good resistance and they are capable of a result, but I think Metro are slight favourites in what is almost a must win game for them given the table and their upcoming schedule.

Rino's Fury v Vancouver Strikers
We are beginning to reach the stage of the season in Division 1 where we know some teams are pretty much locks to finish mid-table and that looks to be the case for these two teams. Could they go ice cold and drop into the relegation battle? Possibly, but that would also mean the teams below them have to get hot. Could they go on a tear and get into the promotion places? Technically, but already nine points behind and with several teams in their way it is highly unlikely. No it is all but certain that Rino's and Strikers will be back again in Division 1 next season and with the two sides sitting seventh and eighth respectively, this one is a fairly "meh" affair. Rino's are always capable of a result, but they have been stuck in first gear so far this year. Strikers are not a juggernaut but they are useful in front of goal, particularly Gavin Lytton who is their six goal man. Look for them to bang in a couple in this one and that should probably be enough to get them all the points this week.
 
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Canucks4Ever

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With the exception of first place Richmond, all of the sides in the top half dropped points last week meaning that while UBC might be running away with the title at the top, the race for the second promotion spot has gotten even tighter. There was a first win of the season for Santos as well at the bottom of the table which means that we also have a relegation battle going. The halfway point of the season is on the horizon so things are beginning to get serious and with the division looking very evenly matched it seems likely that it is going to be a battle all the way to the end this year.

Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 10

Vancouver Strikers v Westside FC Sierra
Three straight 1-1 draws, including their most recent match against Burnaby Metro, have made Sierra the joint league leaders in that department. It certainly points to the tenacity of the newly promoted side to make games difficult for their opponents, but they are likely noticing that while not losing is great for morale, draws are not wins. A win and two losses would have netted them the same number of points as their three draws which would explain why they are losing ground on the top of the table. This week they face the other newly promoted side, Vancouver Strikers, who sit just two points behind them in the standings. While both these teams look like they have already shown enough to be confident of have another season at this level, both would obviously like to continue to pick up points though and will be happy to do it at the expense of their promotion cousins. The differences between these two sides are stark. Sierra, as discussed, are a cagey tough out, where as Strikers prefer to try and score their way out of trouble. The Vancouver boys have scored almost twice as many goals as Sierra, with leading scorers Gavin Lytton and Bryan Da Cruz having as many together as Sierra has a team, but they have conceded seven more times. So it would appear to come down to which side will be able to impose their will on the match. If it opens up into an offensive slug-fest, look for Strikers to take the points, if it is a close run, nip-tuck affair then Sierra would seem the more likely to find the crucial goal. Tough to say which way it will go so I will simply turtle and call it a draw.

Club Inter EDC Burnaby B v Rino's Fury
A solid performance for Chinter last week saw them take the points off promotion hopefuls Westside. The win move EDC six points clear of the relegation fight and all signs point to them staying well away from that dog fight. Chinter definitely needed a few weeks to get their feet under them this season, but since their first three games, all losses, the Burnaby boys have been highly competitive, though they have not always had anything to show for their efforts. All signs point to that pattern continuing the rest of the campaign. Rino's are level with Inter in the table and their form this season could best be described as ambivalent. With only two wins on the year, both against relegation candidates, Rino's seem far from a powerhouse. However, they are more than capable of producing results as evidenced by them holding Coquitlam to a 2-2 draw. They also drew by that same scoreline with relegation threatened Greencaps though and then again in their last match against Strikers. This makes Rino's a team that is tough to get a read on and one that you definitely will not want to take lightly. They are at once both dangerous, while at the same time, eminently beatable. Inter should be feeling good after their win over Westside and at home on a long weekend when Rino's may not field their best team I will make them slight favourites.

Westside FC A v VAFC Santos
Certainly a loss to lower mid-table Inter was not what Westside had in mind when all the teams around them dropped points ahead of their match last week. It was a golden opportunity scorned that would have moved the Westsiders into third place with the chance to climb further given the other top teams continue to clash this weekend. Should they fail to earn promotion, they will not need to look much farther than that defeat for reasons why during their postmortem. There is no time to sulk though, as they must now prepare for the tricky task presented by newly revitalized Santos. After showing genuine progress following their latest merger, Santos finally earned their first win last time out against NorVan. It lifted them off the bottom of the league onto level footing with the North Shore boys in what looks set to be a three-team relegation scrap between those two and Greencaps. It is certainly too early to start making Santos a favourite in matches, however, they will surely be confident going into this match and even a point could make the difference come the final tally to determine who stays in the league.

Vancouver Greencaps v NorVan Storm
Still without a win on the season, Greencaps now find themselves propping up the table. It is tumultuous times at the club who after double promotions two seasons ago for both their A and B sides, are currently staring at the possibility of double relegations with their Division 2 side also in last place. Fortunately for their A group at least, they have an immediate chance to climb off the bottom when they face NorVan. The North Shore boys have only one win to their name on the year and are currently in the midst of a six game losing streak. Before coming up against the top two sides in the league over the last two weeks, Greencaps had looked to be on the up, earning their first points of the season in back to back draws. They will need to not only recapture that form, but also to better it as they desperately need a first win of the season. Historically long weekends have not been kind to the Greenmen with a team laden with players on tourist visas who like to get out an explore the best BC has to offer when they get these chances. It will need to be all hand on deck though this weekend as only a win will do.

Burnaby Metro Athletic v GN Sporting Club
Given this match is a clash between a pair of teams with genuine promotion ambitions, this one is the MOTW. Both these sides were held to draws last weekend, but as no side made up any ground on the promotion chasing field it was a case of no harm, no foul. Burnaby have been chasing the promotion places ever since they were held to a draw in Week 1 by NorVan. A win this week would pull them level with GN in second place. At the same time, GN certainly have no interest in relinquishing a spot they have occupied since day one of the season as well, meaning both side should be plenty motivated for this one. All the teams in the promotion battle are fairly even statistically speaking with similar goal differentials. GN look to perhaps be plateauing somewhat though, as they have only managed to score a single goal in each of their last three matches. Burnaby themselves are not that offensively inclined though, having scored more than twice on just one occasion this season and that came against a pre-merger Santos side. While this match will certainly have plenty of determination and will, but it may not have the style to back up the occasion. As mentioned, things appear to be pretty even between the two teams. Of course, being a long weekend, GN may not travel at full strength what sets up as a chilly Sunday night. Still, with all the parity in the league at the moment, this one looks to well poised for a draw.

Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi v Richmond Hibernian
Perhaps the most frustrating result for Lupi this weekend was not their 1-1 draw with GN when they had a chance to move into second place with a win, but Wolves 2-0 win over FASA in Premier. That win moved Lupi's big brothers out of the drop zone in Prem, meaning that once more Lupi are sealed in at the Division 1 level. Last season a similar fate led to Coquitlam losing steam through the latter portion of the season, beginning at around this point of the campaign. A long weekend fixture against the league's top team could well lead to some ambivalence in the Metro Ford camp. At the same time it may also be the perfect time to face UBC. A long weekend trip all they way to Coquitlam on a Sunday night cannot possibly tick many boxes for their squad, so, perhaps, they will be understaffed and, as such, easy prey for a Lupi side that have shown they are more than useful already this year. Having increased their lead atop the division with their 3-0 win over Greencaps last week, Richmond are now well and truly the favourites for the title this season. However, it is unclear if that is necessarily desirable for their program. It stands to reason that some of the top players, including the division's current leading goal scorer, Sebastian Dzikowski, will be involved with the varsity set up next year. Presumably there will be a new crop of 17 and 18 year-olds taking their place on this reserve squad. Not sure if Premier is the place they will want to be, but one supposes that is a future problem for Mike Mosher et al. In the meantime, long weekend or otherwise their record dictates that they will remain as favourites.
 
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Has the league been notified of the incident at the GN Metro game? Went to watch the game and at some point GN went down a man. Later they made a sub without actually taking a player off. One of the spectators pointed this out to the Metro bench and they let the ref know, who shockingly didn't seem to care much. Eventually the player was told to get off the field, and he claimed he thought another player had gone off already...
A couple of guys from another div 1 team at the game were saying GN always uses ineligible players and their suspended players use other players' IDs to play, etc. How can stuff like this happen in a men's div 1 VMSL game? The league needs to take proper action.
 
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Has the league been notified of the incident at the GN Metro game? Went to watch the game and at some point GN went down a man. Later they made a sub without actually taking a player off. One of the spectators pointed this out to the Metro bench and they let the ref know, who shockingly didn't seem to care much. Eventually the player was told to get off the field, and he claimed he thought another player had gone off already...
A couple of guys from another div 1 team at the game were saying GN always uses ineligible players and their suspended players use other players' IDs to play, etc. How can stuff like this happen in a men's div 1 VMSL game? The league needs to take proper action.
Same old GN always cheating....
 

dezza

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Has the league been notified of the incident at the GN Metro game? Went to watch the game and at some point GN went down a man. Later they made a sub without actually taking a player off. One of the spectators pointed this out to the Metro bench and they let the ref know, who shockingly didn't seem to care much. Eventually the player was told to get off the field, and he claimed he thought another player had gone off already...
A couple of guys from another div 1 team at the game were saying GN always uses ineligible players and their suspended players use other players' IDs to play, etc. How can stuff like this happen in a men's div 1 VMSL game? The league needs to take proper action.
If that's true, the player who snuck on should have received a yellow card for entering the field without permission.

If he had permission to come on, then that's the officiating crews fault for giving permission without having a player come off first.
 

Canucks4Ever

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Certainly should have been booked at the least.

As for ineligible players, it is the responsibility of the opposition to protest the game. If it can be proven that ineligible players were used the consequences are high, including points deduction and fines.

The referees do not stop a player from playing but can, of course, note their suspicions/apprehensions in the game report as well as inform the other team if they like. I was at a match years ago where Kevin Uppal was refereeing and he told a team that Shaheen were lying about a who a certain player was. In the end the opponents won the game and chose not to follow through with a protest.

It is a difficult system to enforce as a referee. If a guys says yes I am player X, it is tough to say otherwise. There is no provision to force teams to produce corroborating ID and, even if there was, presumably teams determined to cheat would ensure that player has the necessary ID. Additionally, our ID check procedures are already cumbersome and I am not sure there is much appetite to be having guys bring more ID. In other parts of the world (UK, US, etc.) there is no ID check, you just hand in a team list and play.

So, short version would be it is the honour system with the proviso that the penalties for getting caught should ward off much of the appetite for cheating. For example, were GN to be caught the points deduction would be a huge blow to their promotion bid. However, given that Metro won the game, I doubt there is much incentive to protest.
 

KingFisher

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Has the league been notified of the incident at the GN Metro game? Went to watch the game and at some point GN went down a man. Later they made a sub without actually taking a player off. One of the spectators pointed this out to the Metro bench and they let the ref know, who shockingly didn't seem to care much. Eventually the player was told to get off the field, and he claimed he thought another player had gone off already...
A couple of guys from another div 1 team at the game were saying GN always uses ineligible players and their suspended players use other players' IDs to play, etc. How can stuff like this happen in a men's div 1 VMSL game? The league needs to take proper action.
If I recall correctly, they were docked points last season or the year before for using illegal players. Last year they were also told during card checks by an assistant referee that he knew the player wasn't the player they were claiming so they decided not to proceed playing the ineligible player. Pathetic to say the least on their part.
 
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