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Premier [VMSL] Premier 2021/2022 Predictions, Results & Banter

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Total Bastard
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hey! Are the Prem games going ahead this Friday?
I would imagine that as of now they are on but the snow forecast this week doesn't look great for them.

Are PPL allowed to watch the games? Not up to speed with the new omicron-related rules...
 

Canucks4Ever

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The title race this season may be turning into a fun run for BB5. This would potentially set up an interesting Provincial Cup Semi Final or Final against FC Tigers from the FVSL - but that is a thought for a bit of a ways down the road still yet. After BB5, the rest of the VMSL's top flight is shaping up to be a great battle to the end with seven teams fighting for the remaining three guaranteed Provincial Cup spots and two further trickle down positions. Beyond that there are four teams battling it out to escape automatic relegation via a bottom two finish, as well as the looming threat of a survival playoff for the tenth placed side. It all sets up a wild and wacky sprint to the finish in 2022!

Completely Baseless Predictions - Mid-season Review

1. BB5 United
Too much, too good, too deep. That is pretty much it for BB5 this season. Their dynamic and interchangeable offense has been completely irresistible so far this season, leading them to an unbeaten record and a two point cushion at the top, while holding two and three games in hand respectively over their most immediate challengers. Nic Morello has supplanted former Whitecaps Residency product Caleb Clarke as the teams top scorer, for now, although Clarke has tallied just one less than Morello's dozen. Ramsey Alfantzi and Yassin Essa have rolled back the clock to be dynamic and consistent contributors weekly, while Boris Si is enjoying a renaissance of form at the heart of midfield week in and week out. The defense corps of Andrew Metcalf in goal with twin towers Ellie Gino and Eric De Graaf at centreback is often complimented by the presence of former Canadian international Marcel De Jong, so it is little wonder they lead the division with a whopping seven clean sheet from twelve matches. BB5 have been guilty in the past of not having the consistency over a long season to field their best players week in and week out in order to truly challenge for the title. That does not appear to be a problem this season. On the off chance they are short a body or two, we have not even mentioned the likes of Connor Glennon and Rylan Sangha who can supplement the attack, or Mark Talisuna and Mark Baldisimo, who can take over the the midfield. It is an abundance of riches and barring a massive let down, they should be firm favourites to lift the club's first VMSL Premier Division title this season before embarking on the quest to defend their Provincial and National titles they won pre-pandemic.

Pre-season Prediction - 3
Mid-season Prediction - 1


2. Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves
It has been a welcome return to form for a Metro Ford program that had hit a bit of a rough patch prior to the pandemic. Mid-table finishes and fights for Provincial Cup berths had become the norm for a side that was used to challenging at the top of the league. For a time at the beginning of the season it looked as though the Tri-Cities boys would run neck and neck with BB5 for the title, but Coquitlam have not been able to match the consistency of the Surrey side and have fallen away, alongside everyone else in the division. Still leading the way for Wolves is talismanic striker Carlo Basso, and his eleven goals on the season have him among the uppers echelons of the scoring race. Basso has reinforcements though in the form of Jovan Blagojevic and Juan Sanchez and this added attacking threat has likely helped to open up further space within which Basso can operate. With the title, realistically, a long shot now, the focus for CMF and their contemporaries will be on finishing in the top four and guaranteeing a place in the Provincial Cup, without having to sweat the outcome of the Imperial Cup. They are currently five points clear of fifth place Inter, but things are so tight from second through eighth that it is a fools paradise trying to bet on how this is all going to shake out. Still, given their hot start, Metro Ford have put themselves in the driver's seat and so long as they can continue to at least hold their ground against the pack, they should be able to nab one of those top four places.

Pre-season Prediction - 6
Mid-season Prediction - 2


3. Rino's Coastal
Lessons seemed to have been learned by this group after their previous endeavor into the VMSL's top tier left them with egg on their face. "Rino's" have come a long way from their North Delta days and now look poised to be force that can contend for silverware in this league as well. Coastal have several holdovers from their previous VMSL endeavour, the most prominent of which continue to be top attacking threats Jake Starheim and Isaac Kyei. Both players are match winners in their own right, although neither are quite hitting the heights they may have been accustomed to in the FVSL as they sit well back in terms of the division's goal scoring leaders. It is that lack of consistent terror up front that may be Coastal's one key weakness in an otherwise very well-rounded squad. As a team they have scored only 29 goals which is above the average in the division, but not by much. Additionally, their inexplicable inability to get maximum points in matches at home against strugglers Pegasus and Norvan shows they may have some lessons still to learn before they become true contenders. Perhaps they are used to being able to rotate the squad and mail it in against teams near the bottom of the table, but that does not usually fly in the VMSL's Premier Division. We are also set to get a stiff examination of their credentials to maintain their current form here in the New Year given the long accepted mantra that the VMSL never really starts until January. Given their ability to rise to the test so far during this campaign, you have to back them to hold there ground and capture one of the top four automatic qualification spots for the Provincial Cup, but if they make the mistake of thinking that it is job done already, they could be in for a rude awakening.

Pre-season Prediction - 4
Mid-season Prediction - 3


4. VUFC Hibernian
A little beyond halfway through the season and it is still tough to get a read on just exactly what this team is for Mike Mosher and UBC. Predictably their results have been up and down, with losses during their early weeks of the season often seeming to correlate with away games for the varsity side. That said, it does not seem the squad has been offered an influx of varsity talent post-college season, and their results continue to be middling. Big Seb Dzikowski has returned to reclaim the team scoring lead, having powered the Hibs offense during their promotion season just before the pandemic hit, but it is mostly him and other first year players, with seemingly none of UBCs senior varsity squad members making appearances, save for Chad Bush in goal on occasion. With BC League 1 on the horizon, one can only wonder if a Provincial Cup place is even on the radar for this group, or if they are content simply playing out the string before shifting gears to whatever this new "Tier 3" league has to offer in the summer. The UBCers are in the thick of a battle to finish in the top four and, alternatively, the top six to book said spot in the Provincial Cup. Somebody is going to miss out at the end of the day and if these do not have the same killer instinct and motivation to fight for this spot, it could easily be them on the outside looking in come April. Again, though, it is not as though they would not have anything to do with the program during this time, so maybe things are, in fact, easier that way.

Pre-season Prediction - 5
Mid-season Prediction - 7


5. Club Inter EDC
Currently heading the chasing pack for the top four spots are Inter, although, in case this has not yet been made clear, things are incredibly tight. There are only three points between fourth place Hibs and eighth place Hurricanes. Inter sit fifth, one point back of Hibs, but with a negative goal difference. That is how the season has gone to date and there is no reason to expect this group of teams will not continue to take points off of each other. With less than half a season to go, if any side were to get hot and string three or four wins together, that would probably be enough to separate them from the pack. Maybe it could be Inter, but they would need to start finding some regular goal scoring. Leading scorer Massud Habibullah has netted just five times and struggled to score more than one goal a game this season, doing so in only seven of their fourteen games and scoring more than twice in a match on just three occasions. Additionally, in three of the matches where they scored a second goal, they were on the wrong end of 5-2 losses. It is such a lottery in the middle of the table at the moment, but Inter have managed to eek out an number of one goal wins this season, winning by that margin in five of their seven successes, and this is the type of mentality that can make the difference in these dogfights for places. Tough to see them climbing into the top four unless their offense picks up, but they look good for grinding out a top six spot and leaving the door to the Provincials open to themselves.

Pre-season Prediction - 8
Mid-season Prediction - 5


6. Croatia SC
It is pretty much just "see above" for Croatia. Like Inter, goal scoring is the problem for the Croatians with James Najman's four goals leading the way for them. Hardly the stuff of champions and they miss the consistent production David Malamura gave them during their run to the title in 2019 and their aborted title defense of 2020 that was cut short by Covid. Malamura remains among the ranks and has scored three time this season. If that production, or lack thereof, has been due to limited availability or injury, then perhaps there is hope for Croatia to climb the table if he can return to form in 2022. The rest of their game seems to be in order; they have only conceded 22 goals on the season which is on par with Metro Ford and Coastal who sit up in the automatic Provincial Cup qualification spots. If Croatia can unlock the offense for the backstretch of the campaign, they look a safe bet to potentially snag that final spot in the top four. If things continue the way they have, then it is 6 to 5 and pick 'em for where in this quagmire of a mid-table Croatia finish.

Pre-season Prediction - 2
Mid-season Prediction - 4
 

Canucks4Ever

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7. West Van FC
Well, this certainly would not have been the season West Van envisioned after a decent little "Cohort Cup" campaign during Covid, and strong third place finish to the pandemic shortened 2019-20 season to follow up winning the 2019 Imperial Cup, which makes them still technically the reigning champions in that competition. The signs seemed to be trending upwards for the Ablesiders but, while the bottom has not completely fallen out, this season would have to be viewed as a step backwards, at least so far. Their offensive production has been average, but they are scoring and Eoin Mccormack continues to prove he can put the ball in the net at this level with six goals to his name so far this year. The issue has been the defending, which is a complete shock because that has traditionally been a trademark strong suit for the former Trollers. Long time goalkeeper Stephen Welle has seemingly been out of the team for a stretch or stretches this season, but West Van recruited a capable deputy in Capilano University's Hudson Nelles after convincing him to forgo sitting on the bench for powerhouse BB5. So the defensive fragility that has resulted in the very un-West Van like statistics of 31 goals against through just fourteen games with only a solitary clean sheet and a -5 goal different cannot simply be down to the absence of the star keeper. With the fight for the top four and the top six so hotly contested with the margins incredibly razor thin, a leaky defense just is not going to cut it. West Van had best find a way to fix the holes in their boat, or else they a surely to wind up on the sidelines come April.

Pre-season Prediction - 1
Mid-season Prediction - 8


8. BCT Rovers Hurricanes
There were all sorts of indications of potential chaos in and around the Hurricanes camp prior to the season with rumours swirling of an inability to field a team and the potential of the team folding. This appeared to be backed up by the club's failure to register the team on time, as well as pay their bills on schedule, and was further supported when their roster for opening day was a complete mess. They had no league paperwork and the cobbled together handwritten roster given to the referees at halftime evidently contained at least one ineligible player. Add to that the fact they were beat 3-2 on the day by West Van before being further punished with a deduction of an additional three points for their administrative failings, and it was a rather inauspicious start to the season. It was looking like it could be a long year for the 2018 Provincial and National Champions, especially when they failed to win any of the first four matches, including an embarrassing 4-1 beat down by local rivals Pegasus. Then the switch flipped or, perhaps, someone kicked former Toronto FC man Nick Soolsma into gear. Since then Hurricanes have lost only twice and are one of only three teams not to have lost to leaders BB5. Soolsma, for his part, is on a tear, and is leading the division with eighteen through fifteen matches. Despite their points penalty, Rovers have climbed all the way back to eighth, within touching distance of the Provincial Cup places. In fact, they would be sitting level on points in fourth place if not for their deduction. They have a positive goal difference and no one seems to have the answer for stopping Soolsma. It is, however, a bit of a one man show, with the next highest scores, including veteran Pavi Dhillon, who used to rival Soolsma for the Hurricanes scoring title annually, only sitting on three goals. Therefore, it would appear to be a case of as goes Nick Soolsma, as go Hurricanes the rest of the way. Rovers have the momentum and the pedigree, so do not be surprised to see them squeak into the post-season tournament.

Pre-season Prediction - 9
Mid-season Prediction - 6


9. Burnaby Selects White Eagles
Saved by the bell is perhaps the best way to describe the conclusion to White Eagles' 2020 campaign, as their first season back in the top flight was cut short by Covid, just as a motivated Columbus side looked to have their act together and were making a late, if highly improbable, charge for safety. Once more, after a middling enough start, things seemed to be spiraling downward for the once Serbians and they had gone five games without a win, losing four straight before they picked up a 2-0 success against Inter in their final outing of 2021. This has kept them four points above tenth and currently occupying the final place assured of safety this season. The question now is, can any of the teams behind them catch them up? Hurricanes are seven points ahead of White Eagles and more or less out of sight for the teams in the relegation places. So it is catching the Burnaby boys or bust for anyone hoping to be guaranteed a place back in the division next season. Matlash Vladyslav continues to be the talisman for White Eagles, and they figure to rely heavily on him and his seven goals to date to provide the offense that might just keep them up. With matches still to come against both Norvan and Pegasus, with the Peg match being this weekend, there is still much to be decided. Based on their trajectory from two years ago, it is difficult to bet on Burnaby, but they have the advantage and will hold their fate in their own hands.

Pre-season Prediction - 11
Mid-season Prediction - 10


10. SFC Pegasus
After a bit of a resurgence towards the end of the 2019-20 season, Pegasus have once again struggled and look set to fight for their Premier lives the rest of the way. Rumours abound that their previous link to Douglas College through long time Peg man Paul Bahia has shifted focus to the FVSL, leaving Peg somewhat in the lurch, and the Surrey boys could certainly use some help. They have scored fourteen goals in fourteen games, which is not going to cut it at the top level, and have been held off the scoresheet six times this season. If there is one ray of hope, it is that they have managed to limit the goals against, have nabbed a pair of nil-nil draws to help add to their points total and cling to safety. Reinforcements might well be necessary, and, if they cannot find them externally, the club may need to consider its priorities. Pegs veterans, who held the fort for so long in Prem, are currently atop the table in Over 35 Premier. Maybe their veteran savvy might need to be called upon in this relegation battle over the final months of the season. Peg have games to come against White Eagles this week and Norvan to wrap up the season, and a pair of wins there might be enough to get them to safety, or at least to avoid an automatic drop. Norvan seem to be motivated enough on their side, and White Eagles look to be catchable for somebody, so this is setting up to be a great relegation battle.

Pre-season Prediction - 7
Mid-season Prediction - 11


11. Norvan
No one can question the effort Norvan put forward on a weekly basis, only the execution. Fortunately for the North Shore boys, the VMSL does not use goal difference as a tie breaker, so all that matters is points and given Norvan's constant determination, surely they would back themselves in a one game playoff to survive, if it came down to it. To be in that position, however, they would need to at least maintain their current position, level in tenth place. Of course, their dreams will be bigger than that, as they eye White Eagles, who are perched in the safety of ninth place, just four points ahead of them. Goals have been tough to come by this season for Norvan, and they have been on the end of some lopsided losses. However, there are enough veterans among the Norvan ranks to know it is not about quantity in a relation battle, but rather quality, as timely scoring can be the key to capturing precious points. This is evidenced by the fact that both of Norvan's wins this season have come in 1-0s. The North Shore boys will be keen to hang around and nab any possible points from teams higher up the table over their stretch run, but they will have two key fixtures circled on their calendars - White Eagles and Pegasus. The North Vancouver side would surely bite your hand off for a further pair of 1-0s there, as it might well get them over the line to safety. It is going to be quite the battle for survival, but one gets the sense Norvan, having been through it before, are bang up for this. Peg are not used to relegation scraps and White Eagles were sparred the experience by the pandemic in their inaugural season two years ago. So, just maybe, it is advantage Norvan.

Pre-season Prediction - 10
Mid-season Prediction - 9


12. Metro Athletic FC
At the end of this season, if relegation is the fate of MAFC, which it is looking more and more likely than not, they will certainly look back and think they did have their chances to stay up. A brief read of their game summaries shows an astonishing amount of points dropped this season. They have been kept off the scoresheet on six occasions this season and, with the exception of an Opening Day draw, they have lost all those matches. In the matches where they have scored, though, they have dropped a startling eleven points from winning positions. Additionally, they conceded an 89th minute winner in a 1-0 loss, so call it an even twelve points dropped. Obviously there will be a learning curve for any newly promoted side, but that is criminal for anyone trying to survive relegation. 1-0 up against Hurricanes, lose 3-1 after taking a red card at 1-1; 1-0 up against West Van, concede twice in the final twenty minutes and lose 2-1; 2-0 up against Coastal, concede three times in the final fifteen minutes and lose 3-2; 2-1 up against Inter; concede twice in the final fifteen minutes and lose 3-2. If they had managed half of those twelve points dropped they would be in control of their own destiny in tenth and be within touching distance of safety altogether. If they managed just a quarter of the points, they would be right in the thick of things with Norvan and Pegasus. Now though, while they are not dead an buried, they are quickly running out of track.

Pre-season Prediction - 12
Mid-season Prediction - 12
 

PV

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Thanks for write up. I have not been to many games this year. No fun watching on a cold wet night.
 

SmartCoach

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Coastal are no longer in the FVSL
And are playing like they belong in vmsl
Excellent coaching and support staff
Please look at the diabolical disaster of the FVSL premier league this season
2 teams same club sharing players
Teams filing in at last minute for half a season and might be able to play provincial cup
Rumour whitecaps only playing at UBC
No away games
Why even bother
 

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