6-1 6-1 6-1 5-1 4-1 4-1 I have not seen this scores in a week of play across the board
Rovers Tigers missing Soolsma for last weekend
Many teams had players away still
CCB to move up the ranking
I heard top player CCB Azad fraser valley is coming Ronaldo 07
Inter and NorVan officially joined the list of teams that will not be winning the league this season, while, despite their somewhat surprising losses, both Rovers and West Van are officially same from relegation. True, we are still a ways away from answering the real questions in the VMSL, but at least the edges of the map are beginning to come in! Of course, just as we say that, the specter of winter weather has appeared on the horizon, threatening to throw everything into disarray. Hopefully we get at least this week's full schedule played.
Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 17
Croatia v Columbus
In a rare scheduling quirk, this is the only Friday night fixture on the schedule this week. It remains to be seen, though, if it is much of a contest or not with first place Croatia looking for another win against last place Columbus. Rumours are swirling that the Italian's marquee off season acquisition, midfielder Mark Baldisimo has left the club while leading scorer Adriano Negri is the lastest Columbus man to have his ill discipline catch up to him, leading to a suspension. A 6-1 thrashing by Rino's was hardly the welcome back gift that the newly promoted side would have been hoping for to begin the New Year after finally notching their first win the season right before the break. As bleak as things are though, Columbus still have some potentially winnable matches to come this season and while survival would be surely the greatest of escapes after the season they have had so far, it is not entirely out of the question just yet, especially with the other bottom sides all also seemingly completely adrift at the moment. The biggest challenge might be keeping morale up and belief in the side strong, especially in the face of these heavy losses and players supposedly abandoning ship. Things are not likely to get any easier at all this week with Croatia in hot pursuit of a second VMSL Premier title in as many seasons. The defending champs looked in top form against NorVan, cruising to a 5-1 win in their first match after the break. They absolutely cannot afford to drop points to lowly Columbus whatsoever, especially with Rino's breathing down their necks, just two points back at the top of the table. Tough to see anything other than a straightforward Croatia win.
Rino's Tigers v Club Inter EDC Burnaby
This match produced a shock during the reverse fixture with Chinter handing the then perfect Rino's their first loss of the season. No doubt everybody at Inter took great delight in this given their well documented ire towards Rino's. It is somewhat of a similar story this time around with mid-table Inter definitely the underdogs against title chasing Tigers. Rino's big summer signing continues to prove his worth, netting four more goals in their 6-1 dismantling of Columbus to begin 2020. With first place Croatia looking set for a similar result against the Italians this week, Rino's know that they cannot afford another slip up against the "Italian"-Chileans that are Chinter. That said, Inter are in desperate need of points themselves. Week by week their hopes of finishing inside the top six to give themselves a chance at a return to the Provincial Cup looks less and less likely. Despite their win over FASA last week, they were not able to make up any ground at all with Peg and Metro Ford both winning as well, so EDC remain five points out of sixth place. Fortunately for Inter, last season's leading scorer Mohammed Habib has returned to the fold and he banged in a pair in that win last time out. If he can be the player he was for Inter at the beginning of last season, then he might be able to spur them up the table. Still, though, Rino's have to be the favourites here.
Guildford FASA v Pegasus
Things really are not looking great for FASA. After their 4-1 loss to Chinter last time out they remain three points from safety and will finish the season by playing all of the top six teams. First up is a Pegasus side fresh off messing up West Van's title challenge thanks to a 4-1 win of their own. The Surrey boys are looking to fend off Coquitlam who are nipping at their heels and with CCB still lurking down in the bottom half, but with games in hand, the Provincial Cup battle looks set to potentially heat up even further in the coming weeks. UBC man Kerman Pannu exploded for a hat trick in Peg's weekend win and if he is able to compliment ex-Whitecap Sahil Sandhu in providing regular offense for the Horsemen, they could be a real threat come the cup competitions. For FASA it looks as though they could well spend the rest of the season desperately searching in vain for the one win they need to potentially save themselves. Given their current form, it is all but impossible to see them beating any top six side. Peg may have been their best potential chance at points, but after their solid outing against West Van, there is no reason to doubt the Surrey boys.
West Van v Rovers Hurricanes
After both sides lost last week this one is without a doubt the MOTW as which ever side fails to get maximum points from this match likely able to kiss their title hopes goodbye. If it ends up a draw it is quite possible that result would sink both their championship ambitious for this season. As it is the six and seven points back the two club sit respectively at the minute might already be a bridge to far close the gap, but both teams still have crucial six-pointers to come against both Rino's and Croatia. Ironically, whoever emerges as the winner from this match, if there is to be one, will likely be relying on their defeated opponent to take points off of the aforementioned top two. While that team's title hopes might well be dashed by that point, they should still have plenty to play for given that both Coquitlam and Pegasus are looking to make a last gasp charge into the top four and the automatic Provincial Cup qualification that accompanies finishing there. Thus, regardless of the outcome here, both sides would be well advised to keep their wits about them moving forward. As for this encounter, neither team looked sparkling in their first match after the holidays, but certainly Rovers looked the more woeful of the two. They had no answer for Coquitlam's Carlo Basso who ripped them apart for five goals where their own potent offense remained on sabbatical. A trip to Ambleside is another tough away day and the Surrey boys will need to be at their best against the former Trollers who were in with a chance against Pegasus until a pair of late goals finished that match off as a contest. West Van also have the edge in both offensive and defensive categories over Rovers, having scored two more goals to this point of the season while conceding six less. Last season these two put together three epic encounters that were thoroughly entertaining, including a cracker on Opening Day that was edged by Rovers and the Imperial Cup final that saw West Van emerge as champions. This season, however, their one meeting so far was a cagey 1-1 draw. Another result like that would be disastrous for both teams. Given the stomping they took last week, it is tough to see Rovers bouncing back immediately with another tough away fixture, plus West Van at home is always a tough proposition. I will make them the favourites as I think Rovers will need to be at their absolute best to come away with all the spoils.
CCB LFC v NorVan
An oddly scheduled Sunday evening kickoff for CCB in this one given that their usual home kickoff time is Friday nights. Not sure on the reasoning, but, presumably, this will allow them to field at least some semblance of a full roster. The Surrey boys looked like a top tier team in their 6-1 dismantling of White Eagles last week and with the Provincial Cup places still outside of their unilateral reach, they will need to maintain that form the rest of the season if they are to have any realistic chance of qualifying to defend their title based on league placing. This will actually be the first meeting of the season between these two teams as this was one of the matches postponed while CCB were at Nationals. Last season NorVan were somewhat of a bogey team for CCB, beating them on the North Shore before only losing narrowly 1-0 in Surrey near the end of the season. The North Shore crew could certainly do with a similar level of performance this time around as they are mired in a stretch that has seen them go winless over their past seven matches, picking up just two points. The teams below them look incapable up picking up enough points to pass them given their current form, but still, just a four point cushion between themselves and the relegation places has got to have at least a few in the club hierarchy looking nervously over their shoulders. Assuming CCB are at their best then there does not look to be too much to analyze in this one.
Burnaby Selects White Eagles v Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves
The tire fire continues for White Eagles as the wheels look to have now completely come off for the once Serbians. It could not be more the opposite story for Coquitlam at the minute, however, as the Tri-Cities boys are bang in form and have not lost any of their last eight matches. In even better news for Metro Ford, talisman Carlo Basso suddenly looks every inch of his best self from years gone past after he slotted an impressive five goals in their 6-1 hammering of Rovers to start the New Year. Coquitlam have had Peg in their sights for some time now and are hovering just two points behind them. With West Van and Rovers both losing last week and now facing each other meaning that at least one of them will drop further points, a top four finish, while still a stretch, is not out of the question for Metro Ford if they can keep this run going. White Eagles look to be a minimal obstacle for them this week, as the Burnaby side are bleeding goals. After a shock 2-1 loss to relegation threatened FASA, the former Serbians have gone on to lose three more on the spin, giving up 18 goals in the process. They sit perilously in tenth place just three points above FASA and the drop zone with perhaps their biggest hope for survival being that fact that it genuinely appears that the "Guildford" boys will not pick up any further points this season. Where once White Eagles looked like they belonged in a division with the Metro Ford's of the world, they now look woeful outmatched. Burnaby should likely focus their efforts on trying to get points out of their next two matches against fellow strugglers NorVan and Columbus.