VMSL Weekly Review 2019-20

dezza

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So the VMSL Weekly Review is back... unfortunately it's missing a few superlatives because it's no longer written by Azzi.

Oddly I can't find it published anywhere on the VMSL site, so I thought I'd post here to share with those who aren't on the distribution list.
 
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dezza

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VMSL Weekly Review Vol. 1

Close matches on Opening Day at Empire set the stage for enthralling Premier Division season…
Both the defending VMSL League Champions and Provincial Champions were upset in Week 1, while the Imperial Cup Champions needed a late goal to bag all three points against newly promoted opposition. Elsewhere in the VMSL things were not nearly as tight, with several teams laying down statements of intent for the upcoming campaign
PREMIERE DIVISION RECAP
12pm Kickoffs
Empire North – West Van FC A vs. Burnaby Selects White Eagles A
Empire South – SFC Pegasus A vs. ICSF Columbus FC A
Under a pleasantly overcast sky and with music blaring in the distance from the PCOV M-A beer garden, the VMSL Premier season began at Empire Turf with side by side action on both the North and South pitches. On the South field, we did not have to wait long for the first goal of the 2019-20 Premier campaign as Paul Bahia unleashed a thundering shot from distance to get the Pegasus season off to a flying start against newly promoted Columbus. You could forgive the new boys if this knocked the air out of their enthusiasm for the new season, but, to their credit, Columbus worked hard to find a way back into the match. Striker Adriano Negri carved out a handful of half chances, but could not find a way past Peg keeper Marc Mincieli who was perfect when called upon on the day. After Columbus really took the game over pressing for an equalizer, former Whitecaps FC player Sahil Sandhu ensured Pegasus would be taking all three points back to Surrey when he scored on a counter attack with just over ten minutes remaining. This was exactly the start to the season that Peg were craving after it took until the middle of October for them to record their first win last year.
On the North field there was another newly promoted team, with Burnaby White Eagles taking on Imperial Cup Champions West Van. West Van had the majority of possession through the early stages, but some stout Burnaby defending kept them at bay. White Eagles were also looking very dangerous on the counter attack, but things were still stuck scoreless as the half progressed. Then, two quick goals sparked the match into life. First, West Van’s Shane Howard smashed a shot from just outside the penalty area into the roof of the net but then, within minutes, White Eagles finally found an end product for one of their many counter attacks as last season’s leading scorer for the club, Matlash Vladyslav timed his run perfectly to finish off a nice move. It looked like perhaps this might turn the game into a goalfest, but, instead, the stalwart defensive play of both teams returned to the fore. White Eagles continued to look dangerous on the counter attack, although they could not find a way to goal. It seemed certain that they would settle for a share of the points with one of the VMSL’s top teams until Burnaby hearts were broken in injury time. Dylan Bams was able to get in alone on goal after a lovely flick-on from Doug Joyce, who had been a workhorse in the West Van engine room all afternoon, and round the keeper to give West Van the win. Despite coming away with nothing to show for their efforts on the day, White Eagles will surely look to build on this strong performance in the coming weeks.
2pm Kickoffs
Empire North – Club Inter EDC Burnaby A vs.
Coquitlam Metro Ford A Wolves
Empire South – Guildford FC FASA vs. CCB LFC United
Two of the VMSL’s most seasoned franchises in the top division effectively cancelled each other out when they began their seasons at Empire in the second matches of the day. Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves and Club Inter EDC Burnaby played to a 0-0 draw with Coquitlam’s Dillan Fogliato and Inter’s Just Baarts both earning clean sheets. Both Carlo Basso for Metro Ford and Mohammed Habib for EDC did their best to create opportunities going forward in this match, but other than a pair of spectacular, if ambitious, bicycle kick attempts, there was not too much to get the fans attention from the beer garden in this one. In the end both teams pocketed a point that they will hope proves valuable come the final tally and, perhaps more importantly, ensured that a chief rival did not come away with maximum points at their expense.
If the action on the North field was perhaps slightly less enthralling, it only served to focus more attention on the coinciding game on the South field where we witnessed the upset of the day and, perhaps the season. VMSL runners-up and Provincial Champions CCB LFC United trotted out a much changed side to the one that took the field in Nanaimo last May and lifted the Provincial Cup. Of course, one change tragically enforced was the absence of Brandon Bassi and a poignant moment of silence was held in his honour prior to the match. Few onlookers were giving the revamped Guildford FC FASA much of a chance in this one and the team’s pre-match lack of organization hardly did anything to change those minds. However, FASA started on the front foot with the new look CCB squad struggling to find any type of rhythm and FASA were rewarded for their bright start when player-coach Othmane Kabbadj won the ball near midfield and started a counter attack that saw Brandon Bangambee pot their first goal of this new season just before half time. Led by midfielder and captain Boris Si, after falling behind CCB steadied the ship and came into the game as you would expect from a team of their pedigree. Robbie Giezen had a great chance to get CCB on the board in the 60th minute on a partial breakaway, but he was denied by a smart sliding save. Eventually their equalizer came, though it was in controversial fashion, with FASA feeling strongly that when Harry Lakhan slipped Ellie Gindo, who joined CCB from Rino’s Tigers over the summer, in on goal the play should have called for offside. Instead Gindo’s goal would stand and FASA looked as though they would reluctantly be forced to settle for a share of the spoils, especially when Said Bendhohane got around the keeper but could not finish. Step forward Kalonzo Kabongo as the clock reached 90 minutes to neatly tuck inside his man and hit a long range screamer that found the back of the net and sent the Guildford sideline into ecstasy. It was a stunning result and time will tell if CCB come to rue not being able to field a first choice lineup on Opening Day as they looked to rest some players ahead of representing BC at the Toyota National Championships in October. One would expect perhaps less players to be rested in the coming weeks as the Surrey side look to rebound from this loss.
4pm Kickoffs
Empire North – Rino’s Tigers vs. Croatia SC A
Empire South – BCT Rovers Hurricanes A vs. NVFC Norvan
To finish off the day on the North field another trophy winner from last season suffered defeat when VMSL Champions Croatia SC found themselves on the wrong end of a 1-0 score line with Rino’s Tigers. It was that same score reversed on the final day of last season that saw Croatia lift the VMSL trophy and Rino’s will be hoping that these three points can help lead them to that same title this season. The teams were very well matched in this game and after Rino’s were denied a penalty shout when Ismael Longo went down in the area, it was looking like we might have our second 0-0 of the day. Things were looking even more dire when Rino’s new signing Farivar Torabi then missed on a breakaway, after Jude Barrow expertly put him in one-on-one with the keeper, that would have broken the deadlock. Torabi was the leading scorer in Division 1 for Burnaby Metro Athletic a season ago, but with Burnaby failing to earn promotion, he has taken his opportunity in the top flight with Rino’s. Missing a chance that could result in letting points slip away would hardly be what he would have imagined when it came to repaying Rino’s for the faith they have shown in him this year, so no doubt he was the most relieved man in sight when Carson Buschsman-Dormond crossed and Torabi was able to chest the ball near post, back to net and turn and smash in a late winner for the Tigers from close range. Although, when he was fouled in penalty area moments later, he was unable to double his tally after a great save from second half Croatia keeper, Ante Boskovic, making for a nervy final few moments for Rino’s. Fortunately for Torabi and Rino’s, keeper Lukas Strauts was able to shut the door on David Malamura and the rest of the Croatia attackers to register a shutout at the first time of asking this season. Credit for the clean sheet must also go to the rest of Rino’s defense corps as well, including Daniel Pritchard who was instrumental at right back for Tigers.
Wrapping things up on the South field, NVFC Norvan was able to keep Golden Boot winner and former Toronto FC player Nick Soolsma from opening his account on Opening Day thanks in large part to a top performance defensively from Stefan Colbow. Unfortunately for them though, they could not prevent Gurjot Lehal from scoring, as he had BCT Rovers Hurricanes in front after 35 minutes when Norvan were unable to scramble a corner clear. Conceding the first goal brought into sharper focus earlier misses by Norvan’s Nathan Hart, who fired over the net when he had a clear sight of goal in the opening minutes, and last season’s leading scorer Blake Burgeon, who also blazed a shot high when things were still deadlocked. As the clock reached the hour mark, Norvan keeper Jordan Martino made an outstanding point blank save to keep the game within NVFC’s reach and that nearly proved to be the turning point, however, a Norvan free kick moments later struck the wrong side of the post from their perspective. In the end, Norvan were unable to find a way to goal with Rovers keeper Pratap Sandhu turning away every effort he faced. When Cam Hundal doubled the advantage for Hurricanes part way through the second half after executing a quickly take free kick to perfection, leaving him to walk in on goal almost unopposed, it was lights out and an empty ride back to the North Shore for Norvan.
 

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ELSEWHERE IN THE VMSL...
In Division 1 Week 1 saw four teams get off to a winning start. Justin Lee had an early brace to help Westside FC A to a 3-1 win over Vancouver Greencaps while Will McKnight thought he had newly promoted Vancouver Strikers off to a dream start and they would lead twice prior to half time only for Richmond FC Hibernian to then storm to a 5-2 win. That was also the score that GN Sporting Club defeated Club Inter EDC Burnaby B by thanks to a pair of penalties converted by Jaspreet Bains to erase a two goal deficit just before half time which would set the stage for GN scoring three unanswered goals in the second period. Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi were the divisions other winners, defeating recently relegated Atletico Santos (formerly Campo Atletico) 3-1. Promotion hopefuls Burnaby Metro Athletic immediately felt the impact of losing last season’s top scorer Farivar Torabi to Premier’s Rino’s Tigers, as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Norvan Storm after being unable to hold onto an early 2-0 lead, and Rino’s Fury needed an injury time goal from Eamon McHugh to earn a draw which prevented newly promoted Westside FC Sierrafrom earning a perfect start to life in Division 1.
The Match of the Week for Week 2 is the Westside Derby between Westside FC A and Westside Sierra. Newly promoted Sierra got off to a bright start before Rino’s injury time equalizer meant they would have to split the points, while Westside A were winners as they look to mount a challenge to return to Premier after failing to do so at the first time of asking last season. The match is at Point Grey Turf on Saturday at 4pm.
In Masters Premier the division was reduced to nine teams as, just days before the season began, defending champions Coquitlam Metro Ford PCE folded. This meant that Croatia SC received a bye and will have to wait until Week 2 to start their season. In the games that did go ahead there were big results for Club Inter EDC M-A and Westside FC M-A as they beat West Van FC M-A and FC Romania M-A 6-0 and 5-0 respectively. Westside had five different players get off the mark for the season in their win while Habil Otieno and Santiago Sanchez both had braces for Inter EDC. New boys SFC Pegasus TU also had a comprehensive 4-0 win over NVFC Norvan M-A in their debut. The inaugural Match of the Week certainly lived up to its billing though as defending VMSL Masters A Cup Provincial Masters A Cup Champions PCOV M-A narrowly edged ICSF Columbus M-A in a heated affair that saw 11 players booked between the two teams. PCOV’s Ryan Dormer twice cancelled out leads given to Columbus courtesy of Steve Deblasio before Steve Frazao converted a penalty and any thoughts of a Columbus comeback were snuffed out when Alessandro Villeato was sent off.
The Match of the Week for Week 2 is the only meeting on the schedule between teams that won in their opening matches of the season with Westside FC hosting newcomers SFC Pegasus TU. Both sides will be looking to continue their momentum after registering lopsided wins in Week 1. The match is at Empire Turf North on Sunday at 2:05pm.
Across the rest of the league, Sunday saw the two biggest scores of the weekend. Shaheen FC A did in fact lay down a marker to the rest of the league in Division 2 with a 7-0 win over recently relegated FC Romania A. Former Premier player Milad Mehrabi had a hat trick in the win. There was also a 7-0 win in Division 3 as Siaron beat Westside FC Black Aces by that number with Darren O’Keefe notching four goals to take an early lead in the Golden Boot race. One to watch this week comes from Masters Division 1, where Shaheen FC M-A did their best to replicate the success of their Open division side as they beat former Masters Premier side, West Van Flying Horses 6-3 to start the season. They now face another former Master Premier side in Bowen Falconetti FC who are hoping they are on the ascent back to the top of the Masters pyramid following their promotion from Masters Division 2 last season. They began with a 2-2 draw against Meraloma FC M-A in Week 1, but now are set for a real test of their mettle against Shaheen. That match is at William Griffin Turf on Friday night at 9pm.
 

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VMSL Weekly Review Vol. 2

After a cagey Opening Day, the goals came tumbling out in the VMSL’s Premier Division, with 11 of the division’s 12 teams hitting the scoresheet in Week 2…
Big wins for VMSL Champions Croatia SC and newly promoted Burnaby White Eagles get them off the mark, while three teams maintained a perfect record after notching their second consecutive win. Three other sides are still yet to record a point, including Provincial Cup Champions CCB LFC.
PREMIERE DIVISION RECAP
Friday Night Kickoffs
Burnaby Lake West #4 – ICSF Columbus vs. BCT Rovers Hurricanes
Burnaby Lake West #3 – Club Inter EDC Burnaby vs. SFC Pegasus
Coquitlam Town Centre East Turf – Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves vs. Croatia SC
Newton Athletic Park #1 – CCB LFC vs. Rino’s Tigers
After Opening Day, it was back to regularly scheduled home games in the VMSL’s top flight, which meant the return of regularly scheduled home games under the flood lights on a Friday night. It also seemed to signal the changing of the season as the teams were treated to a rather torrential downpour! At Burnaby Lake the action got underway on Field 4 between Columbus and BCT Rovers Hurricanes as Columbus looked for their first points back in Premier, while Hurricanes sought to open their campaign with back to back wins. Things got started well for the latter when David Chohan opened the scoring after 21 minutes, but Columbus had things level before half time. New signing Mark Baldisimo looked as though he would get Columbus off the mark for the season, but he saw his free kick go just the wrong side of the bar after half an hour. Fortunately for Baldisimo, Adriano Negriscored the newly promoted side’s first goal of the season when he latched onto a lovely through ball from Alex Lazzazera a few minutes later. Still no goals yet for last season’s Golden Boot winner, BCT’s Nick Soolsma, but his attack partner, and the team’s second leading scorer from last year, Pavi Dhillon was on target to restore the Hurricane’s lead after the break. Columbus remained resolved, however, with Negri banging in his second equalizer of the night within minutes of Rovers retaking the lead; this time he took down a long ball from Stefano Bortolussi and held off a defender before turning and lofting a lovely finish from just outside the penalty area. It was a strong performance from the newly promoted side, particularly from Negri and strike partner JB McEown along with the midfield trio of Lazazzera, Baldisimo and Suhk Shergill and defender Anthony Quatrano. Alas, it was not to be enough for Columbus on this night as Harpreet Khakh would score the winner for Hurricanes with 20 minutes left to play, ensuring that BCT will carry their 100% record into their next match against Club Inter EDC while Columbus will go looking for their first points of the season when they travel to West Van next week.
Across the parking lot, on the other side of the field house at Burnaby Lake, Friday night, Club Inter EDC Burnaby were hosting SFC Pegasus on Field 3. After a cagey affair on Opening Day that saw them pocket a point in a 0-0 draw with Coquitlam, Inter looked as though they might be headed for a similar result for the second week running. Instead, though, for the second week running, Sahil Sandhu popped up with a late goal for Pegasus, who would then add another in quick succession. A last gasp goal by Marco Visintin would not be enough to spur Inter to a dramatic comeback as EDC succumbed to their first loss of the season and will try once more for their first win next time out against BCT Rovers Hurricanes. As for Pegasus, they will be at home in Surrey to put their perfect record up against Coquitlam.
Away from Burnaby Lake, Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves and Croatia SC tangled at Coquitlam Town Centre. Neither team had been able to score on Opening Day with Metro Ford settling for a goalless draw with Inter EDC, while VMSL Champions Croatia were beaten 1-0 by Rino’s Tigers. Croatia got off to a much better start in this one though, as Alejandro Varela nodded home after just six minutes to open the scoring. Daniel Davidson would double their advantage just past the half hour mark; however, Croatia would concede a penalty just before half time. Juan Sanchez stepped up for Coquitlam and opened his, and the team’s, account for the season and left this match finely poised at the break. With the match closing in on an hour played, the teams then exchanged quick goals as reigning league MVP David Malamura restored Croatia’s two goal advantage, only to be immediately pegged back by another goal from Sanchez, this one from open play. As Coquitlam went in search of an equalizer, the VMSL Premier Division saw its first red card of the season. Metro Ford’s Andre Pietramala was sent off for committing a second bookable offense and this all but ended Coquitlam’s hopes of getting something out of this match. Mark Malamura and Emile Saimovici would add late goals to round off a solid team effort by Croatia, as evidenced by their five different goal scorers on the night. Hoping they have hit their stride after that early set back, Croatia take on CCB LFC next weekend and, looking to bounce back and find their first win of the campaign, Coquitlam head across the bridge to Surrey to play Pegasus.
The last match on Friday night was at Newton Athletic and was an early season rematch of last season’s Provincial Cup final. On that occasion CCB were overwhelming 4-1 winners, earning a chance to represent BC at the Toyota National Championships in Newfoundland coming up in October. Prior to that though, they have to deal with the start of the VMSL season and were caught out resting some players ahead of Nationals in their surprise Opening Day loss to Guildford FASA. While they had some players return to the line up this week, it was still a much changed roster to the one that took the field in Nanaimo back in May. Rino’s were changed to and, in fact, found themselves facing off against a pair of players that had started the Provincial final in their colours with striker Kristian Yli-Hietanen and centreback Ellie Gindo making the switch to CCB over the summer. Yli-Hietanen would be straight into the action as well, as, after just ten minutes he had a good look to open the scoring on a feed from Boris Si, but his effort was saved by Rino’s 16-year-old goal keeper, Bennett McKay on his VMSL debut. Rino’s would then go on the front foot and a lung-bursting full pitch run from Omar Rostant saw him latch onto a nice pass from Yuto Kimura, only to be hauled down by CCB keeper Jasluv Brar. Brar was unable to atone for his foul on the ensuing penalty as Ismael Longo, giving Tigers the lead after 13 minutes. Rino’s were clearly buoyed by this early goal as they would surge on once play restarted. Within mere minutes Longo fed Kimura who had some deft touches inside the penalty area before unleashing a curling effort that clanged on the post. Just a few minute after than, Jude Barrow split the defense with a lovely ball to send Rino’s hero from last week’s 1-0 win over Croatia, Farivar Torabi, in on a breakaway, only for the assistants flag to go up somewhat contentiously. CCB were far from down and out however, as Yli-Hietanen found former Whitecap’s player Caleb Clarke who looked certain to have scored, only for McKay to deny CCB once more. Yli-Hietanen remained a thorn in his former team’s side throughout the first half and finally got rewarded as McKay did indeed prove fallible. Like his compatriot Brar at the other end of the pitch, he was judged to have committed a foul inside the area, bringing Yli Hietanen down on a breakaway; Clarke converted the penalty to knot the match at half time. Within five minutes of the restart, Rino’s got their noses back in front. It was Longo and Kimura combining once more, this time off of a cleverly executed free kick that left Kimura wide open to find the top corner. It would be far from smooth sailing the rest of the for Rino’s though as Danylo Smychenko received a second caution, and subsequent red card, in the 67th minute, leaving Tigers to battle with only 10 men the rest of the way. Naturally, this gave the impetus to CCB and Nic Morello thought he tied things up when he connected with a well placed corner kick, but his header crashed off the crossbar and went straight down, never crossing the line! In the end, CCB were left frustrated once more, despite another solid performance from midfielder Bobby Jhutty. They remain without a point through two matches and will next get a chance to try and change that when they take on Croatia next week. Rino’s will put their perfect start to the test against newly promoted Burnaby Selects White Eagles.
Weekend Kickoffs
Fen Burdett Mahon Turf – NVFC Norvan vs. West Van FC
Burnaby Lake West #4 – Burnaby Selects White Eagles vs.
Guildford FC FASA
Saturday saw a North Shore derby between hosts NVFC Norvan and local rivals West Van FC. Unfortunately, Norvan were not able to put up much resistance against a West Van side that are off to a great start to the season, following their last minute win over White Eagles on Opening Day. It took just ten minutes for West Van to open the scoring in this match when Dylan Bams got on the end of an early corner kick. Things leveled out from there until the second half when a nice cut back found Eoin Mccormack unmarked in front of goal and he made no mistake for his first goal of the season. Matthew Loveland then got in on the act to make it 3-0 before Norvan compounded their frustrations via an own goal with ten minutes remaining. Keeper Giancarlo Martino made a top drawer save, but unfortunately the rebound clipped a Norvan defender and went into the net anyway. Martino’s opposite number, Stephen Welle stopped everything that came his way to notch his first clean sheet of the season, as well as the only one in the VMSL’s top flight this weekend. West Van will look to continue their flying start next week at home at Ambleside when they welcome newly promoted Columbus while Norvan, who are without a point or a goal through two matches, are off to Burnaby to face Guildford FC FASA.
The final match of Week 2 took place on Sunday evening with newly promoted Burnaby Selects White Eagles hosting Guildford FC FASA at Burnaby Lake. FASA had stunned the league with their Opening Day win over Provincial Champions CCB LFC, while White Eagles had given a good account of themselves in a heartbreaking late loss to West Van. Things started brightly once more for FASA as after controlling the opening exchanges, Othmane Kabbadj drove into space and unleashed a shot from the edge of the penalty area. His effort took a deflection and fell to Said Bedouhene who saw an impending challenge from a White Eagles defender coming and cleverly shielded the ball to draw a penalty which Kabbadj who score to give FASA the lead. They had a chance to double their lead after 25 minutes when Kabbadj slipped in Brandon Bangambee, but his effort went the wrong side of the post from a FASA perspective. A minute later, however, FASA would concede a penalty of their own and Matlash Vladyslav would make no mistake in tying the game at 1-1. FASA had a chance to retake the lead just before the half hour mark when Opening Day hero Kalonza Kabongo received a lovely pass from Nassim Benazouz and he appeared set to repeat his theatrics from a week early, except that he did not hit this shot nearly as sweetly and it was easily collected. That was about as good as things would get on this night for FASA as the vaunted offense that helped lead White Eagles to promotion last season finally found its feet. Mladen Ljumovic scored his first of the season a Vladyslav added his second of the match to make it 3-1 at half time. In the second period the onslaught continued with Vladyslav capping off his hat trick, taking him to four goals on the season and an early lead in the Golden Boot race, before Vuk Erbez rounded out the scoring. Despite the score line, FASA goalkeeper Christian Zimmerman played well making some important stops both early in the match as well as late to keep the score from getting any further out of hand. White Eagles will hope their reignited offense will continue to fire when they visit Rino’s Tigers next week while FASA will look to bounce back against Norvan.
ELSEWHERE IN THE VMSL...
In Division 1, after scoring late last week, Rino’s Fury were on the receiving end of a late goal this time around when Ravi Tourrescored in injury time to ensure GN Sporting Club made it two wins from two. Richmond FC Hibernian continued their torrid start to the season, routing Club Inter EDC Burnaby B 6-0 thanks in large part to a hat trick from James Graham and a shutout fromColton Cook. A late goal from Nicholas Agnoli was not enough to spark a second consecutive comeback from 2-0 for NVFC Norvan Storm as this time around newly promoted Vancouver Strikers were able to hold onto their early lead. Fellow newly promoted side Westside Sierra also got their first win in Division 1, besting rivals Westside FC A 1-0 with Matias Guedes notching the only goal of that match. A 5-0 win for Burnaby Metro Athletic over Atletico Santos featuring a pair of goals from Tipo Contehrounded out the results from this weekend with Vancouver Greencaps and Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi not playing until Wednesday.
The Match of the Week for Week 3 is the red-hot Richmond FC Hibernian’s visit to Rino’s Fury. So far the newly management and structure at Richmond has worked a treat with them running out convincing winners in back to back matches to open the season. However, those matches came against a newly promoted side and the team that was just the right side of the relegation line last season. Now they will face an experienced Rino’s team that has played two cagey matches which required late goals to ultimately determine the outcome. This match is at Point Grey Turf on Sunday at 4pm.
In Masters Premier both West Van FC M and Croatia SC M earned their first wins of the season on Friday night. West Van got two goals from Paul Dailly, including one after Kyle Phillips had been sent off, on route to a 3-0 win over PCOV M-A who are off to Regina this week to represent BC at the Western National Championships. In a crazy game, FC Romania M-A thought that Carlos Andres Garcia had surely earned them a share of the points with a last minute equalizer only for Matt Mori to score in injury time to give Croatia the 5-4 win. Our Match of the Week Sunday saw SFC Pegasus M TU run out 4-1 winners over Westside FC M-A. Maninder Badyal for Pegasus and Jamie Williams for Westside exchanged first half goals before the Surrey side scored three more in the second half, including a second for Badyal. Finally, Club Inter EDC Burnaby M had to wait until Monday night to join Pegasus atop the early table, but a brace from Jordan Cifuentes ensured a 2-1 win away to NVFC Norvan M-A.
 

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The Match of the Week for Week 3 is ICSF Columbus, who are coming off a bye week, against Croatia. Columbus have had a full week to stew after losing their opener, narrowly, to PCOV 3-2. Meanwhile, Croatia have already had their bye back in Week 1 and come into this one on the back of that extraordinary 5-4 barnburner against Romania. Both of these teams look like they are playing rather open, attacking football at the minute, which will hopefully produce yet another high scoring affair. This match is at Burnaby Lake West #4 on Friday night at 9:10pm.
Across the rest of the league, Division 2A is shaping up to be a decent contest between Shaheen FC A and Metropolitan FC A who, after matching 3-0 wins over Snipers FC A and Coquitlam Metro Ford Lobos respectively. Both teams have yet to concede a goal, while Milad Mehrabi has already scored five for Shaheen. However, NK Hrvat A and Meraloma FC A might want to have a say before anyone is anointed heirs apparent to the 2A throne as they are also off to perfect starts through two weeks. Division 2B looks slightly more wide open with only recently relegated Binger’s Army and last season’s runners up FC Serbia United A on six points already, and their stats are not quite as lopsided as their cohort’s in the other pool. In the match we noted would be worth keeping an eye on last week, Shaheen FC M in Over 35 Division 1 did indeed defeat Bowen Falconetti FC M 3-2, thanks to two goals from Seyed Alavi Moghagam. This gives Shaheen an early lead atop the table as the only team to register two wins to start the season in that division. Moving up an age group, nobody in the Over 45 Premier Division was able to maintain a perfect start as that division sets up to be a good battle this year. In Division 3A only Siaron have a perfect two wins from two and they have done it in fair style as well to the tune of a combined 15-0 with both Adrian Di-iorio and Darren O’Keefe having already scored four goals each. However, one to keep an eye on this week is in Division 3B where there are four teams with 100% records. That number will be reduced this week though as two of those teams, Royal City FC and Formwerks Boutique FC are set to clash. That match is at Mercer Stadium on Saturday night at 8:10pm.
 

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VMSL Weekly Review Vol. 3

After Week 3, the early contenders are beginning to rise to the top of their respective VMSL divisions, with no more than three teams in any one division still holding perfect records …
In Premier, wins for SFC Pegasus and Rino’s Tigers leave them with nine points, while Provincial Champions CCB LFC United are the lone top flight side still without a point to their name. Meanwhile, Richmond FC Hibernian and GN Sporting remain perfect through three weeks of Division 1 play and the title races in the other divisions are beginning to take shape as well!
PREMIERE DIVISION RECAP
Friday Night Kickoffs
Newton Athletic Park #1 – SFC Pegasus vs. Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves
Newton Athletic Park #2 – BCT Rovers Hurricanes vs. Club Inter EDC Burnaby
Burnaby Lake West #3 – Croatia SC vs. CCB LFC United
Two of the league’s remaining perfect teams took to the pitch side by side out at Newton, under the lights on Friday night. On Field #1, bounce back side Pegasus, who had a dismal 2018-19 campaign by their standards, were looking to remain at the top of the early season VMSL Premier table. They got off to a dream start again when Sahil Sandhu banged in his third goal in as many games to open the scoring on 16 minutes. After a year away at local rivals CCB, Yassin Essa marked his return to Pegasus by getting on the scoresheet to extend the Pegasus lead and give the home side a 2-0 advantage heading into half time. Visitors Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves have yet to lead in a game this season and, for the second week in a row, trying to play their way back after falling behind proved impossible. Vito Iacobellis got his first of the season just after half time, though it took a very telling touch off a Pegasus defender. Metro Ford then thought they had the game tied when Joseph Powell struck the crossbar, but, alas, the ball stayed out. Powell along with fellow young gun Jaaden Mushtak, both brought up from Coquitlam’s U21 team, turned in strong performances for the Wolves. However, that was not enough on this night as Pegasus would add a third goal meaning Metro Ford remain in the early relegation battle, with just a lone point from their first three matches. They take on another struggling side, and currently the only team below them in the table, next week when they host CCB. For Pegasus they are now one of just two teams that have maintained a perfect record through the first three weeks of the season and they will put that record on the line once again when they host BCT Rovers Hurricanes next Friday.
BCT Rovers Hurricanes themselves came into the weekend with a perfect six points from six as well, however, on the pitch parallel to neighbours Pegasus at Newton Athletic, they could not replicate the result of their local rivals. Things began similarly enough as they too ran out to first half lead over visitors Club Inter EDC Burnaby. Harneiv Jagpal and Pavi Dhillon scored within two minutes of each other and Jason Gill added a third three minutes after that as Rovers raced out of the blocks. The game stagnated somewhat from that point, but, as the match reached the hour mark, the result looked inevitable. Inter were still struggling to get going after a 0-0 draw on Opening Day and a 2-1 loss last time out, while BCT were flying after a pair of wins. They looked certain to make it a third in a row, but a goal on 61 minutes from Rizal Ganief gave EDC a faint lifeline. When Alex Marello scored with just over 15 minutes left to play it was game on for a grandstand finish and, in true showman style, Inter striker Liam Miller scored in the dying moments to rescue a point for Chile. Hurricanes will certainly rue their wasted opportunity for three points after appearing to have the match in control and will look to take that frustration out on their next opponent, local rival and 100% record holders Pegasus. Credit must go to Inter though for a quality comeback performance and they will be hoping to carry that momentum forward into their match this coming weekend against another strong starter in West Van FC.
Moving from Surrey to Burnaby, Provincial Champions CCB LFC United were looking to finally get off the mark with a result away to VMSL Champions Croatia SC. Things started brightly for CCB when Dzenan Bezdrob found a route to goal, only to be denied on a partial breakaway. After Boris Si saw an early free kick saved, Milad Rahmati scored on practically CCB’s next trip down the field to give the Surrey side the lead inside 10 minutes. It was Bezdrob who had done the hard work out wide before finding Kristian Yli-Hietanen who got the ball to Rahmati for a composed finish. Yli-Hietanen served early notice that he was once more going to be a handful on this night, forcing a top save to keep the score at 1-0 just minutes after CCB got their lead. That lead was to be short lived though as a long range effort from Daniel Davidson had things knotted back up after 20 minutes. The teams exchanged chances over the course of the rest of the half, including a Croatia chance that struck the crossbar, but went into the break level. In the second period, Yli-Hietanen had a look to restore the CCB lead, but was denied and so too was Rylan Sangha when his long range effort was scrambled over the bar. Despite the CCB pressure, it would be Croatia who got the next goal when Emile Saimovici nodded home from the second phase of a corner kick. Yli-Hietanen would continue to get chances to respond for CCB but was stymied at every turn and when Saimovici added another off a clinical Croatia counter-attack it was lights out for CCB. Centreback Elie Gindo, had played well in the match, saw a late effort strike the post but it was to be a third straight loss to begin the year for CCB. Harry Lakhan had a strong performance in the centre of midfield for CCB and he will hope to carry that form into next week as CCB visit Coquitlam Metro Ford. Croatia, meanwhile, are away to Burnaby White Eagles.

Weekend Kickoffs
Ambleside D – West Van FC vs. ICSF Columbus
Burnaby Lake West #2 – Guildford FASA vs. NVFC Norvan
Trillium East – Rino’s Tigers vs. Burnaby Selects White Eagles
Saturday West Van settled into the cozy confines of their home at Ambleside looking to maintain their perfect start to the season. Michael Winter gave them the lead after 15 minutes against newly promoted Columbus who were seeking their first points of the season. Columbus had put in a pair of solid efforts over the first two weeks of the season, but had nothing to show for it, but they were hopeful that, if they continued to play well, they would eventually start seeing something tangible to go along with their performances. It was a case of the same old story for much of this match however, as, after falling behind early, the midfield duo of Stefano Bortolussi and Suhk Shergill were able to impose themselves on the match, taking control from West Van. The problem for Columbus has been turning that control into goal scoring and chances were once more few and far between on this night. Fortunately for the visitors, striker Adriano Negri was having another strong game up front and growing in confidence as the match wore on. Just after the hour mark, full back Anthony Quatrano, who was another player putting in a top performance for Columbus on this evening, went on a galloping run down the right wing before firing a cross to the back post. Midfielder Ylya Malek then acrobatically squared it to Negri who smashed home a volley to level things up. Columbus would go in search of a winning goal over the final 30 minutes, but, in the end, it was West Van who earned a chance to steal all three points at the death when they were awarded a last minute penalty kick. Columbus goalkeeper Kevin Monk played hero though, capping off a superb personal performance and ensuring the away side took their first point of the season home with them, while also dashing West Van’s hopes of a perfect season. West Van will try to get back to winning ways next week when they face Club Inter EDC and Columbus will look to keep their momentum going as they try for a first win back in Premier at home to Guildford FASA on Friday.
Another side seeking their first points of the season was NVFC Norvan as they welcomed Guildford FC FASA to the North Shore. Norvan were also seeking a first goal of the campaign. Fortunately for them, they did not have to wait long in this match as within five minutes of kickoff Yigal Bruk got behind the FASA back line and fired a shot towards the far post, his initial attempt was stopped, but last season’s leading scorer Blake Burgon was on hand to turn home the rebound. Norvan had a chance to double their advantage after twenty minutes but a nice save from FASA’s goalkeeper denied them from the penalty spot. They would get their second before half time, though, as Devan Delaney put in a nice diagonal through ball to Bruk who went from provider to scorer as he calmly slotted into the net. In the second half FASA came to life, sparked by the introduction of Brandon Bangambee. Bangambee was a handful for the Norvan defense and central to FASA’s revitalized attack. It looked certain that FASA would pull a goal back with 15 minutes left to play when a shot to the far post hit a leg in front of the goal and was deflected in the opposite direction. Norvan goalkeeper Gabriel Alvarado was already in motion to his left, diving to the far post and somehow managed to stop his momentum, change direction and dive back to the near post. Alvarado extended as far as he could and saved the ball on the goal line, taking a sure goal away from FASA. The save proved even more crucial as Bangambee did eventually get rewarded for all his effort with a late goal. After some tidy build up from FASA the ball was slipped behind the Norvan defenders for Bangambee to run onto and finish with one touch. Thanks to Alvarado’s heroics for Norvan though, it proved to be only a consolation marker as FASA will have to wait until at least next week to get back to winning ways when they visit Columbus. For Norvan, next week brings another home game as they will try to tame the perfect Rino’s Tigers.
Speaking of Rino’s Tigers, they were in action against newly promoted Burnaby Selects White Eagles down at Trillium on Saturday evening. After the teams exchanged early chances, the VMSL Premier division’s early scoring leader, Matlash Vladyslav, smashed in a free kick to give White Eagles the lead and to maintain his two goal cushion atop the Golden Boot race. Rino’s would have an answer before half time when Ismael Longo delivered a nicely weighted corner kick and captain Farivar Torabi nipped in at the front post to head it home. Torabi then turned provider as Rino’s nearly flipped the score line on its head before the break as he slipped Tomi Fagbongbe in behind the White Eagle’s defense. The keeper charged out to meet the Rino’s man, however, he could not collect the ball and, in the resulting scramble, Fagbongbe’s rebound was cleared off the line by a recovering defender, into the grateful arms of the Burnaby goalie. Rino’s had a further chance to take the lead, but Longo’s freekick attempt struck the post just before the half time whistle. In the second half, White Eagles were baying for a red card to Rino’s goalkeeper Lukas Strauts when he came way out of his area, almost to the halfway line, in order to challenge for a ball, however, the referee deemed that he did, in fact, play the ball, despite leaving the Burnaby attacker in a heap. As the game edged closer to the finish, there was to be one last chance. With under ten minutes remaining, Logan Hooper slipped in a ball for Torabi who timed his run to perfection and found himself on a breakaway where he made no mistake to give Rino’s the lead and the win. Tigers now have a perfect three wins from three and will look to make it four against Norvan while Burnaby take on Croatia at home Sunday night.
 
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ELSEWHERE IN THE VMSL...
In Division 1, there was yet another late goal in a match involving Rino’s Fury with Ahmed Ghallab scoring in the final minute for the Fury. Unfortunately for them, by then they were already four goals behind high flyers Richmond FC Hibernian who got a pair of goals from Sebastian Dzikowski to maintain their impressive, and perfect, start to the season and pick up a win in our Match of the Week. GN Sporting Club are the other team sitting atop the table after Navnoordeep Bains scored a late winner for them over Westside FC Sierra, who had last week’s hero Matias Guedes sent off in the loss. That match finished 3-2 after GN’s Dilpinder Gill and Sierra’s Pouria Maghali had exchanged earlier braces. Bryan Da Cruz and Gavin Lytton each had a hat-trick in the 8-0 win Vancouver Strikers registered over VAFC Santos, while all three of the other matches in the division finished 2-0. NVFC Norvan Storm, Westside FC A and Burnaby Metro Athletic came away with the points at the expense of Club Inter EDC Burnaby B, Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi and Vancouver Greencaps respectively.
The Match of the Week for Week 4 is at the bottom of the table where Club Inter EDC Burnaby B and VAFC Santos are still seeking their first points of the season. These are two of the three teams, along with Greencaps, who are yet to get going in Division 1 this season and, already, it looks like these points could potentially give one of these sides a leg up in the relegation battle. Neither team has been able to keep the ball out of their net, but, perhaps, that will spur on the offensive players on these teams. With the prospect of plenty of goals in this game, it may well wind up being a case of last goal wins. This match is at Burnaby Lake West #2 on Saturday evening at 5:10pm.
In Masters Premier, congratulations to PCOV M-A on representing the VMSL and BC Soccer at the Western Canadian Championships in Regina. Steve Frazao got the BC Boys off to a winning start when he was on target and keeper Tom Halfordturned aside everything that came his way in a 1-0 win over hosts YXE FC from Saskatchewan. The next day Sheu Fortunadosupplied the winner after Mike Gomes had opened the scoring and Jeff Hodgson would add an insurance marker to secure a 3-1 win over FC Rovers from Manitoba. This set up a pseudo final in the round robin tournament on Sunday between PCOV and Edmonton Scottish, representing Alberta, as Scottish had also already beaten Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The teams were level on points and on goal difference. However, Edmonton had an extra goal for, meaning that, in the event of a tie they would be crowned champions. Knowing only a win would suffice PCOV went after it right from the start and looked certain to score as they carried the play though the first half. PCOV had one cleared off the line by an Edmonton defender, but that is as close as they would come and when the Alberta side scored from a second half penalty and then a late free kick the BCers were forced to settle for the silver medal. Still, well done to PCOV O35s for a fantastic 2018-19 season! Back at home, with PCOV’s scheduled league game against NVFC Norvan M-A postponed, there were only three Masters Premier Matches this week. Goals were expected in the Match of the Week between ICSF Columbus M-A and Croatia SC M and goals were indeed delivered. Despite having Jamie Olson sent off for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity, Steve Deblasio potted a pair as Columbus came out on the right side of a 6-2 result. Azad Palani and Ryan Powell each had a brace as new side SFC Pegasus M TU are now the lone unbeaten side in the division after a 4-1 win over FC Romania M-A, while Westside FC M-A were 2-1 winners over Club Inter EDC Burnaby M.
The Match of the Week for Week 4 is Westside FC M-A hosting the new Western Canadian silver medalists, PCOV M-A. Having played plenty of football and travelled half way across the country and back, PCOV will need to shift gears quickly as their bid to return to the Westerns next season shifts into gear domestically. Through the first few weeks of the season, with the exception of Pegasus at the top and Romania and Norvan at the bottom, the rest of the division has been pretty much exchanging points from one week to the next. After how tight the battle to make the Provincial Cup was last season between these two sides, with PCOV ultimately prevailing via league cup performance and then winning the provincial tournament, these two teams will be keen to pocket the points against their rivals early in the season. This match is at Empire North on Sunday afternoon at 2:05pm.
Across the rest of the league, there was a seismic clash at the top of Division 2A when undefeated sides Metropolitan FC A and NK Hrvat put their perfect records on the line against each other. Goals from Sahejpal Nanua and Quinn Allen made the difference in a 2-1 win for Hrvat who will now look to take control of that group as they head to face the also unbeaten Meraloma FC A, who thrashed Westside FC Juniors 7-0 this week. Shaheen FC are the other unbeaten side in 2A after a 3-1 win over Vancouver Rangers, while in 2B they are down to just one perfect record. FC Serbia United A are alone on top with nine points after they too won 7-0, defeating Vancouver Greencaps B, and Bingers Army had to settle for a 0-0 against Richmond FC Olympics. In an odd twist, Binger’s have yet to be scored on this season, but still find themselves two points back in second place. There are no perfect records left in Masters Division 1 after Shaheen FC M were held to a 4-4 draw by Croatia SC Vatreniafter a wild match. Croatia took a 3-0 lead only for Meysam Soltani to score four straight goals. Thing were looking good for Shaheen to maintain their perfect record but a late red card to Babak Shahbazi opened the door for Allan Markoc to tie things up. Despite the dropped points, though, Shaheen remain in first place. Things are also heating up in Division 3 where unbeaten records are dwindling. A pair of goals from Jesse Gray in a 3-0 win ensured that it was Royal City FC maintaining their perfect record at the expense of Formwerks Boutique FC in a match we noted it would be worth keeping an eye on in 3B. This week it is worth keeping an eye on the action over in 3C where perfect Lobbans host undefeated Bosna. That match is at Hjorth Road #2 on Saturday night at 8:00pm.
 
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Nope, although the reports seem to be increasing delayed (last one came out on Friday). I can keep posting if people that don't have access to these are interested in seeing them here.
 
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VMSL Weekly Review Vol. 4

The first month of the VMSL season has drawn to a close and it is a similar story all across the league with teams at both the top and bottom of the standings in the various divisions beginning to see daylight between themselves and the rest of the pack…
In the top flight, Provincial Champions CCB LFC finally have their first win of the season, while Rino’s Tigers sit alone atop the VMSL Premier table with the last remaining perfect record in that division. Big names Coquitlam Metro Ford and Club Inter EDC Burnaby are mired at the bottom and risk losing touch with the sides who have gotten off to strong starts. Elsewhere, it was a heated weekend across the whole of the VMSL with a total of 13 red cards being issued. The board and the discipline committee would like to remind the membership that abuse of match officials will not be tolerated and players and staff acting inappropriately can expect extended suspensions.
PREMIER DIVISION RECAP
Friday Night Kickoffs
Burnaby Lake West #4 – ICSF Columbus vs. Guildford FC FASA
Burnaby Lake West #3 – Club Inter EDC Burnaby vs. West Van FC
Newton Athletic Park #1 – SFC Pegasus vs. BCT Rovers Hurricanes
Coquitlam Town Centre East #2 – Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves vs.
CCB LFC United
Both teams in the early kickoff at Burnaby Lake Friday night were hungry for much needed points. Newly promoted Columbus were still seeking a first win back in Premier, but had registered a first point after an impressive draw with West Van last week. FASA, meanwhile, were looking to get back to the winning form they showed on Opening Day after back to back losses since that victory. It was the home side who came out with a vengeance early in this one and Columbus got their first sight of goal after just five minutes. It was to prove a frustrating first half for them though, as, despite all their pressure, it was FASA who opened the scoring ten minute before half time through veteran Ramsey Alfantazi. Guildford carried that lead into the break, but shortly after the hour mark Columbus finally got their goal. Winger JB McEown charged down the left flank before cutting in and smashing the ball into the top corner to level the match. Unfortunately for Columbus, all the hard work they had put into tying things back up was undone less than ten minutes later when Ibrahima Basse restored the FASA lead. Columbus thought they had surely leveled things back up almost immediately after conceding when fullback Shayan Eftekhari drove a hard cross into the area and striker Adriano Negri connected perfectly, but the ball cannoned back out off the crossbar. As the game ticked into its final minutes, there was still plenty of action. First, just a minute before the end of regular time, Negri did in fact restore parity when he was able to force the ball over the line during a goalmouth scramble. You could have forgiven the teams and spectators if, at this point, they assumed everyone would be going home with a share of the points. However, when play resumed FASA’s Radwan Ali was shown his second yellow card of the match for delaying the restart of play after a ball had gone out for a throw-in. This incited a mass confrontation between the two groups of players and when all was said and done, Columbus midfielder Mark Baldisimo, who had, until this point, put in a top shift in the centre of the park along with Luigi Polisi, was also sent off for his reaction to the FASA player’s actions. The match still had an abundance of injury time to add on and in those extra minutes FASA’s top goal scorer Brandon Bangambee emerged a hero scoring not once, but twice to give Guildford all three points on the night. Now that they have rediscovered their winning touch, FASA will look to repeat the feat at home to Inter next week, while Columbus continue their search for a first win of the year away to 100% Rino’s Tigers.
Things across the parking lot at Burnaby Lake were much more straightforward, though there was still to be some late drama in this one as well. Rizal Ganief got the home side, Club Inter EDC Burnaby, off to a much needed perfect start when he had them in the lead inside five minutes. Inter were still riding the momentum from an impressive comeback from being 3-0 down in the second half away to BCT Rovers Hurricanes last week as they fought their way to a 3-3 draw and were now on the hunt for their first win of the season. After dropping their first points of the season in a 1-1 draw with Columbus in their last game, West Van were in no mood to be accommodating visitors and goals either side of half time from Eoin Mccormack and Paul Kelly put West Van on top. A further goal from Dylan Bams on the hour mark made it 3-1, however, Gilly Kyne would strike late for Inter to reduce the deficit back to just a single goal and set up a grandstand finish. There was to be no late comeback for Inter this week though, as Keith Jackson scored in injury time to make sure West Van did not let maximum points slip away in back to back weeks. West Van will be looking to maintain their undefeated record when they head back home to Ambleside next Saturday and welcome SFC Pegasus after the Surrey side lost their first match of the season this week. As for Inter, they will take their search for a first win into a date with Guildford FASA next Saturday night.
Heading out to Surrey, there was a local derby between BCT Rovers Hurricanes and SFC Pegasus. Adding to the always charged atmosphere when these teams meet was the fact that both had gotten off to strong starts to the season. Pegasus came into the match having won three matches from three while Rovers were also undefeated, with their only blemish being the draw they were forced to settle for last week against Inter after they let a 3-0 lead slip away. After a cagey and hard fought first half failed to produce any moments of magic, the second half saw the goals come tumbling out. Yassin Essa notched his second goal of the season, and second in as many weeks, to draw first blood for Pegasus after 53 minutes. Rovers tied the game under ten minutes later, but top scorer Sahil Sandhu recorded his fourth goal of the season to put Peg back in front and maintain an impressive streak that has seen him score in every match so far this season. This time the lead lasted only one minute before Cam Hundalslotted home for Rovers to tie the match back up and leave everything to play for over the final 20 minutes. In the end there was to be a winner and it came from BCT’s Ryan Dhillon as he gave Hurricanes their first lead of the match with only ten minutes to play. Unlike last week, and unlike their local rivals on this night, Rovers would not relinquish their lead as they held on to claim all three points and end any dreams that Pegasus may have had of a perfect season. Rovers will hope to remain unbeaten next week when they clash with winless, and last place, Coquitlam Metro Ford. Pegasus will try to get back to winning ways when they travel to Ambleside, however, that would require handing hosts West Van a first loss of the season.
Things were looking like they might be turning around for the struggling Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves as they got off to a dream start against CCB LFC who were without a point to their name through three weeks of the season. Juan Sanchez had the home team in front at Town Centre inside ten minutes and when Jules Chopin added his first of the season to double that lead before the half-hour mark Metro Ford were flying. It was surely feeling like a case of “here we go again” for Provincial Champions CCB, but, as Nationals approach, the BC representatives are beginning to get healthy and get players back in the lineup who can make a difference in these situations. Goalkeeper Luke O’Shea and defender Derrick Bassi were both back in the starting eleven for CCB after extended absences and their presence helped give CCB a foundation to build from in this match and, indeed, the Surrey side would show the type of form that made them champions as they came roaring back. Within minutes of falling two goals behind, Bobby Jhutty and Boris Si combined to set up Elie Gindo who got in alone and slotted into the bottom of the net to halve the deficit. Jhutty himself looked to have pulled CCB level when he uncorked a blistering effort just before half time only to be matched by a top save from Metro Ford keeper Dillan Fogliato. Instead the Surrey side would have to wait until just the other side of the break to equalize, though the goal did come in some style with Kristian Yli-Hietanen finally scoring his first of the season on a lovely fully volley following some great wing play from Dzenann Bezdrob that saw him beat no fewer than three players before crossing for Yli-Hietanen. It was a welcome relief for Yli-Hietanen who has been a livewire since joining CCB, but, until now, unable to translate that into goals. Five minutes later the comeback was fully completed as Jhutty whipped in a corner that Nic Morello met on the volley to give CCB the lead. Things were not all bright and happy on the evening for CCB however, as Yli-Hietanen would be issued a second yellow card just after the hour mark, leaving the visitors with ten men for the rest of the match and meaning Yli-Hietanen will miss at least the next match. Irrespective of the man power imbalance, it was CCB, not Coquitlam, who would find a route to goal as Bezdrob now had his turn to open his account for the season. Si and Gindo were the providers this time as they worked some nice passing before slipping Bezdrob in on a breakaway where he calmly rounded the keeper and tucked the ball into the net. Gindo would have a chance to add further to Metro Ford’s misery when he too found himself in clean on goal, but he was not able to come up with a finish to beat Fogliato this time around. Regardless, after banking their first three points of the campaign, CCB will be in much better spirits when they face Burnaby Selects White Eagles back at Newton next week. The loss, meanwhile, leaves Coquitlam without a win on the season and sees CCB vault them in the table, leaving them bottom of the league. It has been a frustrating start to the year and Metro Ford will look to start turning things around when they head away to BCT Rovers Hurricanes on Friday night.
Weekend Kickoffs
Fen Burdett Mahon Turf – NVFC Norvan vs. Rino’s Tigers
Burnaby Lake West #4 – Burnaby Selects White Eagles vs. Croatia SC
Following Pegasus losing the night before, Rino’s Tigers knew that a win on the North Shore against NVFC Norvan would leave them alone atop the table with the only perfect record remaining in the Premier Division. Whether it was this fact that motivated them, or something else that got them going, it did not matter because they came out of the gates flying and took the lead within minutes. Centreback Pascal Schmidt pinged an inch perfect through ball over the Norvan defenders and Omar Rostant timed his run perfectly to sprint onto the ball, finishing smartly with his first touch to give Rino’s an instant lead. After capturing their first win of the season last time out against FASA, Norvan gamely pushed back in this match and the chances were few and far between for most of the middle of the game. However, as has become somewhat of a trademark for Rino’s through the early stretch of the season, as the match entered its final act, the Tigers had another gear. Goalkeeper Lukas Strautswas on his toes to clear a Norvan attack and when the home side’s defenders misjudged the ball Tomi Fagbongbe was ready to pounce. He gathered the ball on the right wing before dancing his way into the area and unleashing a top strike in at the near post. A few minutes later Fagbongbe almost doubled his tally when he collected a pass from Daniel Pritchard at the top of the area, juked a defender and ripped a shot towards the far post, only to be denied by a desperation toe save. Along with their assists, defender Schmidt and goalkeeper Strauts were instrumental in keeping the clean sheet at the back for Rino’s who get set to try to maintain their perfect record against Columbus next week. Norvan, meanwhile, will try to get back to winning ways against Croatia.
Speaking of Croatia, they rounded out the weekend’s action on Sunday evening when they visited Burnaby Selects White Eagles. These two teams have a storied history as rivals from a bygone era, however, in truth, this match lacked much in the way of quality and paled in comparison to some of those old epic battles. A handful of yellow cards peppered an otherwise quiet match that was described by one of the teams as “a game where goalies from both teams made some key saves during the game, keeping the sheets clean.” It was Croatia’s Ante Boskovic and White Eagle’s Alin Alexoaie who were responsible for those key saves, with each man recording his first shutout of the season. Perhaps the reverse fixture will be more evocative of the titantic clashes of old between these sides. In the meantime, Croatia, as mentioned, host Norvan next week while White Eagles travel to CCB LFC.
 
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ELSEWHERE IN THE VMSL...
In Division 1, if you like late drama, this is the division for you as once again there was a late, match altering goal. This week it came from GN Sporting Club when Ravi Sandhu scored at the death to give them a 2-1 win over Westside FC A and keep their perfect start to the season alive. Richmond FC Hibernian also remain perfect as they got a hat trick from striker Sebastian Dzikowski to overcome an early deficit and defeat Westside FC Sierra 3-1. Giovanni Carida had a brace for Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi in their 3-1 win over Burnaby Metro Athletic to leave them three points back of the two unbeaten side and in a tie for third place with promoted side Vancouver Strikers who beat Vancouver Greencaps A 2-1. That loss leaves Greencaps in last place, still without a point, along with VAFC Santos A after they were beaten 8-1 by Club Inter EDC Burnaby B who got a hat trick from Andres Mauricio Rojas Rodriguez along with a brace from Benjamin Nwogu on route to their first win of the season in our Match of the Week. Also recoding their first win of the season was Rino’s Fury who beat Norvan Storm 3-0 on the back of Luke Birol posting a shutout.
The Match of the Week for Week 5 is the titanic top of the table clash between the two teams with perfect records in GN Sporting Club and Richmond FC Hibernian. Richmond have been overwhelming opponents with their goal scoring ability so far this season and have already shown that they are able to comeback even when they go behind early in a match. GN, on the other hand, have shown a flair for the dramatic through the first month of the campaign. After storming back from a 2-0 deficit in Week 1 to win comfortably, the Delta based side have registered scintillating late winners three weeks in a row. Will there be more drama in store this week? We shall see! This match is at Delsom Turf on Friday night at 9pm.
In Masters Premier, there was also late drama this week as SFC Pegasus M TU had their perfect record come under real threat from Croatia SC M. Croatia had the lead until Ryan Powell tied it with just over ten minutes to play and then found the winner right at the death. There was also plenty to keep the spectators interested out at Ambleside on Friday night as well where West Van FC M and ICSF Columbus M-A had their longtime rivalry on full display in a match that amassed nine yellow cards and a pair of late red cards. There was also some football played and Desmond Tachie recorded an early brace for West Van, but the home side would need an injury time winner from Ryan Glanville to ensure a 3-2 win. Things were much more straightforward for Club Inter EDC Burnaby M who got a shutout from Hugo Vasquez in a 3-0 win over FC Romania M-A. Our Match of the Week was on Sunday and the newly minted Western National Silver Medalists, PCOV M-A, returned to domestic action with an emphatic 6-2 win over Westside FC M-A thanks in part to a Steve Frazao hat trick.
The Match of the Week for Week 5 is Club Inter EDC getting their chance to topple the so-far-perfect SFC Pegasus. It has been four wins from four for new boys to the division Peg, though their record was heavily under siege by Croatia this past week. EDC currently have the second best record, sitting three points back of SFC at the top of the table. Inter will surely be keen to reel in the high flyers from Surrey, though if Pegasus can continue their impressive start, they will have an early six point lead in the title race. This match is at Burnaby Lake West #2 on Saturday afternoon at 3:20 pm.
Across the rest of the league, upsets abound at the top of Division 2. The last perfect record in 2B fell when Tim Sowerbyscored a pair, including the winner as Richmond FC Olympics defeated FC Serbia United. This allowed Binger’s Army to vault into top spot when they remained undefeated, beating 13th Legion 3-1, though they did allow their first goal against of the season. Across in 2A we are down to one remaining perfect record and that belongs to Meraloma FC A as they emerged 2-0 winners when they clashed with the, until then, also perfect NK Hrvat on Friday night. The upset in that group came when Shaheen FC Awere stunned 2-1 by newly promoted Marpole Tropics after taking a 1-0 lead. This leaves ‘Lomas all alone atop the 2A table. In Division 3, Siaron FC continue to set the pace in 3A as they made it four wins from four beating GFC Lions B 4-1 while, in 3C, Lobbans FC are the only remaining perfect side. Diego Gomez had a brace in their 3-0 win over Bosna SC in the match we said would be worth keeping an eye on last week. This result, combined with Bombastic FC A being held to a 1-1 draw by Euro FCmeans Lobbans are in control of 3C, but they travel to China Creek to play Bombastic this weekend. 3B continues to buck the trend however, as three teams remain holding 100% records. SFC Temple A and West Van FC B beat Metropolitan FC B and Formwerks Boutique FC 2-1 and 2-0 respectively, though the latter match featured four red cards between West Van and Formwerks. The other perfect team is Royal City FC who beat New West SC in a derby with some extra emotion. Last season these teams were part of the same club, “Royal City SC”, but restructuring and rebranding caused Royal City FC to decide to break off and become independent. Therefore, it was likely extra sweet when Jesse Gray and Aran Armutlu scored two goals in two minutes to give Royal City the win. The pick of the litter from another full slate of Masters matches was in Over 45 Premier where Westside FC M-B and South Delta FC exchanged the lead multiple times before a last minute goal from Craig Chiassongave Westside the 4-3 win in another match that featured a red card this weekend. Heading into this week’s action, the fixture worth keeping an eye on is in Division 2A where the new kings of the division, Meraloma FC A, will put their perfect record on the line against Metropolitan FC A who are hot on their heels, only three points back! That match is at Connaught Park on Saturday afternoon at 2pm.
 

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VMSL Weekly Review Vol. 5

October has started with a bang as there were plenty of goals across the VMSL, 274 to be exact, including 30 goals in the Premier Division alone!
The defending Premier Division Golden Boot winner, Nick Soolsma, finally got his first goals of the season, notching a hat trick in a win this week, while Provincial Champions CCB LFC only managed a draw in their final tune up before heading off to the Toyota National Championships in St. John’s, Newfoundland
PREMIER DIVISION RECAP
Friday Night Kickoffs
Burnaby Lake West #3 – Croatia SC vs. NVFC Norvan
Newton Athletic Park #2 – BCT Rovers Hurricanes vs. Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves
Newton Athletic Park #1 – CCB LFC United vs. Burnaby Selects White Eagles
With neither of the teams at Burnaby Lake on Friday having been able to collect all three points the previous week, it was perhaps no surprise that both Croatia and Norvan can out flying to start in this match. Norvan’s Yigal Bruk was denied by Croatia goalkeeper Ty Venhola on back to back breakaway chances inside ten minutes before it was Norvan keeper Mike Newton who was called into action to stop Croatia from scoring on a partial break of their own. It would be Croatia to break the deadlock though, as one of the home team’s newest signings, Farzad Rajab Ali, scored a wonderfully crafty goal to give his new side the lead. Undaunted by falling behind, Norvan got back on the front foot and midfielder Devon Gunenc, who had a strong game in the middle of the park along with Stew Elliot and Devon Delaney, looked to have the match tied just before the half hour mark as he had the ball in the net but was denied by the offside flag. Instead, Croatia got a highlight reel second goal from another newcomer, Mario Kovacevic right on the stroke of half time to double the home side’s lead. On the other side of the break, the match finally settled down with Croatia happy to absorb Norvan’s pressure as the visitors went looking for a route back into the game. Once more Bruk was doing yeoman’s work creating chances, but Venhola continued to have all the answers in the Croatia goal. As the game entered its dying minutes, controversy arose when Norvan felt that Venhola was guilty of a late tackle against a Norvan striker inside the penalty area. However, the referee did not award a penalty which did not sit well with the Norvan camp. Norvan did finally best Venhola in the final minute when Tony Paiero nodded in a long crossed ball, but there was not enough time for another goal and Croatia made off with all the spoils from this match. Croatia will look to continue their momentum next week when they visit newly promoted Columbus on the other side of the parking lot at Burnaby Lake, while Norvan will have an extra week to ruminate over this result as their match with CCB has been postponed while the Surrey team is away at Nationals.
Out at Newton, a pair of the Surrey sides welcomed opposition under the Friday night lights. Rovers Hurricanes were looking to stay unbeaten with last place Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves in for a visit. After going all of September without a goal, reigning Premier scoring champion Nick Soolsma had a first half brace to stake Rovers to a 2-0 lead at the break. Shaihak Sundraniadded a third with twenty minutes left to play before another former scoring champion, Carlo Basso, pulled one back for Coquitlam. It was only to be a minor consolation though, as Soolsma finished off his hat trick a minute later to heap more misery on a Metro Ford side that has now lost four straight matches. They will be back on the horse looking for their first win next week when promoted Burnaby Selects White Eagles travel to Coquitlam and Rovers Hurricanes will be putting their unbeaten record on the line against the also unbeaten West Van FC.
The other match at Newton had Provincial Champions, CCB LFC, hosting promoted Burnaby Selects White Eagles in their final match before leaving for St. John’s and the Toyota National Championships. After their first win of the season the previous week against Coquitlam, CCB were looking to build even more momentum before jetting off. It was looking good for the home side when Caleb Clarke struck the post after just 25 minutes, but, unfortunately for them, the Premier Division’s leading scorer, Matlash Vladyslav, had other ideas as he put the visitors in front just after the half hour mark. There was an immediate response from the BC champs, though, as Rylan Sangha struck just a minute later to restore parity after he picked up a pass from Boris Si and weaved his way through four White Eagles defenders before slotting it home. The home side looked to take the lead prior to half time when Si himself got a good look at goal, but the ball wound up in the side netting. CCB did eventually get their noses in front when, just after the break, Mamadi Camara launched a 30 yard through ball on a dime to Clarke who controlled it wonderfully on his chest and then beat a defender and the keeper to net his second goal of the season. White Eagles showed no quit, however, as they continued to battle, a trait that will serve them well as they look to get established at this level, and they were rewarded for their efforts when Daniel Perven scored on 65 minutes to tie the match at 2-2. Just when it was beginning to look like momentum might be swinging once more, Burnaby’s Vuk Erbez was sent off for receiving his second yellow card of the evening before the visitors could mount any serious push to claim all three points. CCB got to play with an extra man for the final 15 minutes of the match, but were unable to find a winning goal as White Eagles defended well and the teams split the points. In fact, despite having one man less, White Eagles carved out two counter attacking breakaways forcing CCB keeper Jasluv Brar to come up with a pair of big saves in order to ensure the home side got the single point! Burnaby are off to Coquitlam next week to play Metro Ford in a match that could really help them gain an early foothold on survival. CCB, of course, are headed to Newfoundland where they will represent the VMSL and BC and compete for the Challenge Trophy. They have won their first two games Wednesday against Manitoba representatives, FC Winnipeg Lions and Thursday against the hosts from Newfoundland, Holy Cross FC, both games 2 – 1. The VMSL and its members wish CCB LFC United the best of luck throughout the rest of the tournament!
Weekend Kickoffs
Ambleside D – West Van FC vs. SFC Pegasus
Trillium East – Rino’s Tigers vs. ICSF Columbus
Burnaby Lake West #2 – Guildford FC FASA vs. Club Inter EDC Burnaby
On Saturday, SFC Pegasus were looking to rebound from their first loss of the campaign against West Van FC at Ambleside. However, with only 11 players, it ended up being essentially one way traffic in this match after Colin Phillips opened the scoring in the first minute. Keith Jackson doubled the lead in short order before Michael Winter made in 3-0 before half time. Things would not get any better after the break for the visitors as Eoin Mccormack struck to increase West Van’s lead to four goal. It then went from bad to worse for Pegasus when upstart youth player Amitoj Arora, who has already scored twice for Peg on the season, was sent off for a second bookable offense followed by the veteran Chetan Jhooty also being sent off for picking up his second yellow of the match. To rub further salt in to wounds, Doug Joyce added one more goal for West Van a minute from time to make the final a 5-0 rout. West Van are still undefeated on the season, but they have a massive tilt next week away to Rovers Hurricanes, who have an identical record, on Friday night. As for Pegasus, they will try to shake this loss off and regroup in time for the visit of Guildford FC FASA next week.
The great start to the season for Rino’s Tigers continued as they made it five wins from five to begin the season when they beat Columbus at Trillium. Things were a bit slow to get going, but Tigers shifted into gear just before the half hour mark with two goals in two minutes from Tomi Fagbongbe and Ismael Longo. Newly promoted Columbus are still without a win in their return to Premier and Farivar Torabi put a win against Rino’s all but out of reach when he made it 3-0 ten minutes into the second half. Yuto Kimura got in on the act offensively as well and Lukas Strauts repelled any attempts Columbus did manage to muster to earn a clean sheet in the 4-0 win. The next test for perfect Rino’s is a date with Club Inter EDC Burnaby next weekend, meanwhile, Columbus will continue the quest for their first win of the year when they host Croatia.
Finally, Guildford FC FASA hosted winless Club Inter EDC Burnaby on Saturday night and Inter were out to make a statement in this one. Rizal Ganief had EDC in the lead after ten minutes, but things really heated up roughly ten minutes late when the two sides combined for three goals in five minutes as defending was at a premium. It began with Graham Smith doubling Inter’s lead before goalkeeper Andrew Fink was called for a foul and FASA were handed a lifeline back into the game. The veteran Ramsey Alfantazi made no mistake from the spot and scored his second goal in as many games to halve the deficit. Inter were in no mood to be trifled with, however, and promptly restored their two goal lead within a minute when Liam Miller scored to make it 3-1. Marco Visintin then banged in his second of the season to make it 4-1 before half time, however, there was yet more action with Todd Lucyk being sent off for Inter ahead of the break. Down to ten men for the entirety of the second half, it was perhaps slightly predictable that Inter might sit deeper to defend and they kept FASA at bay until there were less than 20 minutes remaining. Othmane Kabbadj, though, would make it 4-2 when FASA were awarded a second penalty of the match and this gave the home side the impetus to go out and look for a way back into this game against a depleted Burnaby team. Unfortunately for FASA, this left them exposed at the back and Inter took full advantage. Ganief added his second of the match while Tyler Rosenlund and Gilly Kyne both scored as well over the final ten minutes to give Inter an emphatic first win of the season. They will look to take this new found goal scoring touch into their match next week against the perfect Rino’s Tiger and FASA are headed out to Surrey to take on another side that lost by a five goal margin this week in Pegasus.
 

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Division 1 had a bevy of great matchups this weekend with the top six sides coming into the weekend all playing each other. It began on Friday night with our Match of the Week between the two sides off to perfect starts with four wins from four, GN Sporting Club and Richmond FC Hibernian, tangling out in North Delta. There was to be only one perfect team on this night, however, as Richmond ran out 3-0 winners thanks in part to a brace from Patrick Noda. On Saturday it was the two teams tied for third place locking horns and Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi came into the city and knocked off newly promoted Vancouver Strikers, overcoming an early Strikers goal from Gavin Lytton to win 2-1. Sunday night it was fifth against sixth when Westside FC A visited Burnaby Metro Athletic. The visiting Westside exploded for three goals in five minutes at the end of the first half on route to a 4-2 win that sees them vault over Burnaby in the table. In the other matches, Westside FC Sierra came back from two goals down against NVFC Norvan Storm to earn a 3-2 win and VAFC Santos appeared much improved against Rino’s Fury but they were unable to solve Fury keeper Luke Birol who made it back to back clean sheets in a 1-0 win courtesy of an early goal from Vikram Puri. Meanwhile, the match between Vancouver Greencaps and Club Inter EDC Burnaby B saw Inter take a two goal lead via a goal in each half from Andres Mauricio Rojas Rodriguez before Nicholas Barabash was sent off for Greencaps. The Vancouver side would get a late goal from David O’Connor, but it was not enough to salvage anything from this match as they remain without a point on the season.
The Match of the Week for Week 6 is an important mid-table battle between Vancouver Strikers and Burnaby Metro Athletic. Both sides are coming off tough losses against other top half sides last week and will be desperate for the points in order to keep pace with the teams in the promotion places. Gavin Lytton leads the way with five goals for strikers while Burnaby will be hoping that leading scorer Tipo Conteh can rediscover his goal scoring touch after he was held off the score sheet against Westside. This match is at Point Grey Turf on Sunday evening at 4pm.
In Masters Premier, the Western National silver medalists, PCOV M-A, have returned to VMSL action with a bang, putting up 10 goals in their two matches since returning to league play. This week they got two goals from Cale Simpson and Tom Halford had the shutout in a 4-0 win over FC Romania M-A. Elsewhere on Friday night, comebacks were the story as West Van FC M saw a goal by Jesse Fetterley cancelled out by a late Maarten Koorn marker to force them to settle for a 1-1 draw with Croatia SC M, while an early two goal lead for NVFC Norvan M-A evaporated on them when ICSF Columbus M-A scored four unanswered in the second half to post a 4-2 win. In our Match of the Week SFC Pegasus M TU kept their perfect record in tact with goals from Ryan Powell in each half staking them to a 2-0 win against Club Inter EDC Burnaby M. That result give Pegasus a six point lead atop the division, though they have played one more match than this week’s opponent, PCOV, who are tied for second place, and it also sees Powell increase his lead in the scoring race to four goals.
The Match of the Week for Week 6 is the aforementioned tilt between current league leaders SFC Pegasus and PCOV. Pegasus are six points up on PCOV, but the Portuguese team holds a game in hand, meaning that if they can be the first side to get a win over Peg then they will be able to pull level with them when they make up that extra game. Conversely, if the Surrey side can maintain their perfect record, they will take a strangle hold on the division, allowing them to enjoy their upcoming bye week knowing that they will return to action still in first place. This match is at Cloverdale Athletic #2 on Saturday night at 6:05pm.
Across the rest of the league, perfect records are falling by the wayside. Across all the Masters Division, outside of Premier, there are no longer any perfect teams after Westside FC M-B were beaten 4-1 by FC Romania M-B in Over 45 Premier and SFC Temple M TU were unable to find a goal, meaning they had to settle for a 0-0 draw with Caribbean All Stars in Over 45 Division 2. The final perfect record in Division two was also spoiled this weekend as Meraloma FC A went behind early to a Tomas Solanostrike and ultimately fell 2-1 to Metropolitan FC A in a match we noted was worth keeping an eye on. That made things at the top of 2A very tight once more as NK Hrvat joined those two sides on 12 points when they beat BCT Apna Tigers 1-0 thanks to a goal from Ivan Delgado and BCT having three players sent off in the match. One team unable to move back into line with the top teams was Shaheen FC A who dropped points in surprising fashion for the second week in a row. This time Hugo Lebihan pegged back an early goal by Shaheen’s Yousif Al-mero as Westside FC Juniors earned their first point of the season. That leaves Rino’s Bulldogs A as the only team without a point on that side of the division after they lost 1-0 to Marpole Tropics. In 2B the top two sides coming into the weekend, Binger’s Army and FC Serbia United A, faced each other and split the points in a 2-2 tie. This opened the door for newly promoted GFC Lions A to take over on top of the table when they came from behind to beat Richmond FC Olympics 2-1. Just like in 2A, 2B is down to only one remaining side without a point and it is Gastown FC who lost 1-0 to NVFC Sarjevo A after Kenechukwu Nwanah was sent off for Gastown with three minutes to go and Cesar Coral promptly took advantage of the extra man to fire Sarajevo to a win. The realm of the perfect records, however, remains Division 3 as there are still five sides who have collected maximum points across the three pools. In 3A the top dogs continue to be Siaron and they have now opened up an early five point lead on promotion following their 4-1 win over Musqeum Spurs in which Sean Collinsregistered a hat trick. In 3C Lobbans FC got a late goal from Puneet Aujla to give them a 2-1 win over Bombastic FC A, who had come into the weekend hot on their heels in second place, and maintain their perfect record. While, in 3B, there are still three perfect teams. SFC Temple A beat PCOV Benfica 3-1, Royal City FC defeated Metrolpolitan FC B 2-1 and West Van FC B smashed New West SC 6-0. Now, though, it is time for at least one of those perfect records to come to an end as this weekend will see Royal City hosting West Van in a match that is definitely worth keeping an eye on and one that could already have seismic effects on the promotion race. That match is at Mercer Stadium on Saturday night at 8:10pm.
 

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VMSL Weekly Review Vol. 6

WEEK 6
There is a new Men’s Open Amateur National Champion and it is the VMSL’s own CCB LFC United, who defended the title for BC in Newfoundland this week while, back at home, their Premier Division rivals pressed on and the lone remaining perfect record was shattered.
Rino’s Tigers saw their dream of a perfect Premier Division season dashed this week but they were not alone as Richmond FC Hibernian, in Division 1, and SFC Pegasus M TU, in Masters Premier, also saw their 100% records fall, along with a trio of Division 3 sides. All these results have served to narrow their respective title races as we pass the quarter pole on the season!
TOYOTA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS CHALLENGE TROPHY
This week CCB LFC United took on the mantle of Team British Columbia as they represented BC Soccer and the VMSL at the Toyota National Championships in St. John’s, Newfoundland. BC were the defending champions after the BCT Rovers Tigers (renamed this season BCT Rovers Hurricanes) had won the coveted Canada Soccer Challenge Cup last year. The BCT result meant that CCB were in a pool with teams from Manitoba (FC Winnipeg Lions), New Brunswick (Fredericton Picaroon Reds), Newfoundland (host team Holy Cross FC) and Alberta (2016 National Champions Edmonton Scottish SC). CCB began their tournament with a 2-1 win over Manitoba thanks to goals from Milad Mehrabi and Caleb Clarke and then followed that up with another 2-1 victory in a charged atmosphere over the hosts from Newfoundland. Mehrabi added his second of the tournament in that win while Boris Si also got his name on the score sheet. Meanwhile, Alberta were stunned by New Brunswick, allowing CCB the chance to take a strangle hold on the group when they faced New Brunswick the next day. The BCers did exactly that with an emphatic 4-0 win after yet another goal from Mehrabi, another goal from Clarke along with firsts of the competition for Milad Rahmati and Mamadi Camara. This meant that CCB needed only a tie in their final group game against Alberta and it was Clarke providing the crucial goal, his third of the tournament, in a 1-1 draw that booked CCB’s spot in the gold medal final.

In the final match CCB faced Ontario representatives Ottawa St. Anthony SC who had won all four of their group stage matches, having conceded only one goal. After a close fought first half, the teams went into the break scoreless and the tension was mounting. Finally, with just 25 minutes remaining, it was once again Clarke who played the hero. Bobby Jhutty found Yassin Essa making a run down the right wing with a ball into the corner. Essa crossed far stick to a wide open Mehrabi who squared it to Clarke with a beautiful volley and the Clarke volleyed it home near stick past a defender and the keeper from about the spot and BC took the lead. It was set to be a nervy finish with CCB holding on somewhat until, in the final minute of normal time, Ontario won a corner kick and made the ambitious choice to send the goalkeeper forward. CCB cleared the first ball and Essa sprinted away with the Ontario defenders and goalkeeper all scrambling to get back. Essa found Mehrabi just across midfield and, from the sideline 40 yards out, CCB’s number nine added another goal to his tournament tally before turning to celebrate with an ecstatic sideline. In a poignant move, CCB goalkeeper and captain Luke O’Shea, along with the rest of his teammates, dedicated the win to Brandon Bassi who had passed away tragically in a car crash just weeks after CCB won the Provincial Cup. O’Shea and the team invited Bassi’s father up to receive the Challenge Trophy alongside Brandon Bassi’s number five shirt. Congratulations to the team on representing the league and the Province admirably and we look forward to seeing you back on the local pitch when you resume VMSL play in the coming weeks!
PREMIER DIVISION RECAP
Friday Night Kickoffs
Burnaby Lake West #4 – ICSF Columbus vs. Croatia SC
Burnaby Lake West #3 – Club Inter EDC Burnaby vs. Rino’s Tigers
Coquitlam Town Centre East #2 – Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves vs.
Burnaby Selects White Eagles
Newton Athletic Park #2 – BCT Rovers Hurricanes vs. West Van FC
Newton Athletic Park #1 – SFC Pegasus vs. Guildford FC FASA
Due to CCB being off at Nationals, there were only five Premier Division matches this week and all five took place on Friday night. Last place Columbus thought they may well have something to be very thankful for this weekend when Tony Cuccia handed them a first minute lead as they continued their search for a first win in their return to the top flight against Croatia. Croatia SC Goalkeeper Ante Boskovic was called upon early as Croatia were on their heels to begin this match with Columbus carrying the play. A strong performance was needed from the shot stopper as he made some key saves that kept Columbus from inflicting further damage until the Croatia SC players could get their legs. The game shifted when Columbus defender Naoya Inoue conceded a penalty just after the 20 minute mark and David Zaharija made no mistake from twelve yards to score his first of the season for the visitors and tie the match. Ten minutes before half time Daniel Davidson found a way to goal and flipped the score line completely, getting on the end of a sharp cross to put Croatia ahead 2-1 at the break. In the second half Davidson needed just five minutes from the restart to double his tally on the night and make it a two goal advantage and Emile Saimovicithen pulled level with Davidson for the team lead on four goals when he made it 4-1 for Croatia and made the points all but safe with 20 minutes to play. Columbus would claw back a late consolation through Ylya Malek, but their search for a win goes on and it will stretch at least another full week because their match with the newly crowned National Champions, CCB, has been postponed to allow CCB time to recover following they five game east coast journey. Croatia, on the other hand, are right back at it as they look to continue to climb the table when they host Club Inter EDC Burnaby.
Speaking of Club Inter, they were the next team tasked with trying to dent the perfect record held by Rino’s Tigers. Rino’s had managed an immaculate five wins from five to begin the campaign coming into this match, a record that has seen them shoot to the top of the Premier Division standings. The match was a properly tight affair through the first half with chances at a premium. Just when things appeared destined to head into the break level though, Gilly Kane popped up to score his third of the season, and third in as many games, to give Inter the lead at the interval. Rino’s regrouped at half time and came out focused which led to their leading scorer’s Farivar Torabi, levelling things up with his fifth of the season just before the hour mark. It was all to play for over the last half hour and Rino’s needed to find a goal if they hoped to maintain their perfect start to the season. Instead, however, it was Inter’s Rizal Ganief answering Torabi by scoring his fifth of the season as well to nose EDC back in front. Despite a late push from Rino’s, they were unable to salvage a point, never mind all three, and succumbed to their first loss of the season. This leaves them with only a narrow lead atop a now very compressed top half of the Premier table. They will try to get back to winning ways this week against SFC Pegasus while Inter look to continue their two game winning streak when they face Croatia.
Over in Coquitlam, Metro Ford were relieved to finally earn they first win of the season, and they did so emphatically. A bright start staked the home side to a lead over newly promoted Burnaby White Eagles with Jules Chopin and Joseph Powell scoring inside the first half hour to make it 2-0 for Coquitlam. White Eagles have not looked overmatched since stepping up a division and, in particular, not their leading scorer Matlash Vladyslav. He notched his seventh goal of the season to halve the deficit before adding his eight right on the stroke of half time to ensure the sides went into the break level and to continue to extend his lead atop the Premier Division goal scoring charts. There were probably a few in the Metro Ford half time team talk with an all too familiar sinking feeling after the way previous matches had ended after an early lead has slipped away. Fortunately for Coquitlam, they emerged for the second half with purpose and retook their lead through Andre Pietramala, who scored after just seven minutes. It was then the veteran Carlo Basso taking over the limelight to secure a much needed win as he netted a brace in under ten minutes to secure the result. While it was a great with for Metro Ford, it was marred slightly when Joseph Powell picked up a second yellow card of the match, forcing Coquitlam to play the final ten or so minutes with only 10 men and ruling Powell out of their next match against undefeated West Van. For White Eagles, they will look to earn a first win in five attempts when they host Norvan in an important match in the bottom half of the table.
Across the bridge in Surrey, the sides that share their home complex with CCB were busy in their absence. Rovers Hurricanes welcomed West Van to Newton with both teams undefeated to this point of the season. After 90 minutes, the two teams would remain undefeated as the sides split the points up for grabs in this match. Defending Golden Boot winner Nick Soolsma scored in back to back matches to give Rovers a first half lead and bring his total to four on the season as he looks to climb the scoring charts after beginning the year without a goal in his first four games. That lead would stand into the second half in what was a close affair, with both teams clearly knowing the significance of these points, even so early in the season. However, just before the hour mark last season’s Imperial Cup MVP for West Van, Shane Howard, was on target to level things up. That is how the match finished and this result, in conjunction with Rino’s loss, has made the top of the table a tight place to be with only three points separating first and fifth place. Both these sides remain tied for second place, one point behind first place Rino’s. They will look to maintain or improve that standing when West Van host Coquitlam and Rovers play FASA next weekend.
The team currently occupying that fifth place spot is SFC Pegasus and after opening the season with three wins on the spin, Pegasus had now lost back to back matches. They were trying to get back to winning ways against Guildford FC FASA who themselves were looking to respond after a lopsided loss to Inter last time out. It was FASA who got off to the start they wanted, with Ibrahima Basse scoring fifteen minutes in to give the visitors the lead. They carried that lead into the second half, however, things soon began to unravel. Paul Bahia levelled the match less than five minutes after the restart when he scored his first goal since Opening Day and Pegasus were on the front foot from then on. With just ten minutes remaining Said Bedouhene was sent off when he received a second yellow card for an ill-timed challenge in the area and Javid Kahn stepped to calmly slot things away, notching his first goal of the season in the process. Down to ten men, and with limited time to launch a comeback, Guildford were left frustrated and that emotion showed when Nassim Banzouz was also issued a second yellow, and subsequent red, card deep into injury time. FASA will have to hit the reset button and start fresh this week when they host unbeaten Rover Hurricanes on Friday, while Pegasus have a chance to really stir things up at the top with a visit to Trillium to face Rino’s Tigers.
 

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Division 1 saw its lone remaining perfect team stymied as well, although Richmond FC Hibernian are still unbeaten following a draw with Westside FC A. The division’s top goal scorer, Sebastian Dzikowski, gave Richmond and early lead, but his marker was cancelled out by Justin Lee just before halftime and that was the sum total of the scoring on the night. That result allowed chasers GN Sporting Club and Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi to close the gap at the top of the table to just a single point. GN emerged as 3-2 winners over NVFC Norvan Storm in a tense affair that saw Norvan nearly erase a three goal deficit and tempers flare late in the match, resulting in both sides having a man sent off. Meanwhile, Coquitlam narrowly edged past Club Inter EDC Burnaby B with a 1-0 win on a goal from Andrew Peat while Matthew Krivak kept a clean sheet at the back. It was the same score line when Burnaby Metro Athletic defeated Vancouver Strikers in our Match of the Week thanks to a Shamim Oboudiyat goal and Alizera Afshar earning a shutout. Strikers did not help their cause when Paul Viveiros collected a pair of yellow cards in the first half and they were forced to play the majority of the match with only ten players. There was one more 1-0 this week and it was Westside FC Sierra beating bottom of the table VAFC Santos, who have lost by that score in consecutive weeks; Brian Stewart had the goal in that match. Earlier in the week a Wednesday night affair earned Vancouver Greencaps their first point of the season when they played Rino’s Fury to a 2-2 draw. Despite finally getting off the mark for the season, Greencaps might be slightly upset that they did not manage to earn all three points after Dan Nea staked them to a 2-0 first half lead.
The Match of the Week for Week 7 is Vancouver Strikers hosting Westside FC A, with both teams looking to keep pace with the battle at the top of the table. Most of the other teams near the top of the standings have matches against teams in the bottom half, meaning that it will be crucial for both Westside and Strikers to pocket all the points and ensure they do not lose any ground. The match is also a proper geographical derby with the two sides operating within the same catchment. This match is at Jericho Turf on Saturday evening at 4pm.
In Masters Premier, Croatia SC M earned a 2-0 win over Club Inter EDC Burnaby M on Friday night. Maarten Koorn potted a goal in the first half and that score held until Taki Vohalis notched Croatia’s second goal with just over a quarter of an hour remaining. Our Match of the Week was between the division’s new boys, SFC Pegasus M TU and PCOV M-a. Pegasus dropped their first points of the season in a 2-2 draw. A frantic first half saw PCOV take the lead when Mike Gomes slotted home a penalty in the tenth minute. However, around the half hour mark the match really kicked into gear as Peg’s Ryan Powell scored twice (either side of PCOV having GK Mike Halford sent off) to give SFC the lead. Despite the red card, PCOV’s Steve Frazaowould level things back up right on the stroke of half time to make it 2-2 at the break. After all the action in the first half, it would not have been crazy to think that the fireworks would continue when play resumed. Instead, though, the game tightened up and there was no further scoring, leaving the teams to split the points.
The Match of the Week for Week 7 is the battle between second place PCOV and third place Club Inter EDC. The teams are separated by just a single point in the table, however, perhaps more important is the fact that SFC Pegasus have a bye this week, meaning either of these teams will have a chance to close the gap at the top of the division with a win. This match is at Burnaby Lake West #2 on Saturday night at 7:00pm.
Across the rest of the league, there were more big time results at the top of the Division 2 pools this weekend. In 2A, leaders Meraloma FC A recovered from their first loss of the season with an emphatic 9-0 win over BCT Apna Tigers while the side that beat them to pull level at the top, Metropolitan FC A, failed to consolidate their position when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Snipers FC A. In fact, they needed a pair of late goals just to rescue a point! Shaheen FC A further shook up the top of the table bouncing back from a pair of surprise results against lower half opposition when Meysam Soltani scored a brace over NK Hrvatto vault over their opponents into second place. In 2B, it was newly promoted GFC Lions A catching the eye as they beat FC Serbia United A 4-3 in a match that saw the lions blow a 3-0 lead before being rescued by a Daniel James injury time winner. That win gives them a one point lead over Binger’s Army who beat Twin Arrows 5-1 and remain the lone unbeaten side across the whole division. Hot on their heels though are Vancouver Harps FC A and Strathcona United FC after their wins over Gastown FC and Richmond FC Olympics respectively. There is quite a battle heating up in the U21 Division this season, with three sides locked in an intense title fight and a fourth team knocking on the door. Provincial Champions Faly Academy Soccer U21 came into the weekend looking to increase their hold on top spot, but, instead, they were handed their first loss of the season to the tune of 3-0 by BCT Rovers Hurricanes U21. Gavin Sandhu had a late brace in that match to make the points safe after an early goal from Joban Dhami. This moves Hurricanes into touching distance of the top three as they now have ten points. Clubmates BCT Lions U21 are another of the teams they are chasing, as Lions climbed to 11 points with a 3-2 win over Coquitlam Metro Ford Young Boys. However, the idle ICSF Columbus FC Juniors are in the driver’s seat, as they too have 11 points, but also hold a game in hand. Finally, we turn to the lone remaining perfect teams in the VMSL and they reside in Division 3. Siaron are well in control of 3A after notching their sixth straight win to start the year. This week’s victims were Bombastic FC B, who were beaten 3-1, allowing Siaron to enjoy a five point cushion atop that pool. In the match we said would be worth keeping an eye on, West Van FC B maintained their perfect record at the expense of Royal City FC and their 100% start. The Ambleside based team raced out to a 3-0 lead before Royal City pulled one back before half time. There was no further scoring though, and West Van got a further boost when SFC Temple A were held to a 1-1 draw by South Delta Royals shattering Temple’s perfect record and leaving West Van alone atop the 3B table. Lobbans FC were the last perfect side in 3C, but could only manage a 2-2 draw with FC Ria, though they do remain in first place in that pool. The match worth keeping an eye on this week comes from 2B where the top two sides, GFC Lions and Bingers Army clash in a first place showdown. That match is at Trillium East on Friday night at 8:05pm.
 

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VMSL Weekly Review Vol. 7

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WEEK 7
The top four sides in the VMSL Premier Division all held their nerve and earned wins this weekend against teams below them in the table leaving just two points separating the teams and setting up a fascinating fortnight of top of the table tilts to come, beginning this Friday!
There was also a crucial win at the bottom of the Premier table for Norvan to help lift them out of the relegation zone as that battle begins to take shape. Below Premier, the promotion battles in Division 1 and Division 2 both narrowed as well with the temperature beginning to rise now that the season is one-third of the way to completion.
PREMIER DIVISION RECAP
Friday Night Kickoffs
Burnaby Lake West #3 – Guildford FC FASA vs. BCT Rovers Hurricanes
Ambleside D – West Van FC vs. Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves
Trillium East – Rino’s Tigers vs. SFC Pegasus
The first of the top four teams to play this weekend was BCT Rovers Hurricanes who took their show on the road to face Guildford FC FASA on Friday night. The home side were looking to get back on track after losing two games on the spin and the breaks seemed to be going their way early when they took the lead in less than ten minutes thanks to an unfortunate own goal by Hurricanes. FASA then remained resolute defensively, repelling Hurricanes and their high powered offense in spite of sustained pressure, but just after the half hour mark Harneiv Jagpal leveled the match for the visitors. Guildford was hoping to get to half time and regroup, however, just minutes before the interval Nick Soolsma popped up to give Hurricanes the lead going into the break. Just over ten minutes into the second half Soolma added his second of the match to double BCT’s lead and put FASA firmly on the back foot. On the hour mark Shaihak Sundrani gave BCT a stranglehold on the match when he made it 4-1 before Soolsma rounded out the scoring by netting his third of the night. That made it goals in three straight matches, and a hat trick in two of his last three, for last season’s Golden Boot winner as he now finds himself up at second on this season’s scoring chart. For Guildford they will try to bump their slump once again this week when they face another top of the table opponent in West Van while Hurricanes have a titanic showdown to prepare for with first place Rino’s as they look to vault over them into top spot.
Speaking of West Van, they too picked up maximum points when traditional rivals Coquitlam traveled to Ambleside on Saturday. These teams have combined for some memorable fixtures over the years; however, this particular encounter was rather one-sided. After picking up their first win of the season last time out and moving out of the relegation places, Metro Ford have immediately found themselves back among the bottom sides in the VMSL’s top flight. Things began to go wrong for the visitors on half an hour when Paul Kelly opened the scoring for West Van and then got worse just before the hour mark after Eoin Mccormack double that lead. Michael Winter removed any possibility of a comeback when he added a third goal for West Van with fifteen minutes remaining, though there was not to be much of a threat to the result as Mitch McCaw saw off everything Coquitlam could muster in attack to earn the clean sheet. Metro Ford now go into this week’s match against Norvan knowing that it represents a massive three points in the relegation battle. At the other end of the table West Van will welcome FASA as they look to make sure they are in a position to take advantage of at least one of Rovers or Rino’s dropping points.
First place Rino’s Tigers were able to maintain their hold on top spot going into a pair of tests against the teams right on their heels over the next two weeks. That being said, SFC Pegasus came to Trillium just three points back of Rino’s themselves, so this match hardly set up as a walk in the park for the home side. Fortunately for Rino’s, they got off to the perfect start when leading scorer Farivar Torabi had them ahead after just ten minutes. From here, though, the match became the battle that both teams were expecting with chances at a premium for the next hour. Emotions were running high as well with plenty of tough tackling and five yellow cards being issued between the sides. It was one of those tackles that finally opened the door for Pegasus as they were awarded a penalty kick and Javid Khan stepped up to level the match making it all to play for over the final twenty minutes. Having been pegged back, Rino’s were able to get back on the front foot with Daniel Johnson restoring their lead just eight minutes later. A second caution soon after for Peg’s Jora Saran meant that it would now be an uphill battle for the visitors to tie the match a second time and, sure enough, it was instead Rino’s who scored to make the points safe via Torabi with his second goal of the match. It was a crucial result for Rino’s going into their match this week against second place Hurricanes. Meanwhile, Pegasus head back home to face fourth place Croatia, whom they now trail by four points in the table.


Super Sunday Kickoffs
Burnaby Lake West #1 – Croatia SC vs. Club Inter EDC Burnaby
Burnaby Lake West #2 – Burnaby Selects White Eagles vs. NVFC Norvan
Moving on to Sunday, Croatia SC welcomed Club Inter EDC Burnaby for an early kickoff at Burnaby lake. Perhaps the noon start still had some of the Croatia players thinking of their beds because it was Inter who began the game the brighter. The visitors were flying for the first half hour with Croatia struggling to keep up and only a top performance and a handful of sharp saves from Croatia goalkeeper Ty Venhola staving off the Inter attack. Then, against the flow of play, Croatia’s Daniel Davidson got loose and scored a fantastic goal to give the home side the lead right before half time. Croatia got their legs under them for the second half and within ten minutes of the restart Davidson scored another highlight reel worthy goal to double the lead. Inter pushed for a way back into the match, but it was not to be their day as Theo Lorenz sealed the result with Croatia’s third goal of the match with fifteen minutes to play. Inter were handed the chance for a late consolation via a penalty kick, however, Venhola proved impossible to beat once more as he denied EDC and held on for his shutout.
Finally, there was a big match at the bottom of the table later on Sunday night. NVFC Norvan came into the match sitting second bottom and occupying one of the two relegation places with only three points through five matches. The North Shore side did have an extra week to prepare for this match though, as their game against CCB last weekend was postponed while the Provincial Champions were away at Nationals. However, that extra time off may have left Norvan with a bit of rust as they were behind almost straight away to a goal from Mladen Ljumovic for Burnaby Selects White Eagles. Norvan have struggled to score goals through the early part of the season, with the fewest goals for of any team in the top flight. On this occasion, at least for one night, those problems would be solved by Yigal Bruk. Ten minutes after falling behind, Bruk had Norvan level when he glanced a header from a Devon Gunenc cross in at the near post. A further ten minutes after that he had the home side in front when Brandon Torresan, who also had a strong showing on the night himself, timed a pass perfectly and slipped Bruk in behind the White Eagle’s defense and he made no mistake with the finish. At the beginning of the second half Burnaby took the initiative as they looked to ensure Norvan remained below them in the table. The home team pressed and pressed but were kept at bay by some quality saves by Norvan goalkeeper Gabriel Alvarado only for Bruk to strike again and complete his hat trick. This time it was Connor Dennehy who created the chance with a lovely cross to the back post where Torresan was on hand to lay it into Bruk’s path with one touch and the man in form could not miss. Burnaby had a response through their leading scorer as Matlash Vladyslav scored his league leading eighth goal of the season in rapid response to make it just a one goal lead again for Norvan and give Burnaby a route back into the match. While White Eagles looked for their equalizer, they were living dangerously at the back which allowed Bruk to continue with his exploits. First, it looked as though he was going to be clean through on a breakaway only for a Burnaby player to pull him back. Blake Burgon reacted quickly and gathered the loose ball before heading in on goal himself, but he put his effort off target. Then, Bruk was tripped on the edge of the penalty area which left Norvan with a freekick in a dangerous position, but the ensuing shot clattered the frame of the goal. Bruk would continue to persist with his attack and eventually he did salt the game away in the dying minutes when Danny Shorohov got him the ball and Bruk beat the covering defender before scoring his fourth goal of the match. The win was massively important for Norvan as it lifted them to seventh place ahead of another crucial bottom half encounter this week with Coquitlam. Burnaby have been slowly falling down the table and will be hoping to stop that bleeding when they face last place Columbus in a battle of newly promoted teams that could also have far ranging relegation implications.
 

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Division 1 saw the top six teams coming into the weekend to play the bottom six sides and while there were no upsets, there were some eye-catching results. It started Friday night when second place GN Sporting Club surrendered the 1-0 lead they had taken through Sunjai Sahota when Silvio Freitas scored for last place VAFC Santos and they held on for their first point of the season. There was a similar story between Vancouver Greencaps and Westside FC Sierra. Pablo Clinaz scored to give Sierra the lead, only to have it cancelled out by Patrick Fitzgerald for Greencaps who, after earning their first point of the season last week, immediately picked up a second; meanwhile Clinaz ended the match with a late red card. There was one further draw as Rino’s Fury saw their match finish 2-2 for the second week running, this time against Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi. There was a straightforward win for league leaders Richmond FC Hibernian who beat NVFC Norvan Storm 6-0 with Zach Karmel scoring a hat trick and the division’s leading scorer, Sebastian Dzikowski, adding a late tally. Burnaby Metro Athletic also picked up a win, beating Club Inter EDC Burnaby B 2-0 in a Burnaby derby. Our Match of the Week certainly lived up to its billing as Westside FC Aand Vancouver Strikers put on quite the show in their clash at Jericho on Saturday. Justin Lee for Westside and Will McKnight for Strikers both had braces and the lead changed on three occasions but, in the end, it was Westside who took home all three points winning 5-4 in a wild one!
The Match of the Week for Week 8 is the only clash between two sides both in the top half of the table this weekend with Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi hosting Westside FC Sierra. Both teams are coming off disappointing draws against teams from the bottom half last time out and will be hoping to get straight back to winning ways. Lupi still sit second thanks to GN also being held to a surprising draw, but the field has closed ground on them. Sierra, meanwhile, are at risk of falling out of the top half unless they come away with maximum points this week. This match is at Charles Best Secondary Turf on Sunday night at 6pm.
In Masters Premier, we were back to a full schedule of matches with all the teams in action, save for leaders SFC Pegasus M TUwho had their bye week. On Friday night West Van FC M fought back from 1-0 down to beat old rivals Westside FC M-A 2-1 thanks to goals from Corey Birza and Collin Philips. Meanwhile, a Blake Robertson brace and a shutout performance fromAaron Young in goal paved the way for ICSF Columbus FC M-A to register a 4-0 win over FC Romania M-A. Just like in Division 1, our Match of the Week in Masters Premier also lived up to the billing. When Yousef Aichour scored for PCOV M-A with ten minutes remaining to make it 2-2, it is unlikely that many would have predicted there would be three more goals before the end of this match. Habil Otieno restored the lead for Club Inter EDC Burnaby M a few minutes later and then Jordan Cifuentescompleted his hat trick to make it 4-2, but there was still time for Jay Dunnett to pull a goal back and set up a grandstand finish. Club Inter would hold on though in another fantastic game. Late on Monday night NVFC Norvan M-A were denied their first points of the Maarten Koorn and Angus Burke scored for Croatia SC M in a 2-1 win.
The Match of the Week for Week 8 is a battle between the sides tied for third place when Croatia host PCOV. Both teams sit level on 10 points through six matches played. Croatia come into this game on the back of a three match unbeaten run while PCOV are looking to bounce back from that close loss to Inter that ended their own three game unbeaten streak. This match is at Empire North on Friday night at 8:05pm.
Across the rest of the league, things remain incredibly tight in both of the Division 2 promotion races. In 2A seven teams are within five points of top spot after leaders Meraloma FC A were held to a 1-1 draw by one of those sides in hot pursuit, Shaheen FC A. It is just as tight across in 2B where it is five teams separated by five point. The match we said would be worth keeping an eye on between Binger’s Army and leaders GFC United Lions A finished after GFC’s Tolani Olowu had his goal cancelled out by the Army’s Aaron Arnold. Binger’s remain undefeated, but drop to third after Sam O’Connor had a brace to lift Vancouver Harps FC A to a 4-1 win over Vancouver Greencaps B and move them to the top of the table. Other contenders FC Serbia United A and Strathcona United A split the points with a 1-1 draw. In the lower Masters Divisions, teams are beginning to pull away at the top. In Over 45 Division 1 it is Croatia SC Vatreni M-B holding a comfortable four point lead after a last minute winner from Joseph Stancic gave them a 3-2 win over second place Arya FC. In Over 45 Division 2 it is SFC Temple M-B who now have a commanding seven point lead atop the table after a 5-1 win over West Van FC Maplewood. For the leaders in Over 35 Divisions 1 and 2, it is more of two horse race, though some teams below hold games in hand. In Div. 2 it is Coquitlam Metro Ford Shooters who have broken away from the pack and could not be caught despite having a bye this week, though FC Unicorns Mare within a point after a goal from Tome Jozic gave them a 1-0 win over New West FC M-A. While in Div. 1 it is Vancouver Harps FC M and Rino’s Bulldogs M-A with some separation through a third of the season after wins over Shaheen FC M and Bowen Falconetti FC M respectively. The one division where things are still relatively tight however, is Over 45 Premier and there is a match there worth keeping an eye on this weekend. ICSF Columbus FC M-B, PCOV M-B and Westside FC M-B are all within four points of each other at the top, all with a different number of games played so far this year. Two of these well established, long-time VMSL rivals, PCOV and Westside, lock horns this weekend, with both sides trying to close the gap on Columbus. That match is at Hillcrest South East on Sunday morning at 11:00am.
 

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VMSL Weekly Review Vol. 8

WEEK 8
There are new leaders at the top of the VMSL Premier Division for the first time
this season after this week’s results saw not one, but two sides vault into a share
for top spot.
BCT Rovers Tigers and West Van FC now lead the way in the VMSL’s top division and are two of only ten remaining teams across the entire league with unbeaten records. Of those sides, the lone remaining perfect team is Division 3A leader Siaron who have an immaculate eight wins from eight! In other news, as announced prior to the beginning of the season, clean sheets are being tracked this year and teams can now see the shutouts registered by their goalkeepers, as well as access the divisional shutout leaderboards, via their team pages and the standings page.
PREMIER DIVISION RECAP
Friday Night Kickoffs
Coquitlam Town Centre East #2 – Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves vs. NVFC Norvan
Burnaby Lake West #4 – ICSF Columbus FC vs. Burnaby Selects White Eagles
Burnaby Lake West #3 – Club Inter EDC Burnaby vs. CCB LFC United
There were some massive points at the bottom of the table up for grabs in Coquitlam and Burnaby on Friday night. Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves welcomed NVFC Norvan to Town Centre and after Norvan’s win last week, they had climbed over Coquitlam, leaving Metro Ford second bottom and in the relegation zone. A win for the home side this week would see the sides switch places once more and the play in a tight first half emphasized that the teams knew just exactly how valuable these points were in the short term and in the long term. The pressure was building and just before half time it was released when Norvan scored a pair of goals in quick succession. First Blake Burgon picked out an overlapping Kyle Guay and his cross to the back post found Connor Dennehy in perfect position to side foot home the opener. Then, in double quick time the lead was two goals thanks to last week’s four goal hero for Norvan, Yigal Bruk. Bruk took a pass from Stewart Elliot and smashed home a shot from distance. Coquitlam would do their best to fight their way back into this match and they halved the deficit thanks to a goal from veteran Carlo Basso, but it was not to be enough as Norvan goalkeeper Gabriel Alvarado was not to be beaten again on this night. A solid team performance, exemplified by the outstanding play of Dennehy all evening, ensured a second win in a row for the visitors and some breathing room at the bottom for the first time this season. One fly in the ointment for the North Shore side was losing Devin Delany to a late red card when both he and Metro Ford’s Joseph Powell were given second yellow cards. That means Norvan will be without Delany when they face last place Columbus this week in a chance to make it three wins on the spin while Coquitlam will have another chance to move clear of the drop zone when they face Guildford FASA who are directly above them in the table.
Last season this fixture was on the schedule in Division 1, where, despite being edged out for the title by Burnaby Selects White Eagles, ICSF Columbus actual took four points of their fellow promoted side and knocked them out of the Imperial Cup on penalties. This season, though, has been a different story for the two sides as they have been scraping and clawing to try to earn enough points to stay in the VMSL’s top flight. Burnaby have managed to keep their heads above water, thanks largely to the play of Matlash Vladyslav who currently leads the league in goals scored, but Columbus have struggled and are still without a win to this point. Things got off to a bright start for the home team as John McEown gave Columbus the lead early. However, this would be as good as it got for the besieged side, as it was all White Eagles the rest of the way. Samuel Lee had the match tied before half time and then Vladyslav gave Burnaby the lead ten minutes after the restart. Vuk Erbez would make it 3-0 before Vlaydslay would score another to take his tally to 11 for the season. Columbus must now take their search for a first win of the year on the road to face suddenly surging Norvan on Saturday. White Eagles will be looking to climb even further up the table when they face Club Inter EDC Burnaby on Sunday.
Speaking of Club Inter EDC Burnaby, they were across the parking lot hosting the newly minted Canada National Amateur Champions and Challenge Trophy winners CCB LFC. This was CCB’s first domestic encounter since their trip to Newfoundland and Inter were in no mood to give them a warm welcome back. The match was a typically cagey affair between two veteran VMSL Premier sides who know each other well and the match featured more yellow cards than goals. . The visitors had the better of the early exchanges, but chances for Jovan Blagojevic and Kristian Yli-Hietanen went begging. Their best opportunity would come just before half time when Elie Gindo clattered a header off the crossbar. In the end, the only team to score would be the home side as Inter’s Alex Marrello scored after an hour to hand CCB a losing return to league play. CCB got good performances from defenders Harry Lakhan and Nic Morello and will hope that leads them to bounce back this week when they face local rival Pegasus in Surrey and CCB could use the points as they currently find themselves teetering on the edge of the relegation zone, though they do hold games in hand from their time away. Meanwhile, Inter EDC are set to face newly promoted Burnaby Select White Eagles as they look to maintain their spot in sixth place in the top half of the table.
South of the River and Saturday
Newton Athletic Park #1 – SFC Pegasus vs. Croatia SC
Newton Athletic Park #2 – BCT Rovers Hurricanes vs. Rino’s Tigers
Ambleside D – West Van FC vs. Guildford FC FASA
In Surrey on Friday and West Vancouver on Saturday the focus was turned to the top half of the table. Friday night fourth place Croatia SC traveled to Newton to play fifth place SFC Pegasus. The match was nip and tuck through the opening half an hour, with Croatia defending resolutely and looking for opportunities to attack. The chance the visitors were seeking did indeed materialize soon thereafter when Mario Kovacevic broke in one on one with the Pegasus goalkeeper and slotted the ball calmly into the bottom corner to give Croatia the lead. It was the epitome of a “goal scorer’s goal” and Kovacevic would carry on in top form for the duration of the match, hounding the Pegasus defense whenever possible. In the second half Croatia took over the match and scored two further goals, both of which came from well worked attacking moves. The goals came almost back to back with Farzad Rajab Ali scoring first followed by Kai Vockeroth just a couple of minutes later. Those goals effectively ended this match as a contest and sealed a solid win for Croatia. The victory sees the visitors jump to third place for now, but Croatia will have a chance to climb the table even further when they host co-leaders BCT Rovers Hurricanes, who sit just a single point above them, this weekend. Pegasus have now lost four of their previous five matches after beginning the season on a three game winning streak. They will try to bump that slump when they face neighbours CCB this weekend in a match that should see both sides desperate for all three points.
The marquee matchup at Newton this week though was on the neighboring pitch where second place BCT Rovers Hurricanes were hoping to leap over first place Rino’s Tigers with a win. The home team came flying out of the gate with their talisman, Nick Soolsma, scoring under twenty minutes in, followed almost immediately by veteran Pavi Dhillon doubling that lead. If Rovers thought that this would crush any fighting spirit that Rino’s had brought with them on their trip to Surrey, they were in for a rude awakening. Tigers showed exactly what kind of form had taken them to the top of the league to begin the season when they had the match back on level terms within ten minutes of falling two goals behind. Yuto Kimura got the visitors up and running when he latched onto a through ball from Jude Barrow and then Kimura turned provider a few minutes later when he was the penultimate stop on an attacking move that nearly had the “ole” chant breaking out at Newton. Rino’s worked the ball from the right to the left and then back to the right before Kimura found leading goal scorer Farivar Torabi who slotted it home expertly at the near post. The incumbent league leaders then nearly capped their comeback in emphatic style right on the stroke of halftime when Tomi Fagbongbe shirked off a challenge at the edge of the penalty area before unleashing a powerful shot that seemed destined for the top corner, but it was clawed away by the Rovers keeper with a save that was nothing short of miraculous. After nothing short of a breathless and entertaining first half, it was perhaps somewhat predictable that the teams would settle in and make the second half a much cagier affair. Chances were at a premium with both sides knowing it very well could be a case of next goal wins. Rino’s likely thought they had that next goal when Taynour Bashghareh found himself on a full breakaway inside Rovers territory. Maybe Bashghareh got overly excited, but, whatever the reason, he lost the control at the crucial moment and never even got a shot away. This was to prove costly for the visitors as just minutes later Dhillon popped up to score his second goal of the game and, with only ten minutes remaining, it proved to be decisive. The win moves Rovers into first place at Rino’s expense with the Tigers falling all the way to fourth after the loss. They are in for another stiff test this week against West Van, who also vaulted over them after the weekend’s results. Things do not get any easier for Rovers Hurricanes either as they now take on defending VMSL Champions Croatia who are only a point behind them.
 

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In Division 1, despite two of the top sides taking on two of the bottom sides, neither first place Richmond FC Hibernian nor second place GN Sporting Club found it easy against last place VAFC Santos and second bottom Vancouver Greencapsrespectively. The top two did ultimately get the three points in both matches but only by identical narrow 1-0 score lines. It was Dallin Akune who provided the crucial goal for Richmond and Rajan Sohal who did the business for GN. There was one other 1-0 win this weekend with Burnaby Metro Athletic getting a goal from Tipo Conteh while Alireza Afshar kept a clean sheet as they edged Rino’s Fury. Burnaby are currently tied for fourth place with Westside FC A who defeated NVFC Norvan Storm 3-1 on Saturday, but both those sides will be looking to move up the table in the coming weeks with the teams above them all playing one another. Vancouver Strikers and Club Inter EDC Burnaby B played out a 2-2 draw while our Match of the Week also finished level on Sunday night. Michael Mobilio scored for the hosts Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi but Pouria Maghali cancelled it out late on for Westside FC Sierra as the points were split in a 1-1 tie.
The Match of the Week for Week 9 is a compelling clash between a pair of the top teams in the league with second place GN Sporting welcoming Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi. Both teams are trying to stay within touching distance of unbeaten league leaders Richmond while fending off challenges from Westside and Burnaby. Lupi and GN both have only a single loss so far this season and neither will be keen to add another. This match is at Delsom Turf on Friday night at 9pm.
In Masters Premier, due to a cancellation, there were just three matches on the schedules this week and all proved to be rather stingy affairs. Our Match of the Week between PCOV M-A and Croatia SC M produced the most goals with Jeff Hodgson and Ryan Horvath scoring within ten minutes of each other to help PCOV recover from being behind at half time to a goal from Croatia’s Cliff Vaghy and give PCOV a 2-1 win. Both the other matches were 1-0 wins and both produced firsts on the season. ICSF Columbus FC M-A handed SFC Pegasus M TU their first loss of the season thanks to Brian Minichiello scoring with just over ten minutes remaining and Aaron Young registering a second shutout in as many weeks. At the other end of the table, there was a first win of the campaign for NVFC Norvan M-A as Norvan keeper Giancarlo Martino could not be beaten and Austin Nairn saw his early goal standup as the winner over Westside FC M-A.
The Match of the Week for Week 9 is a chance for Norvan to build on their first success of the season when they host last place FC Romania M-A. Having moved out of a tie for last place with their win over Westside, Norvan can further distance themselves from possible relegation if they are able to make it two wins on the spin this week. Having been left as the lone remaining side without a point so far though should have Romania in a feisty mood and they will be looking to quickly replicate what their hosts accomplished last week by registering their first win of the year as well. This match is at Confederation Turf on Monday night at 8pm.
Across the rest of the league, it is all to play for on both sides of the Division 2 draw as we barrel toward the midway point of the season. In 2A this week’s leaders are Metropolitan FC A after they responded to going behind by an early goal to emerge as 3-1 winners over Vancouver Rangers A. Last week’s leaders, Meraloma FC A, abdicated their throne via a shock 1-1 draw with last place Rino’s Bulldogs A that provided Bulldogs with their first point of the season and nearly earned them their first win if it were not for a disastrous, late own goal that saved Meraloma’s blushes, though only slightly. Metropolitan’s lead atop the division is tenuous at best however, with no less than five teams in a position to catch or pass them should they have even a minor slip up. It is a similar situation in 2B where, after Binger’s Army lost their first match of the season 2-0 to Astro FC, a Sean Mckeownbrace in a 2-0 win lifted Strathcona United A over former leaders GFC United Lions A and to the top of the table. Strathcona are currently sharing that perch with Vancouver Harps FC A who could have had the spot all to themselves but let an early 2-0 slip and were forced to split the points with Richmond FC Olympics in a 2-2 draw. It is far too close for comfort in 2B, but things are much more relaxed in Division 3A where the VMSL’s lone remaining perfect team, Siaron, enjoy a solid five point lead in first place. That being said, they were made to work as hard as they have had to all season to ensure they made it a perfect eight wins from eight this week, needing a late goal from Billy Murphy and a clean sheet from Patrick Comiskey to solidify a 1-0 win over Cosmos FC. Siaron are the last perfect side in the VMSL because in 3B West Van FC B lost 2-1 to France FC in a result that not only ruined their unblemished record but also saw them drop out of first place thanks to unbeaten SFC Temple A knocking off Formwerks Boutique FC 2-0. In 3C there are three teams tied atop the table on 19 points, but unbeaten Lobbans FC, who remain unbeaten thanks to a comeback 2-1 win over VAFC Santos B which saw Diego Gomez score two goals including a last minute winner, hold a game in hand over their rivals. Last week we told you to keep an eye on the Over 45 Premier Division clash between Westside FC M-B and PCOV M-B and it was indeed and entertaining affair that featured multiple lead changes and John Gomes notching his second goal of the game in the dying embers to give PCOV the 3-2 win. This week we turn to another of the Masters divisions for a match worth keeping an eye on with Coquitlam Metro Ford Shooters hoping to take an absolute stranglehold on first place in Over 35 Division 2 when they host second place, and their only real challengers at the moment, Unicorns FC M. That match is at Coquitlam Town Centre East #2 on Friday night at 8pm.
 
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VMSL Weekly Review Vol. 9

WEEK 9
For the third time in as many weeks we have a new leader at the very top of the VMSL and this week the league’s top flight saw its final two undefeated records fall.
Defending VMSL Premier Division Champions Croatia SC have made their way back to the top of the table as we approach the midway mark of the season and they take over on top from BCT Rovers Hurricanes and West Van FC, both of whom suffered their first loss of the season. Just like in the top flight, the many title races across the VMSL divisions are now in full swing, with few tables outside some of the lower Masters divisions having clear favourites.
ANNOUNCEMENTS
This past weekend, BC Soccer announced the creation of a Soccer Hall of Fame of British Columbia. The inaugural inductees are the 96 British Columbians and the teams of distinction who are already members of the national Hall of Fame, some of whom are still plying their trade in the VMSL today: Randy Samuel, coach of Lobbans FC, John Catliff playing in Over 45 and Rob Merkl (via the 1989 Canadian MNT Francophone Games team) also playing in Over 45. See the VMSL home page for more detail.

Also this past weekend, the inaugural Canadian Premier League Champion was crowned as Forge FC from Hamilton defeated Calgary’s Cavalry FC over two legs to claim the title. The second and decisive leg was played on Saturday in Calgary and the VMSL’s own Alain Ruch was the man in charge of refereeing on this historic occasion. The VMSL would like to congratulate Alain on the accomplishment and we look forward to seeing him back on our local pitches soon!

Finally, a reminder that in honour of Remembrance Day all VMSL matches this weekend are to observe a minute of silence prior to kick off.
PREMIER DIVISION RECAP
Friday Night Fixtures
Burnaby Lake West #3 – Croatia SC vs. BCT Rovers Hurricanes
Newton Athletic Park #1 – CCB LFC United vs. SFC Pegasus
A fantastic match of football took place on Friday night between two of the VMSL’s top teams so far this season when Croatia SC welcomed BCT Rovers Hurricanes to Burnaby Lake and the game showcased some of the best of what the VMSL has to offer. At the beginning of the night Rovers were tied atop the Premier Division standings with West Van FC, but defending VMSL Champions Croatia were just one point back. The first half was a cagey affair with neither team willing to give an inch defensively and attacking chances coming few and far between. Each side had a few good looks at goal but there was nothing to separate the teams at the interval. It felt like a night where it might just take something special to unlock the match and five minutes into the second half Croatia’s Mario Kovacevic, who put in a top performance all evening, provided exactly that. Picking up the ball near midfield, Kovacevic saw the Rovers keeper had strayed off his line and decided to attempt an audacious “David Beckham” or “Wayne Rooney” style effort and boy did he get it right. His spectacular long range effort completely orphaned the keeper and ended up in the back of the net for a goal of the year candidate and a perfect way to open the scoring in this game. After falling behind, Rovers began to really push their way into the match as they looked to avoid immediately falling out of first place, having only just climbed into it last week. Croatia’s defense, backstopped by another competent performance from Ty Venhola in goal, held firm, that is until the final minutes when Pavi Dhillon forced in an equalizer. With just mere minutes left to play this match surely seemed destined to end in a draw, however, the reigning VMSL MVP, David Malamura, had something to say about that. In the final minute he lashed a shot from 25 yards out that sailed into the net for a goal worthy of winning any match to give Croatia all three points in this one. “It was a pleasure for any soccer fan to watch Croatia SC and BCT Rovers Hurricanes play” said Croatia manager Joe Zlomislic after the match, adding “both teams demonstrated high degrees of skill and great sportsmanship.” It was certainly a quality advertisement for the VMSL and many will no doubt already be looking forward to the reverse fixture between these teams out in Surrey in the New Year. In the meantime, having climbed to the top of the table with their win, combined with other results, Croatia will look to stay there this week when they face West Van in another blockbuster tilt at the top of the table. Rovers, on the other hand, will be looking to take advantage of at least one of those two teams dropping points when they face local rivals CCB LFC in a battle of Canada’s two most recent National Amateur Club Champions.
Still in search of their first win upon their return from winning said National Championship, CCB LF United hosted their other local neighbours, SFC Pegasus, in a Surrey derby. It was clear that CCB were up for this one against their rivals as they started brightly with strikers Jovan Blagojevic and Kristian Yli-Hietanen both narrowly missing the net on chances within the opening few minutes. Despite this early promise of goals, it would take until just before half time for the scoring to be opened. Rylan Sangha, who would go on to have one of his best games of the season for CCB in this one, found Blagojevic who still had plenty of work to do in beating a pair of defenders and the keeper, but do it he would to give CCB a narrow lead at half time. When play resumed, the wait for a goal was not nearly as long as in the first half as Sangha quickly added his name to the score sheet after Boris Si played Yli-Hietanen in down the wing to cross on a platter for Sangha who coolly slotted it into the bottom corner. CCB were in control, but Pegasus veteran Adam Costley gave the “visitors” a lifeline less than ten minutes later when he scored to halve the deficit. Sangha nearly restored CCB’s two goal lead ten minutes after that, but his effort was saved and a few minutes later Mamadi Camara saw his effort desperately cleared off the line. Meanwhile, Pegasus were pushing for an equalizer, but CCB defender Harry Lakhan and goalkeeper Luke O’Shea were in top form to keep them at bay. However, CCB ultimately came to rue their missed chances when Gurmaan Jhaj scored ten minutes from time to knot the game up at two goals apiece. There was still time, in fact, for Peg to go in search of a winner and it took a top drawer save from O’Shea in the dying minutes to push a shot destined for the top corner onto the post and wide. In the end the points were split which was likely a fair result based on the performances, though CCB will be looking for some wins as soon as possible. Based on the other results around the league this weekend, the Provincial and National Champions currently find themselves in a relegation place. They do have matches in hand from their time away at Nationals, but they will want to be climbing the table as they will not want to miss out on the opportunity to defend their Provincial title. That quest to get back in the win column serves up another derby encounter with BCT Rovers Hurricanes this weekend while Pegasus host Burnaby Selects White Eagles on the adjacent pitch at Newton.
Weekend Fixtures
Trillium East – Rino’s Tigers vs. West Van FC
Fen Burdett Mahon – NVFC Norvan vs. ICSF Columbus
Burnaby Lake West #2 – Guildford FC FASA vs. Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves
Burnaby Lake West #4 – Burnaby Selects White Eagles vs. Club Inter EDC Burnaby
The other marquee match at the top of the table was Rino’s Tigers hosting West Van FC on Saturday evening at Trillium. Undefeated West Van had, along with Rovers Hurricanes, supplanted Rino’s atop the Premier Division standings after last week’s results and Rino’s were keen not to lose more ground. Having seen Croatia’s result from Friday, Rino’s knew they could not get back to first place this week, but a win would put them into second and back ahead of West Van and BCT. An early penalty kick gave Ismael Longo the chance to open the scoring from the spot and he made no mistake in notching his third goal of the season to give the home side the lead. West Van were undeterred, however, and Colin Phillips had the scores level again within just a few minutes. The teams traded chances into the second half until West Van’s Andrew Milne received a second yellow card and was sent off, reducing West Van to only ten players for the rest of the match. Within minutes Longo was once more afforded an opportunity from the penalty spot and he again was clinical with his finish to restore the Tigers’ lead. With only half an hour left to play it was an uphill task for West Van to find a way back into the match, though they gave it everything they had. Rino’s were resilient and defended well before ultimately scoring a third goal via Vuk Ceranic deep into stoppage time. Rino’s will be hoping this return to winning ways kick starts another great run of form and will hope to find themselves at the top of the standings after battling Guildford FC FASA this weekend. For West Van, they have another titanic battle against the current league leaders Croatia on the agenda for next weekend which will provide an opportunity to get back to the top of the league themselves.
Shifting our attention elsewhere in the table, after a slow start NVFC Norvan had won back to back matches and were looking to extend their winning streak to three games when they welcomed last place ICSF Columbus to the North Shore. Columbus were still without a win after their return to the Premier Division, but were hoping to change that, especially since their last trip to the North Shore provided their only point on the season so far in a 1-1 draw with West Van. Norvan started brightly when 16- year-old Brandon Torresan scored his first ever VMSL goal after he met a corner kick from Devon Gunenc with a sweet volley that left Kevin Monk with no chance in the Columbus goal. Things got even better for the North Shore boys as they continued to ride the momentum of their recent good form with Blake Burgon doubling their lead just before the half hour mark. The play began with Ivan Mejia releasing Yigal Bruk down the left wing before Bruk cross for Burgon to side foot home. It was all going Norvan’s way until a few minutes later when an errant handball gifted Columbus a way back into the match. Striker Adriano Negri, who has been one of the most consistent performers for Columbus this season and had yet another strong game in this one, stepped up and calmly slotted it past Gabriel Alvarado. Norvan looked as though they might well re-establish their two goal lead just before half time when Tony Paiero headed the ball on target, only to see it cleared agonizingly off the line. When play resumed at the start of the second half it was the visitor’s turn to head one on target, but this time there would be no goal line stand as Luca Locascio rose above the rest to power home a free kick from Suhk Shergill and get Columbus back on level terms. Having restored parity, Columbus went searching for the winning goal that has been eluding them all season. Striker JB McEown along with Negri, were sniffing for a way through, but Alvarado had all the necessary answers. At the other end, Locascio and centreback partner Adriano Clemente had things on lockdown as they, along with keeper Monk, staved off Norvan’s advances throughout the second half. This one seemed headed for a draw until 16-year-old Torresan struck again in what was no doubt one of the most memorable matches of his young career. This time he was the provider as he did the hard work before slipping Mejia behind the Columbus defense where he notched the winning goal. It was elation for Norvan as they have now won three on the spin and they will look to make it four this weekend against Club Inter EDC Burnaby. Alas, another heartbreak for Columbus, but they will pull themselves back together for another chance at their first win of the campaign against Coquitlam on Friday night.
Having struggled through the first third of the season, Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves were presented with an opportunity to climb out of the relegation places when they visited Guildford FC FASA. Coming into this match FASA had lost four matches in a row, while Coquitlam sat on just four points, having just one win on the season. The match was not a work of art, but definitely showed the desire of the two teams to ensure they got a result. Scoring chances were few and far between, but veteran Metro Ford striker Carlo Basso has made a career out of being able to turn just one chance into vital points for his team. This match was no different as Basso sniffed out not one, but two chances right before half time and he made no mistake in converting both of them. In the second half Coquitlam placed their faith in another one of their stalwarts, goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato and, as he has done some many times before for Wolves, he delivered again on this occasion, keeping a clean sheet. The points see Metro Ford vault over FASA, as well as CCB, and into ninth place. They will hope to continue their march away from the trapdoor at the bottom of the league this week when they face last place Columbus. FASA will attempt to avoid what would be a sixth straight defeat this weekend, but it will not be easy as they are set to host title challengers Rino’s.
Finally, on Sunday newly promoted Burnaby Selects White Eagles hosted Club Inter EDC Burnaby in a mid-table clash that would have an impact on the race for the Provincial Cup Qualification places. The action was fast and furious with neither side holding anything back and the goals came tumbling out of this one almost straight away. Rizal Ganief had Inter in front minutes into the match when he scored his team leading sixth goal of the season, but Vuk Erbez showed once more that newly promoted White Eagles are serious about competing at this level. Within fifteen minutes of the home side falling behind, he not only had scored to equalize, but also added a second goal to put White Eagles in the lead. Ganief was not to be overshadowed, however, as he too added a second goal to make it 2-2 before half an hour had been played in the match. As the game approached half time there was an incident and in the fallout EDC’s Ryan Zaharija was sent off for violent conduct. This changed the complexion of the match with Inter now reduced to ten men, causing them to be more conservative in their approach going forward. It did not in any way reduce the temperature of the match, with both teams continuing to go at it hammer and tongs both on the ball and with their challenges. With time running out, it looked as though Inter might hold on for a point, in spite of their numerical inferiority. However, Mladen Ljumovic delivered the winning goal that White Eagles had been searching for to secure three valuable points. The win puts White Eagles level with Inter in the table ahead of their trip to face another mid- table side, Pegasus, in Surrey this weekend. There is a mid-table battle on the docket for Inter as well again this week as they face the suddenly surging Norvan on Friday night.
 

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