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2014-04-14

PROVINCIAL CUP – ROUND OF 16

 

The Provincial Cup playdowns began this past weekend, with 7 teams representing the Vancouver Metro Soccer League. Not surprisingly, 5 out of the 7 teams advanced to the quarter-finals, while two of the top teams—Columbus FC and CCBRT United—were knocked out of the competition due to their losses to fellow VMSLers Inter FC and West Van FC.

WEST VAN FC  --  CCBRT UNITED  4-3:  On Friday evening, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, the two top teams in the VMSL’s Premier Division—West Van FC and CCBRT United—met in the first round of the Provincial Cup playdowns. After an unbelievably exciting 90 minutes of non-stop action, the hosting West Van FC walked away with a hard-fought 4-3 victory. The visiting CCBRT United team got off to a bright start and took the lead at the 3rd minute mark when Derrick Bassi unleashed an unstoppable, long-range shot, a shot that gave goalkeeper Marco Durante no chance whatsoever. Shortly thereafter, CCBRT United almost doubled its lead when Harry Lakhan tried to emulate Bassi’s previous effort, only to have Durante come up with a fine save. The visitors were able to double their lead at about the 25th minute mark when Avneet Shergill made a great run down the right flank before crossing the ball onto the path of an unmarked Riley O’Neill who had no difficulty in slotting the ball home. Much to their credit, the former Trollers refused to give up and came storming back in search of their first goal. However, Jesse Fetterley had his shot saved by goalkeeper Luke O’Shea, while Robbie Giezen watched agonizingly as his curling shot barely missed the target. The home team continued to exert some heavy pressure on the CCBRT United defence at the beginning of the second half and finally narrowed the margin at the 55th minute mark when Cathal O’Connor finished off a clever play between Corey Birza and Alan McIndoe with a cracker of a shot from inside the penalty area. West Van FC continued to press in search of the equalizer and forced CCBRT United to defend tenaciously. Finally—at the 70th minute mark—West Van FC was able to knot the score when Robbie Giezen looped a header towards the CCBRT United goal and onto the path of Cathal O’Connor who had no diffculty in scoring his second goal of the match from close range. Ten minutes later, West Van FC seemed to put the visitors out of their misery when Robbie Giezen clinically converted a penalty kick that was awarded when Giezen himself had been fouled inside the CCBRT United penalty area by Phil Lensky. To their credit, the visitors bounced back in an effort to score the equalizer and were rewarded at the 85th minute mark when Nick Soolsma finished off a brilliant individual effort in clinical fashion. Very late in the match,  West Van FC scored what proved to be the winning goal when Desmond Tachie tapped the ball into the back of the CCBRT United net after having received a great pass from Alan McIndoe. The entire West Van team played exceptionally well, particularly in the second half, but special mention should be made of midfielders Alan McIndoe, Cathal O’Connor, and Devan Woolley for their tireless performances. Also, forwards Corey Birza, Robbie Giezen, and Desmond Tachie deserve spcial mention as they caused huge problems to the CCBRT United backline, particularly during the second half. For CCBRT United, midfielder Harry Lakhan and goalkeeper Luke O’Shea turned in excellent performances, while defenders Sam Gill and Joel Malouf did their best to contain the vaunted West Van attackers. Also, midfielder Riley O’Neill not only scored an excellent goal but worked extremely hard during the entire match. The hard-earned victory advances West Van FC to the quarter-finals of the Provincial Cup where they will face Croatia SC.

CROATIA SC  -  ABBOTFORD UNITED  4-2:  On Saturday, at South Memorial Park in Vancouver, Croatia SC advanced to the quarter-finals of the Provincial Cup by disposing of the visiting Abbotsford United by a 4-2 margin. The Croatians took the early lead—at about the 10th minute mark—when Nicholas Espinosa’s perfectly placed diagonal cross found a wide-open Johnny Sulentic at the edge of the penalty area. Sulentic then proceeded to chip the ball over the onrushing Abbotsford goalkeeper, thus opening the scoring. Then—at the 20th minute mark—Nicholas Espinosa became the finisher as he completed a clever one-two with teammate Taj Sangara by poking the ball into the near post from close range. To their credit, the visitors didn’t give up and narrowed the margin near the end of the first half on a goal by Hardeep Bolla. Then, just before the half-time whistle, Abbotsford United came close to knotting the score when Croatia’s David Zaharja committed a hand-ball infraction inside the 18-yard box. However, goalkeeper Simon Cohen rose to the occasion and pulled off a miraculous save to keep his team in the lead. As luck would have it, the Croatians re-established their 2-goal lead early in the second half when veteran Johnny Sulentic took advantage of a defensive faux-pas, raced in on goal and finished off the play clinically. The Croatians continued to press and came close to adding to their lead on a couple of occasions, but Johnny Sulentic’s free-kick bounced off the goalpost, while David Zaharija’s breakaway effort was stymied by the Abby goalkeeper. Once again, Abbotsford United stormed back and succeeded in scoring their second goal when Connor MacMillan finished off a superb individual effort. Late in the match—at the 85th minute mark—Croatia SC put the game out of Abbotsford’s reach when Johnny Sulentic—after having raced in on goal by himself—was fouled inside the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded. Sulentic himself stepped up to the plate and converted the spot shot, thus finishing off his hat-trick performance. For Croatia SC, forwards Johnny Sulentic and Taj Sangara were going concerns during the entire match, while midfielder Nicholas Espinosa also deserves special mention for his tireless performance. Croatia SC will now face league-mates West Van FC in the quarter-finals of the Provincial Cup.

INTER FC  -  COLUMBUS FC  1-0:  Also on Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, Inter FC once again upset the heavily-favoured Columbus FC by a slim 1-0 margin. The underdog Inter team controlled most of the action in the early stages of the match and took the early lead—at about the 13th minute mark—when a well-taken free kick by Brian VanSchagen was saved by Columbus’ goalkeeper Thomas Lindley, only to have Joseph Marrello pick up the rebound and half-volley the ball into the back of the net. The remainder of the first half was a rather dull affair as neither team seemed willing to take any unnecessary chances. The second half told a totally different story as Columbus FC threw caution to the wind in an attempt to get back into the match. However, some poor finishing—along with some excellent defending on the part of Inter’s Matt Allard and Bryan Fong—kept the vaunted Columbus attackers off the scoresheet till the full time whistle. The best Columbus opportunity to knot the score came midway through the second half when Kazunori Kikuchi sent Steve DeBlasio flying towards the Inter goal on a semi-breakaway. However, much to Columbus’ chagrin, DeBlasio’s final shot sailed over the cross-bar. Late in the match, Inter FC had a couple of golden opportunities to put Columbus FC out of its misery, but Andrew Corazza’s shots were well-saved by goalkeeper Thomas Lindley. For Inter FC, midfielders Alex Marrello and Joseph Marrello were outstanding as they controlled the middle of the park with tenacity and skill. Also, defenders Bryan Fong and Matt Allard deserve special mention for their rock-solid performances, while forward Milad Mehrabi was a thorn on the side of the Columbus defenders during the entire match. For Columbus FC, goalkeeper Thomas Lindley made several outstanding saves, while midfielder Robbie Cairns and defender Graham Smith worked tirelessly during the entire contest, albeit in a losing cause. The victory advances Inter FC to the quarter-finals of the Provincial Cup where they will face the Fraser Valley’s West Coast Selects.

COQUITLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  SAANICH FUSION FC  4-1:  On Sunday, at Tyndall Park in Victoria, the visiting Coquitlam Metro-Ford Wolves defeated the Vancouver Island champions—Saanich Fusion FC—by an elaborate 4-1 margin. Early in the game, the Metro-Ford Wolves almost took the lead when Jules Chopin was fouled inside the Saanich 18-yard box, resulting in a penalty-kick being awarded. Young midfielder Adam Jones stepped up to the plate, but his shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Josh Menzies. Soon thereafter, the Wolves were able to take the lead when Sang Hwang’s wicked 35-yard drive found the back of the Saanich net. The home team bounced back and came close to knotting the score at the 20th minute mark when a well-taken free kick by Paddy Nelson was brilliantly saved by young goalkeeper Mario Gerges. Late in the first half, the Wolves were able to double their lead when a brilliant cross by Adam Jones was powerfully headed into the back of the Saanich net by Lucas Reis. Early in the second half, the Vancouver Island team started exerting some heavy pressure on the Metro-Ford defence in an attempt to get back into the game. However, some stalwart defending on the part of Anthony DiNicolo kept the home team off the scoreboard. Midway through the second half, the Metro-Ford Wolves put the game out of Saanich’s reach when Sang Hwang made a phenomenal 30-yard run towards the Saanich goal before unleashing one of his patented shots. The ball bounced off the goalpost and was subsequently deflected into the back of the net by a Saanich defender. Soon thereafter, the Wolves added their fourth—and final—goal when Adam Jones took advantage of a bizarre goalmouth scramble and placed the ball into the net from close range. Late in the game, the Saanich Fusion was able to score their only goal of the contest when Paddy Nelson won the ball in the middle of the park and quickly blasted it into the top corner of the Metro-Ford net, giving Mario Gerges no chance whatsoever. The entire Coquitlam team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of midfielders Andrew Veer and Adam Jones for their indomitable performances. Also, forward Sang Hwang and defender Anthony DiNicolo deserve special mention for their superb efforts. The Metro-Ford Wolves will now host Bays United—another Vancouver Island team—in the next round of the Provincial Cup.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  VIC-WEST FC  2-1:  Also on Sunday, at Cloverdale Athletic Park in Surrey, the defending Provincial Cup champions—Surrey United Firefighters—progressed to the next round by edging the visiting Vic-West FC by a narrow 2-1 margin. The Vancouver Island team took the lead early in the match—at about the 15th minute mark—when a free-kick by Drew Brittain bounced over the head of veteran goalkeeper Paul Shepherd in a rather bizarre fashion. In their inimitable fashion, the Firefighters fought back tenaciously and almost tied things up a few minutes later when Sean Einarsson blasted a shot from the edge of the penalty area towards the Vic-West goal, a shot that seemed destined to the top corner of the net. However, goalkeeper Hide Ozawa came up with an incredible save to keep Vic-West in the lead. Surrey United continued to press in search of the equalizer but Vic-West’s defenders Phil Brierly and Nick Filipchuck—as well as goalkeeper Hide Ozawa—thwarted all of the Firefighters first half attempts.  Early in the second half—at about the 55th minute mark—Surrey United was finally able to knot the score when veteran Steve Kindel set up Sean Einarsson with an exquisite pass. Without a moment’s hesitation, Einarsson proceeded to fire a wicked shot into the back of the Vic-West net for the equalizer. The Firemen continued to press and came close to taking the lead on a few occasions. In particular—at the 65th minute mark—a well-taken corner-kick by Tom Lowndes was headed towards the Vic-West goal by Brad Peetoom, only to have Hide Ozawa come up with yet another brilliant save. Late in the game—at about the 80th minute mark—Surrey United was finally able to score what proved to be the winning goal when Tommy Lowndes received an impeccable pass from Angus Burke, beat a couple of Vic-West defenders and fired an unstoppable shot into the far corner of the net. Defensively, Brad Peetoom, Nigel Marples, and Stefan Leslie played extremely well for Surrey United as they limited Vic-West’s scoring chances to a minimum. Forwards Sean Einarsson and Tom Lowndes also deserve special mention for creating several goalscoring opportunities and for scoring their team’s two goals. Vic-West’s goalkeeper Hide Ozawa was outstanding as he pulled off several unbeliavable saves, while midfielders Kyle Taylor and Drew Brittain worked relentlessly during the entire match, albeit in a losing cause. As a result of the well-deserved victory, the Firefighters now advance to the quarter-finals of the Provincial Cup, where they will face Langley United, from the Fraser Valley Soccer League.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  WEST VAN FC for its incredible come-from-behind 4-3 victory over the very talented CCBRT United. After falling behind 2-0 early in the match, the former Trollers fought back tenaciously and eventually were able to claim the all-imporant victory.  

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  West Van FC’s attacking midfielder CATHAL O’CONNOR for his unbelievable performance in his team’s 4-3 victory over CCBRT United. With West Van trailing 2-0, O’Connor virtually took over the reins of the match and led his team to victory. Not only did O’Connor score two excellent goals, but he also set up numerous other chances for his teammates. For him amazing performance this past week-end, CATHAL O’CONNOR will  receive a pizza for two, compliments of  THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2014-05-14.

 

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2013-2014 Weekly Reports

2014-04-07

PREMIER DIVISION MAKE-UP GAME

CROATIA SC  -  INTER FC  2-2:  On Friday evening, at South Memorial Park in Vancouver, the final Premier Division match of the season took place, between the hosting Croatia SC and the visiting Inter FC. Despite the fact that the final result was rather meaningless—since both teams had already avoided relegation and had qualified for the Provincial Cup—the match was very intense and competitive. Inter FC came close to taking the lead at about the 20th minute mark when Alex Marrello unleashed what appeared to be an unstoppable rocket of a shot from the edge of the penalty area, only to have to ball bounce off the crossbar and sail out of danger. The Croatians replied in kind and also came close to taking the lead shortly thereafter when right-back Eddie Tsen made a fabulous run towards the Inter goal from the halfway line, beat a few Inter defenders, but had his final shot brilliantly saved by young goalkeeper Manny Mangu. At about the 35th minute mark, Croatia SC took the lead when Taj Sangara—after having received a clever pass from Johnny Sulentic—sent an impeccable cross to the far post onto the path of Eddie Tsen. Tsen controlled the ball skillfully and proceeded to fire it into the back of the Inter net, giving goalkeeper Manny Mangu no chance whatsoever. Early in the second half, Inter FC managed to knot the score when Alex Marrello finished off an outstanding solo effort by rounding goalkeeper Simon Cohen before slotting the ball into the empty net for the equalizer. Late in the match—at about the 80th minute mark—Croatia SC retook the lead when Lucas Sweda picked up a poor Inter clearance in the middle of the park, raced down the right flank, beat a few Inter defenders and finally played an immaculate through ball onto the path of veteran Johnny Sulentic, whose eventual low shot found the back of the Inter net. To their credit, the ‘Italians’ fought back tenaciously in search of the equalizer and finally achieved their quest very late in the match when Cristian Tropeano converted a long throw-in by Bevan Footman into the equalizer with an unbelievable scissor-kick shot. For Croatia SC, former professional Johnny Sulentic was his usual dangerous self as he created numerous goalscoring chances, while fellow forward Taj Sangara was also a going concern throughout the match. Defensively, Eddie Tsen and Ryan Zaharija also turned in admirable performances. For Inter FC, midfielder Alex Marrello turned in yet another dominant performance, while defenders Bevan Footman and Roy Mattarollo were rock-solid throughout the contest. The hard-earned tie allows Inter FC to finish the season in an 8th place tie with ICST Pegasus, with a 7-5-10 record, while Croatia SC ends its season in 6th place, with a 8-7-7 record. As mentioned earlier, both teams have qualified for the Provincial Cup playdowns, with Inter FC facing arch-rivals Columbus FC in the first round and Croatia SC taking on Abbotsford Ford from the Fraser Valley Soccer League.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:  Inter FC’s forward CRISTIAN TROPEANO and Croatia SC right-back EDDIE TSEN for their excellent peformances in their teams’ 2-2 tie. Tropeano’s scissors-kick goal was a thing of beauty, while Tsen not only defended tenaciously during the entire match, but alos scored a great goal. For brilliant performances this past week-end, CRISTIAN TROPEANO and EDDIE TSEN will each receive a pizza for two, compliments of  THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2014-05-07.

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2014-03-31

IMPERIAL CUP FINAL

INTER FC - COLUMBUS FC  1-0 OT:  On Saturday evening, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, Inter FC continued its amazing winning streak by upsetting the heavily-favoured Columbus FC by a narrow 1-0 overtime margin, thus capturing the coveted Imperial Cup. The match was very evenly played as neither team appeared willing to take any unnecessary chances. Even though Inter FC had a slight edge in territorial advantage, it was Columbus FC that had the best scoring chances, mostly during regulation time. In particular, midway through the first half, a blazing shot by Kazunori Kikuchi was brilliantly saved by Inter’s 17-year old goalkeeper Manny Mangu. At the other end of the pitch, Cristian Tropeano was stymied by goalkeeper Thomas Lindley, thus keeping the match scoreless till the halftime whistle. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first, as both teams defended exceptionally well, thus keeping the goalscoring opportunities to a minimum.  The best scoring chance occurred at about the 70th minute mark when Columbus’ Luca Bellisomo one-timed a well-taken corner kick by Steve DeBlasio towards the Inter net. Unfortunately for Bellisomo—and the rest of the Columbus clan—the ball sailed over the crossbar and out of danger. During the first overtime period, Columbus FC once again came close to taking the lead when Blair Robeertson’s excellent cross was headed towards the Inter goal by Graham Smith. Once again, however, the ball barely missed the net. Very late in the second overtime period—as most people were anticipating a penalty-kick shootout—Inter FC managed to score the winning goal when Bryan Fong sent Milad Mehrabi flying down the left flank with a brilliant through ball. After beating a couple of Columbus defenders, Mehrabi cut inside the penalty area and proceeded to unleash an unstoppable, low shot into the bottom corner of the net. For Inter FC, midfielder Alex Marrello was his usual dominant self as he worked tirelessly during the entire 120 minutes of play. Also, defenders Bryan Fong and Jordan Michael turned in a rock-solid performances, limiting Columbus’ vaunted attackers to a very few chances. Young goalkeeper Manny Mangu also deserves special mention for having pulled off a couple of miraculous saves. For Columbus FC, the defensive backline—composed of Blair Robertson, Luca Bellisomo, Graham Smith, and Stefano Bortoluzzi—played extremely well while midfielders Devon Greenside and Jamie Olson also performed admirably, albeit in a losing cause. The hard earned victory not only clinched the Imperial Cup for Inter FC, but also earned the ‘Italians’ an all-important seed in the upcoming Provincial Cup playdowns.

 TEAM OF THE WEEK:  INTER FC for yet another upset victory—this time over the heavily-favoured Columbus FC in the Imperial Cup final. Led by the amazing performance of goalkeeper Manny Mangu—as well as the tireless effort of midfielder Alex Marrello—the underdog ‘Italians’ were able to upset their countrymen with a late overtime goal.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Inter FC’s goalkeeper MANNY MANGU for his superb performance in his team’s 1-0 overtime victory over Columbus FC in the Imperial Cup final. The young 17-year old goalkeeper pulled off a couple of amazing saves during regulation time to keep his team in the game.  For him remarkable performance this past week-end, MANNY MANGU will receive a pizza for two, compliments of  THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2014-04-30.

 

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 2014-03-24

IMPERIAL CUP SEMI-FINALS

 

Both Imperial Cup semi-final matches ended in scoreless ties, after 90 minutes of regulation time and 30 minutes of overtime. As a result, both games had to be settled by the dreaded penalty kicks and ended with Columbus FC and Inter FC capturing a spot in next week’s Imperial Cup final.

INTER FC - WEST VAN FC  1-0 PK’s:  On Saturday evening, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, Inter FC not only captured a spot in the Imperial Cup final but also qualified for the upcoming Provincial Cup by upsetting the Premier Division champions—West Van FC—in a penalty kick shootout. Needless to say, the home team controlled most of the play during the entire game, but was unable to find the back of the Inter net, mostly due to some incredible saves made by goalkeeper Erman Ozkan. In particular, shots by Desmond Tachie, Jesse Fetterley, and Rob Giezen were miraculously saved by Ozkan during the first half of play. Late in  the second half, Devan Woolley and Stefan Crameri were robbed by another couple of brilliant saves on the part of Ozkan. After 120 scoreless minutes, the result had to be settled via penalty kicks. Inter’s Tino Cucca, Brian VanSchagen, Kam Amini, Alex Marrello, and Joseph Marrello scored for Inter FC, while Marco Visintin had his spot shot well saved by Garth Lagasse. For West Van FC, Max Baessato, Colin Phillips, Rob Giezen, and Drew Gelley converted their penalty kicks, while Dave O’Connor’s was brilliantly saved by Erman Ozkan. Inexplicably, veteran Paul Dailly sailed the final shot over the Inter crossbar, thus putting an end to his teram’s chances of winning the Imperial Cup. The West Van backline—composed of Max Baessato, Drew Gelley, Mike Winter, and Leo Nash—was once again rock-solid as they limited Inter’s scoring chances to a bare minimum, thus making life rather easy for goalkeeper Garth Lagasse as he recorded yet another shutout. Midfielder Davan Woolley also worked exceptionally hard during the entire game, while forward Rob Giezen drove the Inter defenders to distraction with his his speed and skill. For Inter FC, midfielder Alex Marrello was a workhorse during the entire contest, while fellow midfielder Marco Visintin also deserves special mention for his indomitable work-rate. Defensively, Brian VanSchagen and Donald Kambere also turned in admirable performances, while goalkeeper Erman Ozkan was obviously the player of the match for having made numerous remarkable saves. The victory advances Inter FC to the Imperial Cup final, against Columbus FC.

COLUMBUS FC  -  ICST PEGASUS   1-0 PK’s:   Also on Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, the heavily-favoured Columbus FC managed to qualify for the Imperial Cup final by defeating the underdog ICST Pegasus on penalty kicks, after the game had ended in a 0-0 tie. As the score indicates, the game was very evenly played and also highly contested. At about the 15th minute mark, ICST Pegasus almost took the lead when Sahil Sandhu broke free from a couple of Columbus defenders, raced down the right flank and proceeded to send an immaculate cross into the Columbus penalty area onto the path of a wide-open Azad Palani. However, Palani’s thunderous shot was miraculously saved by goalkeeper Thomas Lindley. Shortly thereafter, it was Columbus’ turn to almost open the scoring when Blair Robertson’s well-executed free-kick was headed towards the Pegasus goal by defender Luca Bellisomo, only to have goalkeeper Andy Singh pull off an outstanding save. Late in the first half, ICST Pegasus came close to taking the lead on a couple of occasions, but Sahil Sandhu’s shot was once again brilliantly saved by Thomas Lindley, while David Samra’s close-range effort barely missed the target. Early in the second half, both teams were reduced to 10 men when Columbus Jonathan Poli and Pegasus’ Adam Costley were ejected from the field for having committed ‘violent conduct’ offences. Both teams battled very hard during the remainder of regulation time, but were unable to ‘seal the deal’ thus sending the match into overtime.  ICST Pegasus had a couple of glorious goalscoring opportunities during the overtime periods, but Chetan Jhooty’s blistering shot hit the Columbus crossbar, while Sahil Sandhu was stymied by goalkeeper Thomas Lindley as he raced in on goal on a breakaway. At the other end of the pitch, Devon Smith set up Luca Bellisomo at the edge of the Pegasus penalty area, only to have Bellisomo miss the net with his final shot. In the penalty kick shootout, Columbus’ Luca Bellisomo, Robbie Cairns, Stefano Bortolussi, and Sheu Fortunato scored, while Graham Smith’s shot was saved by Andy Singh. For ICST Pegasus, Sahil Sandhu, David Samra, and Chetan Jhooty were able to convert their spot shots, while Javid Khan and Gurjit Dhaliwal had their penalty kicks brilliantly saved by Thomas Lindley. Columbus’ goalkeeper Thomas Lindley turned in yet another brilliant performance as he fully earned his clean-sheet with some amazing saves. Also, defenders Luca Bellisomo, Stefano Bortolussi, Blair Robertson, and Graham Smith deserve special mention for their rock-solid performances. For ICST Pegasus, forward Sahil Sandhu caused havoc to the Columbus backline, while midfielder Javid Khan worked tirelessly during the entire 120 minutes of play. Also, defender Diaz Kambere turned in an impeccable performance. The hard-earned victory advances Columbus FC to the Imperial Cup final, against Inter FC.

PREMIER DIVISION MAKE-UP GAME

CCBRT UNITED  -  LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  4-1:  On Saturday, at McLeod Park in Langley, CCBRT United put an end to the Langley FC Hurricanes’ dreams of qualifying for the Provincial Cup by defeating the home team by an elaborate 4-1 margin. The Hurricanes got off to a bright start and took the lead at the 5th minute mark when Harpreet Khakh and Niko Marcina combined to set up Pavi Dhillon at the edge of the CCBRT United penalty area. Dhillon proceeded to beat a couple of defenders before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the back of the CCBRT United net. Ten minutes later, CCBRT United was able to tie things up when Milad Rahmati finished off a brilliant 3-way passing play—also involving Avneet Shergill and Shabaz Khattra—with an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the Langley net. Midway through the first half, Langley’s young goalkeeper—Robert Goodey—made a sensational save on Milad Rahmati’s point blank shot to keep the game tied till the halftime whistle. Early in the second half, the home team almost regained the lead when Pavi Dhillon raced past several CCBRT United defenders before unleashing a wicked shot from inside the penalty area. Unfortunately for Dhillon—and the rest of the Langley clan—the ball sailed just wide of the net. Shortly thereafter, it was CCBRT United’s turn to come close to scoring when Nick Soolsma raced in of goal on a breakaway—after having received an excellent pass from Avneet Shergill—only to have veteran defender Jesse Dhami clear the ball off the goal line. CCBRT United was finally able to retake the lead at the 65th minute mark Avneet Shergill finished off a great cross from Sam Gill by full-volleying the ball into the back of the Langley net from the edge of the 18-yard box. Ten minutes later, Shergill put the game out of the Hurricanes’ reach when he received an excellent pass from Nick Soolsma and fired the ball towards the Langley net. However, young goalkeeper Robert Goodey once again came up with a remarkable save, only to have Shergill pick up the rebound before easily slotting the ball home for what proved to be the insurance marker. Near the end of the match, Avneet Shergill became the provider as he chipped the ball onto the path of Milad Rahmati who then raced in on goal on a breakaway and clinically finished off the play with his second goal of the match. The entire CCBRT United team played extremely well, but special mention should be made of defenders Derrick Bassi and Avin Sidhu, midfielders Bobby Jhutty, Sameer Grewal, Avneet Shergill, and Shabaz Khattra, as well as forwards Nick Soolsma and Milad Rahmati, for their superlative perfomances. For Langley FC, youth call-up goalkeeper Robert Goodey played remarkably well, while midfielder Pavi Dhillon and defenders Woody Bradford and Jesse Dhami also performed admirably, albeit in a losing cause. As a result of the victory, CCBRT United ends the season in second place—only one point behind West Van FC—with 12-3-7 record. Langley FC, on the other hand, ends its season in 9th place, with 25 points out of 22 games.

 TEAM OF THE WEEK:  INTER FC for its upset victory over the heavily-favoured West Van FC in the Imperial Cup semi-fianls. Led by the amazing performance of goalkeeper Erman Ozkan—as well as the tireless effort of midfielder Alex Marrello, the underdog ‘Italians’ were able to upset the Premier Division champions, albeit on penalty kicks, after a 0-0 overtime tie. Inter FC will now take on countrymen Columbus FC in the Imperial Cup final.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:  Inter FC’s goalkeeper ERMAN OZKAN and Columbus FC’s goalkeeper THOMAS LINDLEY for their superlative performances in their teams’ Imperial Cup semi-final victories over West Van FC and ICST Pegasus respectively. Time after time, both goalkeepers made unbelievable saves to keep their teams in the match.  Also, Lindley and Ozkan pulled off a few amazing saves in the penalty-kick shootout to ensure their teams’ victories.  For their incredible performances this past week, THOMAS LINDLEY and ERMAN OZKAN will each receive a pizza for two, compliments of  THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2014-04-24.

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2014-03-18

PREMIER DIVISION MAKE-UP GAMES

 

Virtually all the long-lasting dilemmas were resolved this past weekend, as West Van FC laid claim to first place by defeating CCBRT United by an elaborate 3-0 margin. Also, at the bottom of the table, Westside FC and Norvan FC were relegated to Division 1, due to the fact that ICST Pegasus and Inter FC pulled off a couple of upset victories—against Croatia SC and Surrey United respectively. The only unsolved mystery—which of the Premier Division teams will qualify for the Provincial Cup playdowns—will  be solved this coming weekend after the Imperial Cup semi-finals.

WEST VAN FC – CCBRTU UNITED  3-0:  On Friday evening, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, the former Trollers won their second important game in a row by defeating the visiting CCBRT United by an emphatic 3-0 margin. West Van FC took the early lead—at about the 15th minute mark—when Cathal O’Connor finished off a great passing play between Colin Phillips and Desmond Tachie with a clinical, close-range shot, a shot that gave goalkeeper Pratap Sandhu no chance whatsoever. CCBRT United replied tenaciously and came close to knotting the score 5 minutes later when Milad Rahmati was sent on a partial breakaway by Riley O’Neill. However, defender Leo Nash rose to the occasion and stripped the ball from Rahmati before the CCBRT United forward could unleash his final shot. West Van FC practically dominated the remainder of the first half and came close to scoring on numerous occasions. However, chances by Robbie Giezen, Desmond Tachie, Dave O’Connor, and Cathal O’Connor were well-saved by goalkeeper Pratap Sandhu, thus keeping the score at 1-0 till the halftime whistle. Early in the second half, CCBRT United came close to knotting the score when Amir Amiry unleashed what appeared to be an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area. However, with goalkeeper Marco Durante well-beaten, the ball bounced off the goalpost and out of danger. Soon thereafter—at about the 65th minute mark—West Van’s Desmond Tachie scored what could qualify as the goal of the season when he finished off a fine cross from Colin Phillips with a world-class bicycle kick from well inside the penalty area. It should be mentioned that the play originated with Phillips making a great run down the right flank, before crossing the ball into the box. To their credit, the visitors refused to give up and came storming back in search of their first goal. However, chances by Riley O’Neill,  Nick Soolsma, and Bobby Jhutty all went awry. Late in the game, West Van FC put the game out of CCBRT’s reach when Stefan Crameri tapped the ball into the back of the net from close range after a brilliant individual effort by Robbie Giezen. The entire West Van FC squad played extremely well during the entire contest, but special mention should be made of defenders Leo Nash, Mike Winter, Drew Gelley, and Max Baessato for yet another superlative performance as they made life relatively easy for goalkeeper Marco Durante as he recorded a rather easy clean-sheet. Despite the loss, defenders Derrick Bassi and Sam Gill played very well for CCRBT United, while midfielder Joel Malouf and forward Riley O’Neill also performed admirably, albeit in a losing cause.  The all-important victory secures first place for West Van FC, with a final record of 12-4-6, while CCBRT United remains in second place, with 36 points out of 21 games.

INTER FC  -  SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  1-0:  On Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, Inter FC climbed out of the relegation zone, by upsetting the visiting Surrey United Firefighters by a narrow 1-0 margin. The ‘Italians’ got off to a bright start and controlled most of the action in the early stages of the match. Very early in the game, Inter FC almost took the lead when Alex Marrello and Kam Amini combined to set up Milad Mehrabi at the edge of the penalty area. However, Mehrabi’s final shot barely missed the target. Soon thereafter—at the other end of the pitch—Tommy Lowdnes’ perfectly-placed cross was headed towards the Inter goal by Reece Miles. Unortuantely for Miles, and the rest of the Surrey United contingent, the ball sailed over the crossbar. Then, midway through the first half, Inter FC scored the lone goal of the match when Kam Amini took advantage of scramble at the edge of the Surrey United penalty area and fired an unstoppable, low shot into the Firefighters’ net. The first part of the second half was very evenly played—and rather monotonous—as neither team appeared willing to take any unnecessary risks. As time wore on, however, the Firefighters started throwing caution to the wind and exerted some severe pressure on the Inter backline in search of the equalizer. At about the 75th minute mark, Surrey United came close to knotting the score, but Shawn Parkes missed the Inter net by inches, after having received a wonderful cross from Tommy Lowdnes. Then, at the 80th minute mark, Stefan Leslie beat a few Inter defenders before unleashing a thunderous shot that appeared destined for the back of the Inter net. However, goalkeeper Erman Ozkan pulled off a marvellous save as he tipped the ball over crossbar, thus keeping his team in the lead till the final whistle. For Inter FC, goalkeeper Erman Ozkan fully earned his clean-sheet as he made several excellent saves during the contest, while midfielder Alex Marrello also deserves special mention for his tireless effort. For Surrey United, veteran Jeff Clarke demonstrated his remarkable leadership qualities as he organized his backline flawlessly. The very important victory allows Inter FC to remain in the Premier Division during the 2014-15 season, as they climb out of the relegation zone with a 7-4-10 record. The Surrey United Firefighters, on the other hand, remain in 4th place in the standings—and out of the running for first place—with 35 points out of 21 games.

NORVAN FC  --  COLUMBUS FC  3-1:  Also on Saturday, at Confederation Park in North Vancouver, the last place Norvan FC upset the aspiring Columbus FC by a 3-1 margin. The home team got off to a bright start in a desperate attempt to gain all 3 points and was rewarded for its early pressure midway through the first half when Devin Gunenc and Sebastian Crema combined to set up speedy Blake Burgon inside the Columbus penalty area. Without a moment’s hesitation, Burgon controlled the ball and fired it into the back of the Columbus net, thus giving his team the well-deserved early lead. The ‘Italians’ replied tenaciously and almost tied things up a few minutes later when Devon Smith raced down the left flank, cut towards the Norvan net, and blasted what appeared to be an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area. Unfortunately for Smith, and the rest of the Columbus clan, his shot barely missed the target.  Columbus FC continued pressing for the equalizer in the early stages of the second half, but some excellent defending by Norvan’s Kyle Bowman, Brent Dodge, and Kyle Guay kept the vaunted Columbus attackers at bay. Midway through the second half, Columbus FC was finally able to knot the score when Blair Robertson’s perfectly-placed free-kick—from well outside the penalty area—found the back of the net. However, Norvan FC responded positively and scored what proved to be the winning goal at about the 75th minute mark when an excellent cross from Blake Burgon was flicked towards the Columbus penalty area by Stewart Elliot. Sebastian Crema then pounced on the loose ball and hammered it home for what proved to be the winning goal. Shortly thereafter, Crema repeated his previous feat as he scored his second goal of the match—this time off a fine feed by Alex Wilson—thus putting the game out of Columbus’ reach. The entire Norvan team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of goalkeeper Reid Alsop and midfielders Matt Hartwell, Tony Paiero, and Scott Gilroy for their outstanding performances. Also, forward Sebastian Crema deserves special mention for having been involved in all 3 of his team’s goals. Despite the victory, Norvan FC finishes the season in last place, with a 6-5-11 record and will be relegated to Division 1. Columbus FC, on the other hand, remains in 5th place with 33 points out of 21 matches.

ICST PEGASUS  -  CROATIA SC 2-0:  On Sunday, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, ICST Pegasus won its third game in a row by shutting out the visiting Croatia SC by a 2-0 margin. In so doing, Pegasus is now officially out of the relegation zone! The home team took the lead in the opening minute of the match when Reynold Stewart, after having stripped the ball from a Croatian defender, unselfishly set up a wide open Azad Palani who had no difficulty in slotting the ball into the back of the Croatian net from close range. The remainder of the first half was very evenly played with neither team taking any unnecessary risks. The only really good chance came midway through the first half, when Azad Palani’s header barely missed the target. Things opened up a little bit during the second half as the Croatians pushed forward in search of the equalizer. They came close to achieving their goal at about the 65th minute mark when Nicholas Espinosa, Taj Sangara, and David Zaharija combined to set up Kreso Ukalovic at the top of the Pegasus’ penalty area. However, Ukalovic’s final shot was bravely blocked the defender Diaz Kambere, thus keeping the score at 1-0 in Pegasus’ favour. Soon thereafter, ICST Pegasus added insult to Croatia’s injury when David Samra sent an immaculate pass onto the path of Azad Palani who proceeded to finish off the play in clinical fashion, thus giving his team an insurmountable 2-0 lead. Late in the match, Chetan Jhooty and Reynold Stewart combined to set up a wide-open Azad Palani in front of the Croatian net. However, Palani’s attempt to score his third goal of the match was spectacularly denied as goalkeeper Simon Cohen came up with an amazing save. Soon thereafter, Cohen pulled off another great save to deny Reynold Stewart a golden opportunity to score as he raced in on goal on a partial breakaway. Defensively, Gurjit Dhaliwal and David Sumra played extremely well for ICST Pegasus, while midfielders Javid Khan and Adam Costley worked extremely hard throughout the match. Needless to say, Azad Palani deserves special mention for having scored both his team’s goals. For Croatia SC, goalkeeper Simon Cohen, defenders Ryan Zaharija and Eddie Tsen, as well as forwards Johnny Sulentic and Taj Sangara deserve special mention for their outstanding performances, albeit in a losing cause. The hard-earned victory improves ICST Pegasus’ final record to 7-5-10, while Croatia SC remains in 6th place, with 30 points out of 20 games.

COLUMBUS FC  -  SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS   1-0:  On Tuesday evening, at Cloverdale Athletic Park in Surrey, two of the top teams in the Premier Division—Surrey United and Columbus FC—faced off in their last game of the regular season. At the end of 90 minutes of play, the visiting ‘Italians’ walked away with a well-deserved 1-0 victory. Columbus FC almost took the lead midway through the first half when a well-struck free-kick by Blair Robertson was brilliantly saved by Surrey United’s goalkeeper Andrew Fink. Shortly thereafter, it was the Firefighters’ turn to almost take the lead when a cross/shot by Tommy Lowndes was cleared off the line by Columbus’ defender Devon Smith. The rest of the first half was played very cautiously by both teams, as neither one appeared willing to take any chances. Midway through the second half, Columbus FC scored the lone goal of the game when Blair Robertson sent Cory Martinello flying down the right flank with an immaculate pass. Martinello proceeded to beat a couple of Surrey United defenders, cut inside and slotted the ball into the back of the net with a picture-perfect shot. The Columbus backline—composed of Luca Bellisomo, Blair Robertson, Devon Greenside, and Stefano Bortolussi—played extremely well throughout the match and made life relatively easy for goalkeeper Thomas Lindley as he recorded yet another shut-out. It should be mentioned that midfielders Jonathan Poli and Jamie Olson also performed admirably in a winning cause. Despite the loss, Surrey United’s defenders Nigel Marples, Steve Kindel, and Brad Peetoom played remarkably well, while forward Tommy Lowndes was a going concern throughout the contest. Columbus’ victory secures 3rd place—tied with the Metro-Ford Wolves—in the final Premier Division standings, while Surrey United slips to 5th place, with a 10-5-7 record. Furthermore, both teams have now officially qualified for the Provincial Cup playdowns.

 TEAM OF THE WEEK:  WEST VAN FC for its well-earned 3-0 victory over CCBRT United, a result that clinches first place for the former Trollers. For the second week in a row, West Van FC was able to claim the victory via a shut-out, mostly due to the rock-solid performances of defenders Drew Gelley, Mike Winter, Leo Nash, and Max Baessato. Congratulations to the entire West Van FC clan for having won the coveted Premier Division championship!!

 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:  ICST Pegasus’ forward AZAD PALANI and Inter FC’s goalkeeper ERMAN OZKAN for their superlative performances in their teams’ upset victories over Croatia SC and Surrey United respectively. Both victories were of the utmost importance since they catapulted the two teams out of the dreaded relegation zone. Azad Palani was instrumental in ICST Pegasus’ victory since he scored both his team’s goals and was a constant threat throughout the contest. Ozkan, on the other hand, turned in an amazing goalkeeping performance as he earned his shutout by making numerous outstanding saves against the vaunted Surrey United attackers For their outstanding performances this past week, AZAD PALANI and ERMAN OZKAN will each receive a pizza for two, compliments of  THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2014-04-17.

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2014-03-10

 

PREMIER DIVISION MAKE-UP GAMES

 

Five very important Premier Division games were played this past weekend, with something at stake in each of them. However, nothing was settled and the various objectives—league title, Provincial Cup qualifications, and relegation-avoidance—remain in limbo.

WEST VAN FC – METRO-FORD WOLVES  2-0:  On Friday evening, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, the former Trollers remained in contention for the league championship by defeating the young Metro-Ford Wolves by a 2-0 margin. Both teams exchanged various goalscoring opportunities  during the entire match, but West Van FC was able to capitalize on a couple of them, while the Wolves were held scoreless for the entire 90 minutes. The Wolves came close to taking the lead early in the game when Carson Gill’s well-placed cross was headed towards the West Van net by Adam Jones. Unfortunately for the Metro-Ford contingent, the ball barely missed the net. Midway through the first half, West Van FC took the lead when Rob Giezen finished off a first-time effort from just outside the 18-yard box into the bottom corner of the Metro-Ford net after having received a great through ball from Devan Woolley. The visitors replied in kind and came close to tying things up soon thereafter when Andre` Pietramala’s fantastic pass found a wide-open Jules Chopin at the edge of the penalty area. Once again, however, the Wolves were unable to finish off the play as Chopin’s subsequent shot rang off the goalpost and out of danger. The home team came close to adding to its lead in the late stages of the first half on 3 separate occasions, but efforts by Jesse Fetterley, Colin Phillips, and Rob Giezen all went awry. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first, with both teams taking turns attacking and defending. Metro-Ford had a great chance to tie things up early in the second period when Adam Jones’ free-kick was headed towards the West Van goal by young veteran Andrew Veer. However, goalkeeper Garth Lagasse came up with a phenomenal save to keep his team in the lead. Midway through the second half, West Van put the Wolves out of their misery when a well-taken corner kick by Cathal O’Connor was converted into the insurance marker by Jesse Fetterley as he headed the ball home in clinical fashion. To their credit, the Metro-Ford Wolves refused to give up and came close to narrowing the margin late in the game when Hang Sang Yoon found a streaking Luigi Pantusa with an impeccable through ball. However, Pantusa’s final shot barely missed the target, leaving the score at 2-0 till the final whistle. The entire West Van team played remarkably well during the entire match, but special mention should be made of defenders Drew Gelley, Mike Winter, Leo Nash, and Max Baessato for their rock-solid performances. Goalkeeper Garth Lagasse was seldom tested, but fully earned the clean-sheet. For the Wolves, forward Jules Chopin and midfielder Adam Jones also turned in outstanding performances, albeit in a losing cause. The hard-earned victory leap-frogs West Van FC into first place, with a record of 11-4-6, while the Coquitlam Metro-Ford Wolves slip to 3rd place, with 36 points out of 22 games.

EDC FC BURNABY – WESTSIDE FC  2-0:  Also on Friday evening, at Burnaby Lake West Complex, EDC FC Burnaby defeated the visiting Westside FC by a 2-0 margin, a result that leaves the Westsiders in the relegation-danger area. The former Chileans exerted enormous pressure on the Westside defence during the early part of the match and forced veteran goalkeeper Mike Wicken to make a few remarkable saves, in particular on shots by Habil Otieno and Ylya Malek. As the first half wore on, Westside FC started to create its own pressure, with Gavin Barrett hitting the post and also having a couple of his shots well-saved by goalkeeper Hugo Vasquez.  The visitors continued to press during the second half in a desperate attempt to get the all-important 3 points but, once again, they were unable to accomplish their quest. In particular, a great effort by Mike Buree was once again brilliantly saved by Hugo Vasquez. As luck would have it, it was EDC FC Burnaby that took the lead late in the game—at about the 80th minute mark—when Carlos Marquez chipped the ball over Mike Wicken, after having been set up by Eric Ray. Just before the final whistle, EDC Burnaby added its second tally of the match when Ricardo Alvarado converted a fine pass by Habil Otieno into the insurance marker, with an unstoppable, low shot. For EDC Burnaby, central defenders Mynor Campos and Stedman Espinoza played remarkably well, while forward Brian Dottin had an enormous impact on the outcome of the game when he entered the field in the second half. Needless the say, goalkeeper Hugo Vasquez also deserves special mention for having made several outstanding saves, thus earning the shut-out. For Westside FC, forwards Mike Buree and Gavin Barrett were going concerns during most of the game, while goalkeeper Mike Wicken also performed admirably. The EDC Burnaby victory ends the Chileans’ season with a record of 7-6-9, presently good for 7th place in the standings—and with a slight chance of making the Provincial Cup playdowns. Westside FC has also finished its season, with a 6-5-11 record and a slim chance of avoiding relegation.

CCBRT UNITED  --  SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS   4-2:  The third Friday evening game was played at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey and featured two of the top teams in the Premier Division: the hosting CCBRT United and the visiting Surrey United Firefighters.  At the end of 90 minutes of non-stop action the home team walked away with a hard-earned 4-2 victory. CCBRT United started exerting pressure on the Surrey United backline from the opening whistle and came close to scoring early in the match when newly-signed Riley O’Neill was stymied—on two separate occasions—by Surrey United’s goalkeeper Andrew Fink. Finally, at the 10th minute mark, CCBRT United took the well-deserved lead when Sameer Grewal sent Phil Lensky down the right flank with an excellent pass. Lensky proceeded to make a great run before crossing the ball into the Surrey United penalty area where a wide-open James Merriman had no difficulty whatsoever in one-timing the ball into the net for the opening goal. The Firefighters replied tenaciously and tied things up at the 25th minute mark when Colin Streckmann calmly converted a penalty kick into the tying goal. It should be mentioned that the spot shot was called when veteran Jeff Clarke—former Whitecaps’ captain—was fouled inside the penalty area by Avin Sidhu. Surrey United continued pressing and took the lead at the 35th minute mark when Angus Burke’s blistering shot was saved by goalkeeper Luke O’Shea, only to have Sean Einarsson pick up the rebound and slot the ball into the empty net from close range. Early in the second half—at about the 55th minute mark—CCBRT United knotted the score when Milad Rahmati sent a great through ball onto the path of Riley O’Neill, who proceeded to skillfully control the ball before volleying it into the top corner of the Surrey United net, giving goalkeeper Andrew Fink no chance whatsoever. At the 70th minute mark, Surrey United came close to retaking the lead, but Angus Burke’s blazing shot was brilliantly saved by Luke O’Shea. As luck would have it, it was CCBRT United that scored what proved to be the winning goal at about the 75th minute mark when Milad Rahmati took advantage of a great individual effort on the part of Riley O’Neill and calmly finished off the play by converting O’Neill’s pass into the go-ahead goal. Late in the game, CCBRT United put the game out of Surrey United’s reach when Phil Lensky won a battle in the CCBRT United’s half of the field, before passing the ball to Jacob Lensky who proceeded to make an incredible run towards the Surrey United goal. As he approached the 18-yard box, Jacob Lensky unselfishly passed the ball to Milad Rahmati who, after beating a couple of Surrey United defenders, slotted the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Andrew Fink and into the net. For CCBRT United, midfelders James Merriman, Phil Lensky, and Jacob Lensky turned in superlative performances as they controlled the middle of the park with speed and skill. Also, forwards Milad Rahmati and Riley O’Neill were thorns on the side of the Surrey United defenders during the entire contest. Despite giving up 4 goals, Surrey United’s goalkeeper Andrew Fink was outstanding as he pulled off several remarkable saves to keep the scoreline respectable. The well-earned victory elevates CCBRT United into 2nd place in the Premier Division standings, with a record of 11-3-6, while the Firefighters slip to 4th place, with 35 points out of 20 games.

ICST PEGASUS  -  LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  5-0:  On Saturday, at McLeod Park in Langley, the visiting ICST Pegasus kept its hopes of avoiding relegation alive by trouncing the hosting Langley FC Hurricanes by a decisive, and somewhat embarrassing, 5-0 margin. Midway through the first half, ICST Pegasus took the well-deserved lead on a clever—and somewhat cheeky—back-heel by Goldy Takhar. The play originated when defender Paul Bahia delivered a long ball over---and behind—the Langley backline onto the path of Sahil Sandhu. Sandhu then controlled the ball and quickly crossed it into the penalty area to a wide-open Goldy Takhar. The floodgates opened up in the second half as the visitors controlled every aspect of the game, and scored 4 more goals. At the 60th minute mark, Reynold Stewart and Javid Khan combined to set up Chetan Jhooty, who proceeded to settle the ball before firing it into the back of the Langley net for the insurance marker. Soon thereafter—at about the 70th minute mark—Chetan Jhooty scored his second goal of the match in similar fashion as he controlled a clever pass from Diaz Kambere before finding the back of the net. A few minutes later, it was Sahil Sandhu’s turn to add insult to Langley’s injury as his wicked, long-range, shot found the top corner of the home team’s net. Then, late in the game, Sahil Sandhu became the provider when he sent an impeccable cross into the Hurricanes penalty area, a cross that Jag Gill finished off without any difficulty. Needles the say, the entire Pegasus team played extremely well, but special mention should be made of defenders Omari Aldridge and Diaz Kambere for their rock-solid performances. Also, forwards Goldy Takhar and Reynold Stewart were a handful for the Langley defenders during the entire match. The all-important victory improves ICST Pegasus’ record to 6-5-10, good for 9th place in the standings, and out of the dreaded relegation zone! On the other hand, the Langley FC Hurricanes drop to 8th place in the standings, with 25 points from 21 matches, and with still a slight chance of qualifying for the Provincial Cup playdowns!

COLUMBUS FC  -  INTER FC  1-0:  On Sunday, at Vancouver Technical School, Columbus FC edged Inter FC in what could be described the ‘Italian Derby’.  Columbus FC scored the only goal of the contest at the 30th minute mark when Cory Martinello found Kazunori Kikuchi inside the Inter penalty area with an impeccable pass. Kikuchi proceeded to beat a couple of Inter defenders before clinically placing the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Columbus FC came close to doubling its lead midway through the second half when Devon Smith raced in on goal on a partial breakaway, but inexplicably missed the target with his final shot. Soon thereafter, Smith once again came close to scoring when he received a great pass from Jonathan Poli and blasted the ball towards the Inter net from close range. However, goalkeeper Erman Ozkan came up with an amazing save to keep the score at 1-0 till the final whistle. It should be mentioned that Inter FC came close to equalizing in the late stages of the match when Cristian Tropeano failed to take advantage of a semi-breakaway when he blasted the ball directly into goalkeeper Thomas Lindley’s midsection from close range. Defensively, Luca Bellisomo, Graham Smith, and Blair Robertson played extremely well for Columbus FC as they made life relatively easy for goalkeeper Thomas Lindley as he recorded yet another clean-sheet. Forward Kazunori Kikuchi also deserves special mention for his brilliant performance as he drove the Inter defenders to distraction with his speed, skill, and tenacity during the entire match. Inter’s goalkeeper Erman Ozkan played remarkably well as he made several key saves, thus keeping the scoreline respectable. The victory solidifies Columbus’ hold on 5th place, with a 10-3-7 record, while Inter FC slips into the relegation zone—in 11th  place—with only 22 points out of 20 games.

 TEAM OF THE WEEK:  WEST VAN FC for its hard-earned 2-0 victory over the Coquitlam Metro-Ford Wolves. Led by the outstanding performances of defenders Drew Gelley, Mike Winter, Leo Nash, and Max Baessato, the former Trollers fully deserved the 3 points. As a result of the victory, West Van FC is now back in first place in the Premier Division standings.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:  CCBRT United’s forwards MILAD RAHMATI and RILEY O’NEILL for their fantastic performances in their team’s 4-2 victory over the Surrey United Firefighters. Both players were thorns on the side of the Surrey United defenders during the entire contest and managed to score 3 of their team’s goals in brilliant fashion. For their outstanding performances this past week, MILAD RAHMATI and RILEY O’NEILL will each receive a pizza for two, compliments of  THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2014-04-10.

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2014-03-03

PREMIER DIVISION – MAKE-UP GAMES

 

Four make-up games were played this past weekend with a couple of big upsets taking place, making things more and more interesting at the top and at the  bottom of the table.  In fact, 6 teams remain in contention for first place, while the other 6 teams are still in the dreaded relegation-danger zone!

CROATIA SC  --  WEST VAN FC  1-0:  On Friday evening, at Andy Livingstone Park in Vancouver, Croatia SC pretty well put an end to West Van FC’s aspirations of winning the Premier Division title by defeating the former Trollers by a narrow 1-0 margin. The first half was very evenly played as both teams took turns attacking in search of the all-important first goal. Early in the game, Croatia’s Taj Sangara and Colin Jacques played a brilliant one-two that resulted in Jacques taking a wicked shot from a sharp angle, a shot that barely missed the target. West Van FC responded in kind and created a few scoring chances but efforts by Desmond Tachie, Corey Birza, and Jesse Fetterley were all brilliantly saved by young goalkeeper Ante Boskovic. Late in the first half Croatia SC almost took the lead when Daniel Rogic and Eddie Tsen played a clever give-and-go that led to Tsen sending Taj Sangara down the right flank on a partial breakaway. However, Sangara’s low shot went inches wide of the West Van net. West Van FC controlled most of the action during the second half and—once again—created several excellent goalscoring opportunities. Once again, however, goalkeeper Ante Boskovic rose to the occasion and made some outstanding saves, particularly on shots by Desmond Tachie, Rob Giezen, and Cathal O’Connor. As luck would have it, it was Croatia SC that scored what proved to be the winning goal midway through the second half when Ali Al-Chaer was brought down inside the West Van penalty area by Colin Phillips, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to the Croatians. Veteran Johnny Sulentic stepped up to the plate and easily converted the spot shot in his own inimitable manner. Soon thereafter, Croatia SC almost doubled its lead when Eddie Tsen—after having made a great run down the right flank—sent a dangerous, low cross into the West Van 18-yard box onto the path of Colin Jacques, whose subsequent shot barely missed the net. With about 10 minutes remaining in the contest. Croatia’s Jan Vrenko was sent off the field of play for having received his second caution of the match, reducing his team to 10 men. Soon thereafter, Croatia SC was reduced to 9 men when Matteo Serka was ejected for having committed a serious foul play infraction. To their credit, the Croatians hung on tenaciously and maintained their one-goal lead till the final whistle.  Defensively, Paris Gee played remarkably well for Croatia SC, while forwards Johnny Sulentic and Taj Sangara were very dangerous, particularly on counter-attacks. Needless to say, however, goalkeeper Ante Boskovic was the main reason Croatia SC was able to lay claim to all 3 points as he made several spectacular saves, particularly in the second half. Despite the heart-breaking loss, West Van’s backline—composed of Trevor Short, Leo Nash, Max Baessato, and Mike Winter—was rock-solid during the entire match, while midfielders Cathal O’Connor and Colin Phillips also played very well. The hard-earned victory improves Croatia SC’s record to 8-6-6, good for 6th place in the Premier Division standings, while West Van FC drops to 3rd place, with 34 points out of 20 matches.

INTER FC  -- LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  2-1:  Also on Friday evening, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, Inter FC increased its chances of remaining in the Premier Division by edging the visiting Langley FC Hurricanes by a slim 2-1 margin. The first half was quite evenly played, but rather uneventful as neither team appeared willing to take any unnecessary risks. The Hurricanes created an early opportunity to score—at about the 15th minute mark—when Amar Mander and Pavi Dhillon played a clever give-and-go only to have Dhillon’s final shot barely miss the net. With about 10 minutes to go in the first half, Inter FC took the lead when Milad Mehrabi sent Tino Cucca flying down the left flank with an impeccable pass. Cucca’s subsequent cross was then volleyed into the back of the net by defender Kam Amini. Very late in the first half, Langley FC almost tied things up when Gary Badesha’s well-taken free-kick sailed just wide of the net, with goalkeeper Erman Ozkan well beaten. . Early in the second half, Inter FC almost doubled its lead when Milad Mehrabi unleashed  a wicked close-range shot, only to have veteran goalkeeper Drew Smiley pull off a sensational save.  At the other end of the pitch, Harpreet Khakh took advantage of an Inter defensive blunder, raced in on goal on a breakaway, only to have goalkeeper Erman Ozkan come up with a semi-miraculous save. Soon thereafter, the Hurricanes were able to tie things up—at about the 75th minute mark—when Arjan Grewal took advantage of a bizarre goalmouth scramble and finally slotted the ball home from close range. Soon thereafter, Langley’s Navjot Thind was sent off for having committed a violent conduct infraction, thus reducing his team to 10 men for the remainder of the game. Inter FC took advantage of the situation and scored the winning goal with about 8 minutes remaining in the match when Tino Cucca finished off an excellent individual effort with a sharp-angled shot from the edge of the penalty area. The Hurricanes responded positively and almost knotted the score late in the game, but Erman Ozkan once again pulled off a brilliant save, this time on a shot by Amar Mander. Midfielders Alex Marrello and Joseph Marrello once again played extremely well for Inter FC, while defender Kam Amini not only scored the opening goal in clinical fashion but also performed admirably in his defensive role. Needless to say, however, goalkeeper Erman Ozkan was the main reason Inter FC was able to capture all 3 points as he made several outstanding saves during the entire 90 minutes of play. For Langley FC, defenders Jesse Dhami, Arjan Grewal, Danny Badesha, and veteran Steve Millar played extremely well, albeit in a losing cause. As mentioned earlier, the all-important victory improves Inter FC’s chances of avoiding relegation as they are now sitting in 10th place, with a 6-4-9 record. Langley FC, on the other hand, remains in 7th place, with 25 points out of 20 games.     

ICST PEGASUS -  WESTSIDE FC  5-1:   The third Friday evening game was played at Newton Athletic Park between two teams in desperate need of points: the last place ICST Pegasus and the visiting Westside FC. At the end of 90 minutes of play, ICST Pegasus came away with a well-earned 5-1 victory over the struggling visitors. The home team came out of the starting gate with vigour and took charge of the game from the opening whistle. At the 15th minute mark, ICST Pegasus took the well-deserved lead when Reynold Stewart converted a fine cross from Sahil Sandhu into the opening goal. To their credit, the Westsiders responded positively and started exerting some pressure of their own. However, a fine effort by Gavin Barrett was brilliantly saved by Pegasus’ goalkeeper Amar Dhinsa and therefore kept the visiting team off the scoreboard. As luck would have it, it was ICST Pegasus that managed to score the next goal, as Sahil Sandhu took advantage of a lethal counter-attack and was able to finish off a splendid pass from Reynold Stewart into what proved to be the winning goal. Then, at about the 35th minute mark, young Reynold Stewart added his second goal of the contest on a fine individual effort. Just before the halftime whistle, Westside FC was able to narrow the margin when Danny Lewis’ well-executed corner kick was headed home by Grayson Allen. The late first half goal seemed to spark the Westsiders as they pushed forward tenaciously during the first part of the second half. However, a great opportunity by Kyung Hung Gee was once again brilliantly saved by Amar Dhinsa and subsequently bounced off the crossbar and out of danger. The luckless Westsiders were then punished—once again on a counter-attack—when Jag Gill set up Reynold Stewart inside the Westside goal area with a picture-perfect pass. Stewart had no difficulty in finishing off his hat-trick with an easy tap-in. The fourth Pegasus goal seemed to deflate the Westsiders as they allowed ICST Pegasus to take control of the match. Late in the contest, substitute Azad Palani set up Sahil Sandhu with an excellent pass, a pass that Sandhu converted into the final goal of the match as he raced by a couple of Westside defenders before slotting the ball home. The entire Pegasus team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of attacking midfielder Reynold Stewart as he scored three excellent goals and was a constant thorn on the side of the Westside defenders, particularly on counter-attacks. Also, defender Paul Bahia turned in a rock-solid performance during the entire game. For Westside FC, young forward Grayson Allen was dangerous during the whole match, as he drove the Pegasus defenders to distraction with his pace and skill. The very important victory improves ICST Pegasus’ record to 5-5-10, while Westside FC remains in 9th place, with 23 points out of 21 games.

 COQUITLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES  --  NORVAN FC  2-0:   The lone Saturday game was played at Windsor Park in North Vancouver between the hosting Norvan FC and the visiting Metro-Ford Wolves.  As a result of the Wolves’ 2-0 victory, Norvan FC is now mired in last place in the Premier Division standings, while Metro-Ford has climbed into sole possession of first place. The home team got off to a bright start and exerted a lot of pressure on the Metro-Ford defence in the early going. However, goalscoring chances by Ashley Bradshaw and Blake Burgon went awry. The Wolves also came close to scoring in the late stages of the first half when Adam Jones found a wide-open Carson Gill at the far post with an immaculate cross. However, Gill’s final shot barely missed a wide-open Norvan net, thus keeping the game scoreless till the halftime whistle. The Wolves took control of the match during the second half and were rewarded at the 55th minute mark when Jules Chopin received an excellent pass from defender Kyle Jones and proceeded to blast the ball into the top corner of the Norvan net, giving goalkeeper Graeme Tingey no chance whatsoever. Ten minutes later, Metro-Ford put the game out of Norvan’s reach when a long punt by goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato was controlled by Lucas Reis who then proceeded to beat a couple of Norvan defenders before slotting the ball home for the insurance marker. Metro-Ford’s backline—composed of Kyle Jones, Carson Gill, Anthony DiNicolo, and Devin Phelan once again performed extremely well and made life relatively easy for goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato as he recorded a clean-sheet. Midfielder Andre` Pietramala and forward Jules Chopin also deserve special mention for their admirable performances. For Norvan FC, defender Tony Peiro, forward Ashley Bradshaw, and midfielders Devin Delaney and Devin Gunech turned in outstanding performances, albeit in a losing effort. The victory improves Metro-Ford’s record to a commendable 10-6-5, good for first place in the Premier Division standings, while Norvan FC drops to last place, with only 20 points out of 21 matches.

 TEAM OF THE WEEK:  CROATIA SC for yet another upset victory, this one at the expense of West Van FC in a very important league game. Led by the excellent performances of veteran forward Johnny Sulentic and young goalkeeper Ante Boskovic, the Croatians were able to beat the aspiring West Van FC by a narrow 1-0 margin, a result that decreases the former Trollers’ chances of winning the league championship.

 PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  ICST Pegasus’ young midfielder REYNOLD STEWART for his remarkable performance in his team’s 5-1 victory over Westside FC. Not only did Stewart work tirelessly during the entire match, but he also scored 3 brilliant goals and assisted on another.  For his remarkable performance this past weekend, REYNOLD STEWART will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of the GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available until 2014-03-20.

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2014-02-25

IMPERIAL CUP – QUARTER-FINALS

 

All four quarter-final matches were played on Friday evening, with one huge upset taking place, as Inter FC sent the league-leading Surrey United Firefighters packing as a result of a narrow 2-1 victory.  

WEST VAN FC  -  AJYAL TIGERS  2-1:  On Friday evening, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, one of the top teams in the Premier Division—West Van FC—faced the only remaining Division 1 team—Ajyal Tigers—in what turned out to be a very interesting and entertaining match. As expected, the heavily-favoured West Van FC controlled most of the play during the first half and were able to take the lead at the 20th minute mark when a perfectly executed cross by Paul Dailly was volleyed towards the Ajyal net by Corey Birza. However, goalkeeper Hamidreza Naderi pull off a remarkable save, only to have Rob Giezen pick up the rebound and slot the ball home from close range. The former Trollers continued to press forward and created several excellent goalscoring opportunities during the remainder of the first half. However, efforts by Corey Birza, Desmond Tachie, Rob Giezen, and Paul Dailly either missed the target or were well-saved by goalkeeper Hamidreza Naderi. Very early in the second half, West Van FC scored what proved to be the winning goal with Paul Dailly once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Dailly sent a dangerous, low cross into the Ajyal goal area, a cross that found a wide-open Desmond Tachie, who had no difficulty whatsoever in converting it into his team’s second goal. To their credit, the underdog Tigers responded positively and started exerting some pressure on the West Van defence. They were finally able to narrow the margin at the 75th minute mark when Ramsey Alfantasi sent Oriol Torres towards the West Van with an excellent through ball. Torres proceeded to blast the ball into the back of the net, giving goalkeeper Garth Lagasse no chance whatsoever. Very late in the game, the Ajyal Tigers came very close to knotting the score when a scissors-kick shot by Murtada Almatrood—on a cross by Oriol Torres—hit the right post, bounced across the goal-line, and finally hit the left post! As a result, the score remained 2-1 in West Van’s favour till the final whistle. Veteran Paul Dailly was at his best in the West Van FC midfield, along with Alan McIndoe, as they controlled the middle of the park with poise and skill. Forwards Des Tachie and Rob Giezen also deserve special mention as they created numerous problems for the Tigers’ backline as they used their speed and skill to full advantage. Fort he Ajyal Tigers, defenders Arved Poetter and Andre` Perez were rock-solid, while forwards Oriol Torres and Ramsey Alfantasi turned in dynamic performances. The hard-earned victory advances West Van FC to the semi-finals of the Imperial Cup where they will face another underdog team—Inter FC.

COLUMBUS FC  -  METRO-FORD WOLVES  3-2 PKs :   Also on Friday evening, at Coquitlam Town Centre Stadium, two of the top teams in the VMSL Premier Division—Metro-Ford Wolves and Columbus FC—faced off in an attempt to gain a spot in the Imperial Cup semi-finals. At the end of the day, the more experienced Columbus team walked away with a hard-earned victory, a result that had to be settled by penalty kicks. The ‘Italians’ got on the scoreboard very early in the game when young Cory Martinello’s cross into the Metro-Ford penalty area was finished off by Kazunori Kikucki in clinical fashion. A few moments later, the Coquitlam team knotted the score when Adam Jones beat a couple of defenders before being fouled inside the penalty area by Grahm Smith, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to the home team. Jones himself stepped up to the plate and calmly converted the spot shot into the tying goal. Late in the first half, Columbus FC retook the lead, once again on a goal by Kazunori Kikuchi. On this occasion, Steve DeBlasio’s cross/shot was redirected into the Metro-Ford net by a very alert—and well-positioned—Kikuchi. Once again, however, the Wolves stormed back and were able to tie things up just before the halftime whistle when Jules Chopin—after having received a great ball from Hang Sang Yoon—found a streaking Carson Gill at the far post with a wonderful cross. Gill proceeded to head the ball into the back of the Columbus net for the equalizer. Early in the second half, Columbus FC was reduced to 10 men when Sheu Fortunato was sent off for having committed a serious foul play infraction. The Wolves failed to take advantage of the situation and the remainder of the second half was very evenly played. Both teams exchanged goalscoring chances in the late stages of regulation time, but Columbus’ Kazunori Kikuchi and Metro-Ford’s Adam Jones and Jules Chopin had their clear-cut chances brilliantly saved by goalkeepers Dillan Fogliato and Thomas Lindley respectively. Most of the two 15-minutes overtime periods were uneventful as neither team seemed eager to throw caution to the wind. The best scoring opportunity came very late in the second overtime period when Metro-Ford’s Adam Jones’ corner kick was headed towards the Columbus goal by veteran Andrew Veer, only to have Thomas Lindley pull off a sensational save. As a result of the 2-2 overtime draw, the match had to be settled by the dreaded penalty kicks! Luca Bellisomo, Robbie Cairns, and Kozo Manome found the back of the net on the first 3 Columbus shots, while Metro-Ford’s Adam Jones, Luigi Pantusa, and Domenico Delli Santi were robbed by 3 amazing saves by Thomas Lindley. As a result, Columbus FC was awarded the hard-earned victory, a result that advances the ‘Italians’ to the semi-finals of the Imperial Cup. For Columbus FC, defenders Blair Robertson, Graham Smith, Luca Bellisomo, and Nathan Quan played extremely well, particularly during the second half—as well as the overtime periods—when their team was reduced to 10 players. Also, midfielders Robbie Cairns and Kozo Manone worked very hard during the entire match. Needless to say, goalkeeper Thomas Lindley was the main reason for Columbus’ success as he made 3 unbelievable saves in the penalty kick shoot-out. For Metro-Ford, veteran Andrew Veer controlled the tempo of the match in his midfield position, while midfielder Andre` Pietramala and forward Adam Jones also performed remarkably well, albeit in a losing cause. Columbus FC will now face ICST Pegasus in the semi-finals of the coveted Imperial Cup.           

ICST PEGASUS -  WESTSIDE FC  4-0:   The third Friday evening game was played at Newton Athletic Park between two Premier Division teams: the hosting ICST Pegasus and the visiting Westside FC. As the score indicates, the match was very one-sided as the resurging ICST Pegasus dominated virtually every aspect of the contest. The opening goal was scored at the 15th minute mark when Goldy Takhar tried to chip the ball over a charging Westside goalkeeper—Simon Eaddy—but the ball bounced off the goalpost and back onto the path of Takhar. Before Takhar was able to shoot the rebound towards the Westside net, he was fouled by defender Jacob Quail, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to ICST Pegasus. Chetan Jhooty stepped up to the plate and easily converted the spot shot for what proved to be the winning goal. Led by Goldy Takhar’s indomitable effort, ICST Pegasus continued to press in search of a second goal. The home team was able to double its lead at about the 35th minute mark when Goldy Takhar was rewarded for his remarkable performance as he blasted an unstoppable stop from the edge of the 18-yard box, after having received an excellent pass from Reynold Stewart. Early in the second half, ICST Pegasus put the match out of Westside’s reach when Brendan Campbell’s well-played cross was easily tapped into the back of the net by a wide-open Javid Khan. Midway through the second half, ICST Pegasus scored again, this time when Adam Costley’s dangerous cross was inadvertently redirected into his own net by Westside’s Jacob Quail. Needless to say, the entire ICST Pegasus team played extremely well, but special mention should be made of midfielder Reynold Stewart and forwards Goldy Takhar and Sahil Sandhu who performed brilliantly during the entire match. The victory advances ICST Pegasus to the semi-finals of the Imperial Cup where they will take on the highly-rated Columbus FC.

INTER FC  -  SUREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  2-1:   The fourth, and final, Friday evening game was played at Cloverdale Athletic Park between the league leading Surrey United Firefighters and the visiting Inter FC. Surprisingly, the underdog ‘Italians’ pulled off an amazing 2-1 upset victory over the Firefighters after a hard-fought 90 minutes of play. Inter FC controlled most of the play in the early stages of the game and came close to taking the lead when Alex Marrello’s blistering shot bounced off the goalpost and out of danger. Shortly thereafter—at about the 20th minute mark—the visitors took the well-deserved lead when Milad Mehrabi collected the ball well outside the Surrey United penalty area, beat a couple of defenders, and proceeded to unleash an unstoppable shot to the bottom right hand corner of the net. The Firefighters replied tenaciously and came close to knotting the score shortly thereafter when Tom Lowndes set up newcomer Goran Vitic with an excellent pass. Unfortunately for Surrey United, Vitic’s final shot sailed over the crossbar. A few minutes later—at the 30 minute mark—the Firefighters were able to tie things up when Vinnie Stewart converted a well-executed corner kick by Tom Lowndes with a wicked shot from the edge of the penalty area, a shot that gave goalkeeper Erman Ozkan no chance whatsoever. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first as both teams tried hard to score the go-ahead goal. At about the 75th mark, Inter FC was finally able to take the lead when Andrew Corazza and Marco Visintin played a clever one-two at the edge of the Surrey United penalty area, a play that resulted in Visintin hammering the ball into the back of the net for what proved to be the winning goal. Very late in the contest, Surrey United came very close to knotting the score when Nigel Marples controlled the ball inside the Inter penalty area and drove what appeared to be an unstoppable shot towards the net. Unfortunately for Marples—and the rest of the Surrey United clan—the ball bounced off the goalpost and out of danger. For Inter FC, defenders Matt Allard and Bryan Fong played extremely well as they kept the vaunted Surrey United attackers at bay for most the game. Midfielders Alex Marrello and Joseph Marrello—as well as forward Milad Mehrabi—also deserve special mention for their consistently tenacious performances. Despite the heart-breaking loss, Surrey United’s Vinnie Stewart, Tom Lowndes, and Nigel Marples worked extremely hard during the entire contest. The hard-earned victory advances Inter FC into the semi-finals of the Imperial Cup, where they will meet another top-notch team—West Van FC.

PREMIER DIVISION – MAKE-UP GAME

Two Premier Division make-up games were scheduled to be played this past weekend, featuring 4 teams that had previously been knocked out of the Imperial Cup playdowns. However, because of the horrific snowfall, the Saturday game between Langley FC and CCBRT United had to be postponed.

CROATIA SC  -  EDC FC BURNABY  2-1:  On Friday evening, at South Memorial Park in Vancouver, Croatia SC hosted EDC FC Burnaby in what turned out to be a very interesting match. Both teams exchanged numerous chances during the entire match but, at the end of the day, the Croatians prevailed by a 2-1 margin. The Chileans controlled the play in the early stages of the game, but efforts by Omid Ahmadi, Geordie Penman, and Eric Ray went awry. At the other end of the pitch, the Croatians also came close to scoring, but a long-range shot by Paris Gee rang off the outside of the goalpost, with the Chilean goalkeeper—Hugo Vasquez—well-beaten. Late in the first half, Croatia SC took the lead when a patented Johnny Sulentic free-kick was flicked towards the near post by Jan Vrenko. Taj Sangara reacted quickly and clinically finished off the play with a close-range header. During the opening stages of the second half, the Burnaby team pressed hard in search of the equalizer and created a few excellent opportunities to score. However, clear-cut chances by Narcisse Tchoumi and Brian Dottin were well-saved by goalkeeper Ante Boskovic. Finally, at the 75th minute mark, EDC Burnaby was able to knot the score when Ylya Malek and Habil Otieno combined to set up Brian Dottin at the edge of the Croatia goal area. Dottin had no difficulty in finishing off the play from close range with a clinical tap-in. Soon thereafter, the Croatians re-established their lead on a lethal counter-attack as Johnny Sulentic raced down the left flank before crossing the ball onto the path of Nicholas Espinoza who proceeded to cut the ball back to Paris Gee, whose final shot found the back of the Burnaby net.  Once again, the Chileans bounced back tenaciously and came close to re-knotting the score on a couple of occasions, but chances by Eric Ray and Habil Otieno went awry as they both hit the goalpost with their shots. At the other end of the field, Croatia SC also came close to scoring in the late stages of the match, but efforts by Johnny Sulentic and Nicholas Espinoza barely missed the net. For Croatia SC, young goalkeeper Ante Boskovic played extremely well as he kept the vaunted Chilean attackers at bay, while defender Paris Gee and forwards Johnny Sulentic and Taj Sangara also deserve special mention for their outstanding performances. Despite the loss, the entire EDC Burnaby team played quite well, but special mention should be made of midfielders Eric Ray and Habil Otieno for their superlative performances, while forwards Brian Dottin and Omid Ahmadi also played remarkably well, albeit in a losing cause. As a result of the victory, Croatia SC climbs into 6th place in the Premier Division standings, with a 7-6-6 record, while EDC Burnaby remains in 8th place, with 24 points out of 21 games.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  INTER FC for their stunning upset victory over the highly-favoured Surrey United Firefighters in an Imperial Cup quarter-final match. Led by the brilliant performances of midfielders Alex Marrello and Joseph Marrello, Inter FC fully deserved the unexpected victory. As a result, the ‘Italians’ will now progress to the quarter-finals of the Imperial Cup.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Columbus FC’s goalkeeper THOMAS LINDLEY for his incredible performance in his team’s 3-2 PKs victory over the hosting Metro-Ford Wolves. Not only did Lindley make a few excellent saves during regulation time and overtime, he also saved all 3 Metro-Ford penalty kicks during the shoot-out. It should be mentioned that all 3 shots were well-taken, and not easy to save! For his remarkable performance this past weekend, THOMAS LINDLEY will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of the GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available until 2014-03-13.

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2014-02-18

IMPERIAL CUP – ROUND OF 16

 

Two upsets took place in the Round of 16 Imperial Cup playdowns this past weekend as the Division 1 Ajyal Tigers disposed of the Premier Division EDC FC Burnaby by a 3-2 score, while the last place ICST Pegasus managed to eliminate CCBRT United by a 2-1 margin. The other 6 matches ended with predictable scorelines, thus making next week’s semi-finals very interesting.

AJYAL TIGERS  -  EDC FC BURNABY  3-2:  On Friday evening, at Burnaby Lake West Complex, the Premier Division EDC FC Burnaby hosted the Division 1 Ajyal Tigers in a game that provided the numerous fans with plenty of excitement. .At the end of the day, the Tigers walked away with an impressive 3-2 upset victory. The Chileans got off to a bright start and forced the Tigers’ goalkeeper—Hamidreza Naderi—to make a few excellent saves early in the game. In particular, shots by Brian Dottin, Habil Otieno, Ylya Malek, Mynor Campos, and Eric Ray were all brilliantly saved by Naderi. Finally, midway through the first half, EDC Burnaby was able to take the lead when Carlos Marquez set up Habil Otieno with an excellent pass. Otieno’s final shot—from the left side of the penalty area—gave goalkeeper Naderi no chance whatsoever, thus giving EDC Burnaby the well-deserved lead. The visiting Tigers bounced back positively and were able to tie things up 10 minute later when EDC’s goalkeeper—Hugo Vasquez—fouled Omar Bakhamees inside the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded. Murtada Almatrood stepped up to the plate, but his spot shot was brilliantly saved by Vasquez. However, Oriol Torres picked up the rebound and slotted the ball home for the tying goal. The Chileans came close to retaking the lead on two occasions in the late stages of the first half, but Carlos Marquez missed the net with his close-range shot, while Eric Ray had his attempt was thwarted by goalkeeper Hamidreza Naderi, as he made yet another fine save. The Ajyal Tigers scored twice in rapid succession during the early part of the second half, as forward Murtada Almatrood scored both goals. Almatrood’s first goal was the result of a blistering shot from the edge of the penalty area, while his second was a clever chip shot that went over the head of the EDC goalkeeper, Hugo Vasquez. EDC Burnaby was able to narrow the Tigers’ margin at the 75th minute mark when Ylya Malek’s shot was initially saved by Hamidreza Naderi. However, Stedman Espinoza took advantage of the ensuring goal-mouth scramble, picked up the rebound and easily finished off the play from close range. Needless to say, the Chileans threw caution to the wind at this point, in a desperate attempt to score the equalizer. However, efforts by Habil Otieno, Carlos Marquez, and Eric Ray all went awry. Just before the final whistle, EDC Burnaby was awarded a penalty kick when the Tigers’ Cedomir Radulovic committed a serious foul play infraction against Stedman Espinoza. However, Habil Otieno had his subsequent spot shot saved by Hamidreza Naderi. To add insult to EDC’s injury, Omhid Ahmadi picked up the rebound but inexplicably fired the ball over the crossbar, thus leaving the score at 3-2 in Ajyal’s favour. Forward Murtada Almatrood was the Ajyal Tigers’ player of the match as he scored two great goals and created numerous problems for the Chilean backline. Also, midfielder Omar Bakhmees and goalkeeper Hamidreza Naderi turned in excellent performances in a winning cause. For EDC Burnaby, midfielder Stedman Espinoza, as well as forwards Eric Ray and Carlos Marquez deserve special mention for their commendable efforts, albeit in a losing cause. As a result of the upset victory, the Ajyal Tigers advance to the quarter-finals of the Imperial Cup where they will square off against the powerful West Van FC.

INTER FC  -  VANCOUVER OLYMPICS  4-1 OT:   Also on Friday evening, at Queen’s Park in New Westminster, another Division 1 vs. Premier Division match took place, this one between the hosting Vancouver Olympics and the visiting Inter FC. The result had to be settled in overtime, since regulation time ended in a 1-1 tie. Strangely, Inter FC was able to score 3 unanswered goals during the 30 minutes of overtime and therefore claimed a 4-1 victory.  Inter FC dominated proceedings during the firt half, but the Vancouver Olympics defended remarkably well and were able to limit the Inter scoring chances to a minimum. However, at about the 30th minute mark, Inter FC was finally able to score when Alex Marrello hammered the ball into the back of the net with a blistering shot from the right corner of the penalty area. The Olympics threw caution to the wind during the second half and started to create several excellent chances to score. However, some phenomenal goalkeeping on the part of Inter’s Erman Ozkan kept the ‘Italians’ in the lead till midway through the second half. At this point, Ashif Ismail was finally able to score the equalizer after Philip Mandic’s point-blank shot was brilliantly saved by Erman Ozkan. Ismail was ‘Johnny on the spot’ as he picked up the rebound and calmly deposited the ball into the back of the net for the tying goal. The rest of regulation time was a rather dull affair as neither team appeared willing to take any risks, thus forcing the match to go into overtime. Very early in the first overtime period, Donald Kambere gave Inter FC the lead when his mis-hit cross from the right flank found its way into the net, fooling inexperienced goalkeeper Carmine Pannozzo. Late in the first overtime period, Inter FC scored what proved to be the insurance marker when Alex Marrello made a fabulous solo run towards the Olympics’ goal, beat several defenders, rounded the goalkeeper and calmly deposited the ball into the net. Near the end of the second overtime period, Inter FC scored its 4th goal when Milad Mehrabi raced down the left flank and curled the ball into the empty net. It should be mentioned that the Vancouver Olympics’ net was empty due to the fact that goalkeeper Carmine Pannozzo had pushed forward in a desperate attempt to narrow Inter’s margin. As mentioned earlier, Inter’s goalkeeper Erman Ozkan played extremely well, while defenders Bryan Fong and Donald Kambere were rock-solid during the entire contest. However, special mention should be made of midfielder Alex Marrello for his superlative performance as he scored two goals and controlled the midfield with skill and tenacity. For the Olympics, midfielders Justin Isidro and Akylas Nasiopoulos, as well as defenders Ashif Ismail and Franco Randazzo turned in remarkable performances, albeit in a losing cause. Inter FC will therefore advance to the quarter-finals of the Imperial Cup where they will meet the heavily-favoured Surrey United Firefighters.    

ICST PEGASUS -  CCBRT UNITED  2-1:   The third Friday evening game was played at Newton Athletic Park between two Premier Division teams: the hosting CCBRT United and the visiting ICST Pegasus. After an exciting, and hard-fought, 90 minutes of non-stop action, the underdog ICST Pegasus walked away with a hard-earned 2-1 victory, thus eliminating the aspiring CCBRT United from further Imperial Cup play.  Much to CCBRT United’s chagrin, ICST Pegasus took the lead in the first minute of play when Goldie Takhar took advantage of a defensive miscue, raced in on goal, and calmly finished off the play from close range. The rest of the first half was very evenly played as both teams took turns attacking and defending. However, some excellent goalkeeping on the part of Pegasus’ Amar Dhinsa and CCBRTU’s Luke O’Shea kept the score at 1-0 till the 40th minute mark. At this point, ICST Pegasus doubled its lead when CJ Jhooty and Reynold Stewart played a clever one-two, a play that resulted in Stewart brilliantly scoring what proved to be the winning goal in clinical fashion. During the second half, CCBRT United pressed hard in a desperate attempt to get back into the game and eventually succeeded to narrow the margin at the 60th minute mark. At this juncture, Jacob Lensky won the ball in the middle of the park, quickly passed it to Milad Rahmati who then sent Bobby Jhutty flying in on goal on a lethal breakaway. Jhutty had no difficulty in finishing off the play with an unstoppable shot into the bottom left corner of the Pegasus net. CCBRT United continued to press in search of the equalizer, but chances by Milad Rahmati, Bobby Jhutty, and Navid Mashinchi were brilliantly saved by Amar Dhinsa, thus keeping the score at 2-1 in Pegasus’ favour till the final whistle. Defensively, Pegasus’ Brendan Campbell, Paul Bahia, Gurjit Dhaliwal, and Diaz Kambere deserve special mention for their admirable performances, while goalkeeper Amar Dhinsa played a major part in his team’s success with some excellent saves. For CCBRT United, midfielders James Merriman and Jacob Lensky worked extremely hard during the entire contest, while forwards Bobby Jhutty and Milad Rahmati were dangerous throughout the game. As a result of the upset victory, ICST Pegasus qualifies for the quarter-finals of the Imperial Cup where they will face Westside FC.

COQUITLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  3-1:   On Saturday, at Coquitlam Town Centre, the hosting Metro-Ford Wolves took on the Langley FC Hurricanes in what turned out to be a very entertaining and interesting match. The young Wolves defended tenaciously during the entire game and managed to walk away with a hard-earned 3-1 victory over the very talented Langley team. The Hurricanes came storming out of the starting gate with a vengeance and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions in the early part of the game. In particular,--at about the 10th minute mark—Niko Marcina sent Joti Thind flying towards the Metro-Ford net on a breakaway. However, Thind’s final shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato. Then, midway through the first half, Jesse Dhami and Steve Fronzo played a clever one-two, which resulted in Fronzo’s blistering shot from inside the penalty area. Unfortunately for Fronzo—and the rest of the Langley contingent—the shot barely missed the target. The Wolves responded in kind and came close to taking the lead on a couple of occasions, but shots by Carlo Basso went wide of the Hurricanes’ net. Finally, at about the 40th minute mark, the Coquitlam team was able to take the lead when a great cross from veteran Andrew Veer found an unmarked Carson Gill at the far post. Gill’s subsequent powerful header found the back of the net, giving young goalkeeper Robert Goodey no chance whatsoever. Early in the second half—at about the 55th minute mark—the Metro-Ford Wolves doubled their lead, yet again on a fine header. This time, Adam Jones’ corner kick was converted by Carlo Basso, as he headed the ball home from close range. Ten minutes later, Adam Jones almost became the finisher as he blasted what appeared to be an unstoppable shot towards  the Hurricanes’ net, only to have goalkeeper Robert Goodey pull off a miraculous save. It should be mentioned that the play originated on a clever give-and-go between Domenic Delli Santi and Sang Yoon Hwang. At the 80th minute mark, Adam Jones was finally able to put the game out of the Hurricanes’ reach when he converted a fine pass from Andre` Pietramala with a terrific—and unstoppable—shot from the edge of the 18-yard box. The Hurricanes refused to give up and came close to narrowing the margin shortly thereafter when Pavi Dhillon raced in on the Metro-Ford goal on a breakaway. However, goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato was able to thart Dhillon’s excellent goalscoring opportunity with a fine save. Very late in the game, Gary Badesha was able to score Langley’s lone goal on a well-taken free-kick from well outside the penalty area. The entire Metro-Ford team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of midfielder Adam Jones, as well as defenders Anthony DiNicolo and Devin Phelan for their superlative efforts. Also, veteran midfielder Andrew Veer was instrumental in the victory as he guided his much younger teammates with his experience and wisdom. Second half substitutes Domenic Delli Santi and Andre` Pietramala also deserve special mention for their excellent performances. For the Hurricanes, goalkeeper Robert Goodey—a 17-year old youth call-up—did an outstanding job in his Premier Division debut, while defenders Woody Bradford, Arjan Grewal, and Jesse Dhami also performed admirably, albeit in a losing cause. The victory advances the Metro-Ford Wolves to the quarter-finals of the Imperial Cup, where they will face the always powerful Columbus FC.

WEST VAN FC  -  CROATIA SC  1-0 PKs:  Also on Saturday, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, West Van FC eliminated Croatia SC from the Imperial Cup by edging the visitors by a 1-0 penalty kicks victory after 90 minutes of regulation time and 30 minutes of overtime could not produce a winner. Despite the fact that the match was scoreless, both teams generated several excellent goalscoring opportunities. Early in the first  half, West Van’s Corey Birza and Stefan Crameri had a couple of glorious chances to open the scoring, but Croatia’s goalkeeper—Simon Cohen—came up with two brilliant saves, thus keeping his team in the match. At the other end of the pitch, a patented Johnny Sulentic free kick—from well outside the penalty area—barely missed the target as it sailed a few centimetres over the crossbar. Late in the first half, Croatia’s goalkeeper Simon Cohen once again pulled off a wonderful save as he denied Cathal O’Connor a great opportunity with a fine save. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first as both teams tried hard, but unsuccessfully, to open the scoring. At about the 60th minute mark, Croatia’s Taj Sangara set up an onrushing Colin Jacques inside the West Van penalty area. Jacques’ finished off the play with a one-time shot to the far post, a shot that agonizingly missed the target. At the other end of the field, West Van’s Colin Phillips also missed the net with his close range shot. Late in regulation time, Johnny Sulentic almost scored what would have been Croatia’s winning goal when he received a great pass from Eddie Tsen and proceeded to blast the ball towards the West Van net. However, veteran goalkeeper Marco Durante pulled off a semi-miraculous save to keep the match scoreless till the 90th minute mark. During the 30 minutes of overtime, neither team appeared willing to take any dangerous chances, thus limiting the goalscoring opportunities to a minimum. The only real chance for Croatia came at the 110th minute mark when a cross from Eddie Tsen was one-timed towards the West Van goal by Taj Sangara from the edge of the penalty area. Once again, however, the ball sailed over the crossbar and out of danger. Late in the game, West Van’s Desmond Tachie also came close to scoring, but his blistering shot also missed the net. As a result of the 0-0 tie, the match had to be settled by the dreaded penalty kicks. Both teams were able to convert their initial 5 shots, but Croatia’s Phil Kotter missed the net on his team’s 6th penalty kick, while West Van’s Drew Gelley was able to convert his spot shot, thus giving his team the hard-earned victory. West Van’s backline—composed of Max Baessato, Leo Nash, Trevor Short, and Mike Winter—was rock-solid during the entire match, while goalkeeper Marco Durante made a few exceptional saves, and thus fully earned his clean-sheet. Forwards Cathal O’Connor and Rob Giezen also deserve special mention as they caused the Croatia defenders problems throughout the contest. For Croatia SC, defender Paris Gee, midfielder Colin Jacques, and forwards Johnny Sulentic and Taj Sangara played remarkably well, despite the heart-breaking loss. As a result of their victory, the former Trollers now advance to the quarter-finals of the Imperial Cup where they will take on the Ajyal Tigers, the only Division 1 team remaining in the competition.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  RICHMOND HIBERNIANS  4-0:  The third Saturday game was played at Cloverdale Athletic park between the Premier Division leaders—Surrey United—and the Division 1 Richmond Hibernians. The hosting Firefighters controlled most of the action during the majority of the match and fully deserved the emphatic 4-0 victory. Oddly, it was the Hibernians that got off to a bright start as they created some excellent goalscoring opportunities in the early stages of the contest. However, shots by Peter Chivers, Lucas Barrett, and John Lawrence all went awry.  Also, Craig McMillan was sent in on goal by Peter Chivers but was thwarted by a brilliant save by veteran goalkeeper Paul Shepherd. At this point—midway through the first half—the heavily-favoured Firefighters took over the reins of the match and started exerting some pressure of their own. The home team was quickly rewarded—at about the 35th minute mark—when Reece Miles headed home a wonderful cross from Vince Stewart. Soon thereafter, a wicked drive by Surrey United’s Colin Streckmann bounced off the Richmond goalpost and out of danger, keeping the score at 1-0 till the halftime whistle. Early in the second half, Surrey United doubled its lead, with Vince Stewart once again being the provider. On this occasion, Stewart’s excellent pass was converted into the insurance marker by second half substitute Angus Burke, whose wicked shot found the upper corner of the Richmond net. At this point, the Hibernians threw caution to the wind in an attempt to get back into the game. The strategy backfired as the Firefighters added a couple of goals to their margin in the late stages of the contest. Surrey United’s third goal was scored at about the 80th minute mark when Colin Streckmann took advantage of a bizarre goalmouth scramble and drove the ball into the lower corner of the net. Then, with only a few minutes remaining in the match, the Firemen added their 4th tally with Vince Stewart once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Stewart’s excellent pass found a wide-open Goran Vitic at the edge of the penalty area. Without a moment’s hesitation, Vitic fired an unstoppable shot into the back of the net. Needless to say, Vince Stewart was a going concern in the Surrey United midfield throughout the match as he was involved in 3 of his team’s goals. Also, midfielder Colin Streckmann and veteran defender Steve Kindel played extremely well during the entire 90 minutes of action. Despite the loss, Richmond’s midfielder Peter Chivers—as well as forward Craig McMillan and defender Mike Revell—played remarkably well. The Firefighters’ victory qualifies them for the Imperial Cup quarter-finals where they will face Inter FC.

COLUMBUS FC  -  NORVAN FC 2-0:  The fourth, and final, Saturday game was played at Confederation Park in North Vancouver and featured the hosting Norvan FC and the visiting Columbus FC. After a hard-fought 90 minutes of play, the visiting ‘Italians’ were able to lay claim to the 2-0 victory and thus advanced to the quarter-finals of the Imperial Cup. Columbus FC got off to a bright start and dominated the entire first half of play. At around the 15th minute mark, Columbus almost took the lead when Kazunori Kikuchi sent young Cory Martinello on a lethal breakaway with a picture-perfect through ball. Unfortunately for Martinello, and the rest of the Columbus crew, his final shot bounced off the goalpost, with goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino well-beaten. Moments later, Kazunori Kikuchi got to the end of a long cross from defender Graham Smith inside the Norvan penalty area. Kikuchi’s subsequent shot was well-saved by Giarncarlo Martino but Kikuchi picked up the rebound and easily found the back of the net from close range for what proved to be the winning goal. Norvan FC controlled most of the play during the early stages of the second half, but was unable to create any meaningful goalscoring opportunities. As luck would have it, Columbus FC managed to score what proved to be the insurance marker at about the 75th minute when Robbie Cairns made a great run down the right flank and proceeded to set up Jonathan Poli at the edge of the penalty area with a exquisite pass. Poli then unleashed a great shot that found the top corner of the Norvan net, thus clinching the victory for Columbus FC. Midfielders Robbie Cairns and Jonathan Poli played extremely well for Columbus FC as they controlled the middle of the park with poise and tenacity, while defenders Graham Smith and Luca Bellisomo were rock-solid during the entire match and thus made life easy for goalkeeper Thomas Lindley as he recorded yet another shutout. For Norvan FC, midfielders Alex Wilson, Devin Delaney, and Devin Gunech worked tirelessly during the game, while Tony Seddon and Nathan Harte defended well despite the loss. Columbus FC now advances to the quarter-finals of the Imperial Cup where they will face the Metro-Ford Wolves.

WESTSIDE FC  -  SHAHEEN FC    :  On Sunday, at Windsor School in North Vancouver, the Premier Division Westside FC defeated the hosting Division 1 Shaheen FC by a narrow 2-0 margin. The visiting Westsiders controlled the bulk of the play during the first half but failed to create any real goalsoring opportunities. In fact—midway through the first half—it was Shaheen FC that came close to scoring on a counter-attack, but Mohammedi Hossein’s shot was well-saved by Westside’s goalkeeper Simon Eaddy. Early in the second half, Westside FC almost took the lead when Gi-Sung Ha was fouled inside the Shaheen penalty area by Sohrab Khorasani. On the ensuing penalty kick, Johnny Stonehocker’s shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Farshad Hosseini. However, Jacob Quail picked up the rebound but his subsequent close-range shot went wide of the Shaheen net. A few minute later—at about the 50th minute mark—Westside FC finally took the lead when Brian Reems’ cross was deflected towards the Shaheen goal by Jamie Davies. Goalkeeper Farshad Hosseini was able to make another wonderful save, only to have Gi-Sung Ha pick up the rebound and slot the ball home from the edge of the goal area. Shaheen FC replied tenaciously and almost knotted the score a few minutes later when Sherwin Soltani raced in on goal on a partial breakaway, only to have Simon Eaddy once again pull off a semi-miraculous save. Midway through the second half, Westside FC put the game out of Shaheen’s reach by scoring the insurance marker, with Gi-Sung Ha once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Ha’s well taken corner kick was headed home by Cesar Meylan from just outside the goal area. Westside’s defenders Chris Williamson and Zach Hamilton played extremely well during the entire 90 minutes of play, while Gi-Sung Ha was instrumental in both of his team’s goals. For Shaheen FC, goalkeeper Farshad Hosseini turned in a remarkable performance as he kept his team in the match with several outstanding saves. The victory advances Westside FC to the quarter-finals of the Imperial Cup where they will face ICST Pegasus.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  AJYAL TIGERS for their incredible performance in defeating the heavily-favoured EDC FC Burnaby by a narrow, and hard-earned, 3-2 margin. Led by the excellent performances of goalkeeper HamIdreza Naderi and forward Murtada Almatrood, the Division 1 underdogs were able to progress to the quarter-finals of the Imperial Cup.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Inter FC’s midfielder ALEX MARRELLO for his superlative performance in his team’s 4-1 overtime victory over the Vancouver Olympics. Not only did Marrello score two excellent goals, but he was also dominant in his midfield role as he controlled the middle of the park with skill and tenacity. For his remarkable performance this past weekend, ALEX MARRELLO will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of the GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available until 2014-03-06.

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2014-02-11

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 21 

Due to the fact that the Imperial Cup playdowns started this past weekend, only 3 Premier Division games were played. Also, a make-up game took place on Tuesday evening between two teams near the bottom of the table, ICST Pegasus and Inter FC. Finally, no big surprises occurred in the Imperial Cup games, with all Premier Division teams advancing to the Round of 16.

ICST PEGASUS  - INTER FC  1-1:  On Tuesday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, a very important make-up game was played between two teams is desperate need of points:  the hosting ICST Pegasus and the visiting Inter FC. At the end of a highly-contested match, both teams had to settle for a disappointing 1-1 tie, a result that leaves them both in the relegation zone. The home team controlled most of the play during the first half but was unable to score, mostly due to some outstanding goalkeeping on the part of Inter’s Erman Ozkan and some rock-solid defending by Matt Allard and Bryan Fong. Also—at about the 15th minute mark—Pegasus’ Reynold Stewart’s shot—after he had beaten a couple of Inter defenders—bounced off the goalpost and out of danger. ICST Pegasus was finally able to take the well-deserved lead early in the second half when Reynold Stewart sent Sahil Sandhu racing towards the Inter goal on a partial breakaway. Sandhu did well to elude a couple of Inter defenders and finished off the play in clinical fashion from close range. Soon thereafter, Sandhu almost repeated his earlier feat but was denied his excellent goalscoring opportunity by defender Bryan Fong. Soon thereafter, it was Jag Gill’s turn to miss the opportunity to extend Pegasus’ lead as he rattled his final shot off the crossbar, after having beaten a couple of Inter defenders. Late in the game—at about the 85th minute mark—Inter FC knotted the score when Alex Marrello took advantage of a goalmouth scramble and was able to knock the ball home. At this point, goalkeeper Andy Singh was sent off the field of play for having used foul and abusive language towards the referee, thus reducing ICST Pegasus to 10 men for the last few minutes of the match. Very late in the game, Inter FC almost added insult to Pegasus’ injury when Andrew Corazza’s long-range shot almost found the back of the net. Fortunately for Pegasus, substitute goalkeeper Amar Dhinsa was able to clear the ball at the last moment, thus keeping the score at 1-1 till the final whistle. For ICST Pegasus, defender Diaz Kambere was his usual steady self as he limited Inter’s goalkscoring chances to a minimum with a rock-solid performance. Also, young forward Sahil Sandhu was a going-concern throughout the match as he created several dangerous opportunities. As mentioned earlier, Inter’s defenders Bryan Fong and Matt Allard played remarkably well, while goalkeeper Erman Ozkan turned in a superlative performance. The tie keeps both teams at the bottom of the table—Inter with 19 points and Pegasus with 17 points.

WEST VAN FC  - NORVAN FC  2-0:   On Friday evening, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, West Van FC remained in contention for the Premier Division title by defeating the visiting Norvan FC by a 2-0 margin in what couple be described as the ‘North Shore derby’.  Despite the fact that the heavily-favoured former Trollers created numerous scoring chances in the early stages of the match, the first half ended in a scoreless tie. Particularly, opportunities by Corey Birza, Jesse Fetterley and Dave O’Connor went awry as their shots barely missed the target. At the other end of the pitch, Norvan’s Sebastian Crema and Blake Burgon also came close to scoring, but their long-range shots sailed wide of the net. Early in the second half, West Van FC took the lead when veteran Paul Dailly sent one of his patented free-kicks into the Norvan penalty area. Corey Birza proceeded to flick the ball towards the Norvan net, where an unmarked Mike Winter had no difficulty in slotting it home from close range for what proved to be the winning goal. Then, at about the 60th minute mark, West Van FC scored the insurance marker when Colin Phillips made an excellent run down the left wing, beat a couple of Norvan defenders, and found Rob Giezen inside the goal area with an impeccable cross. Giezen easily converted Phillips’ cross as he tapped the ball into the back of the net. With about 20 minutes remaining in the contest, West Van’s forward Jesse Fetterley was sent off the field of play for having committed a serious foul play infraction. Norvan FC was unable to take advantage of the situation and, as a result, the match ended in a 2-0 victory for West Van FC. For the winning team, defenders Max Baessato, Leo Nash, Trevor Short, and Mike Winter were rock-solid throughout the contest and limited Norvan’s scoring chances to a minimum, thus making life relatively easy for goalkeeper Garth Lagasse as he recorded yet another clean-sheet. Also, second half substitutes Colin Phillips, Rob Giezen, Stefan Crameri, and Drew Gelley had an enormous impact as they provided a great deal of tenacity and energy. Despite the loss, Norvan’s defenders Kyle Bowman, Tony Seddon, and Brent Dodge performed admirably, while Devin Delaney worked tirelessly in his midfield position. The victory improves West Van FC’s record to 10-4-5, good for second place in the Premier Division standings and only 1 point behind Surrey United. On the other hand, Norvan FC remains in 10th place, with 20 points out of 20 games.     

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  ICST PEGASUS  2-0:   Also on Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, the Surrey United Firefighters remained in first place by defeating the last place ICST Pegasus by a rather fortunate 2-0 margin. Despite the final score, ICST Pegasus controlled most of the action during the game and also created most of the goalscoring opportunities. Very early in the match—at about the 10th minute mark—Pegasus’ Azad Palani was sent in on goal on a breakaway by Diaz Kambere, Unfortunately for Palani—and the rest of the Pegasus squad—veteran goalkeeper Paul Shepherd came up with an outstanding save to keep the match scoreless till the 30th minute mark. At this point, Surrey United was able to gain the lead in a rather bizarre fashion as a Tommy Lowndes free-kick was headed towards the Pegasus goal by veteran Jeff Clarke. Defender Jag Sajan was able to clear the ball off the goal-line, but it bounced off teammates Gurjit Dhaliwal and goalkeeper Amar Dhinsa before entering the net. The Pegasus lads continued to apply pressure but chances by Reynold Stewart, Azad Palani, and Sahil Sandhu were once again brilliantly saved by Paul Shepherd. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first as ICST Pegasus continued to press in search of the equalizer. However, the home team was unable to finish off any of its numerous opportunities. In particular, second half substitute Jag Gill had 3 excellent chances to knot the score but failed on all 3 occasions. On the first one, his rocket of a shot bounced off the goalpost and out of danger with Paul Shepherd well beaten. Then, on the second opportunity, Gill’s excellent shot was brilliantly saved by Shepherd. Finally, Gill’s last chance went awry as he missed a rather easy tap-in from very close range. As luck would have it, it was Surrey United that doubled its lead late in the match when Liam Miller received a great pass from youth pick-up Karn Phagura, beat a couple of Pegasus defenders and proceeded to finish off the play in clinical fashion, with a low shot into the corner of the net. Needless to say, goalkeeper Paul Shepherd was the main reason Surrey United was able to claim all 3 points as he made several miraculous saves during the match. The entire  ICST Pegasus team played remarkably well, but midfielder Diaz Kambere and forward Azad Palani deserve special mention for their superlative performances. The very important victory keeps the Firefighters in first place in the Premier Division standings, with a 10-5-4 record, while ICST Pegasus is still at the bottom of the table, with only 17 points out of 19 matches.

COQUITLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  EDC FC BURNABY  1-1   On Saturday, at Coquitlam Town Centre, the hosting Metro-Ford Wolves were held to a 1-1 tie by the hot-and-cold EDC FC Burnaby. The game did not live up to its expectations as neither team seemed willing to take any risks and, as a result, very few goalscoring opportunities occurred. The visiting Burnaby team had the better chances during the first half, but Brian Dottin and Eric Ray squandered their opportunities as their shots missed the target. Also, early in the game, Ylya Malek’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was well saved by Metro-Ford’s goalkeeper Mathew Bird. Early in the second half, the Wolves opened the scoring on a rare 4-way passing play as Luigi Polisi played a great through ball to Jules Chopin, who then found a streaking Carlo Basso inside the Chilean penalty area. After beating a defender, Basso proceeded to lay the ball onto the path of Sang Yoon Hwang whose final shot found the back of the Burnaby net. Soon thereafter, Carlo Basso almost doubled his team’s lead, but his long-range shot was well saved by goalkeeper Hugo Vasquez. At the 75th minute mark, EDC Burnaby was able to knot the score when Brian Dottin won a 50-50 ball in the middle of the park before sending Eric Ray towards the Metro-Ford net. Ray’s subsequent pass to Habil Otieno resulted in a lethal breakaway that Otieno finished off in brilliant fashion. The Wolves appeared to have scored the winning goal in the late stages of the contest when Domenic Delli Santi found teammate Luigi Pantusa at the far post with a brilliant cross. Pantusa finished off the play clinically by slotting the ball into the far corner of the net. However, he was judged to be in an offside position, and the score remained tied at 1-1 till the final whistle. For the Wolves, defender Carson Gill was once again a tower of strength, while veteran midfieldeer Andrew Veer and forward Jules Chopin also turned in excellent performances. For EDC Burnaby, midfielders Eric Ray and Habil Otieno demonstrated a enormous amount of skill, while forward Brian Dottin was a going concern during the entire match. The disappointing tie drops the Metro-Ford Wolves to 4th place in the standings, with a record of 9-6-5, while EDC Burnaby remains in 8th place, with 24 pints out of 20 games.

CCBRT UNITED  -  WESTSIDE FC   3-1:  On Sunday, at Musqueam Park in Vancouver, CCBRT United defeated the hosting Westside FC by a 3-1 margin and thus remained in contention for the Premier Division title.  The match was very evenly played and highly contested. The visitors took the lead early in the game—at about the 18th minute mark—when Jacob Lensky sent a long through ball onto the path of Bobby Jhutty inside the Westside penalty area. Jhutty proceeded to control the ball before chipping it over goalkeeper Simon Eaddy for the game’s opening goal. The Westsiders bounced back tenaciously and pushed forward in an attempt to knot the score. However, Brian Reems’ blistering shot bounced off the post and out of danger, with goalkeeper Luke O’Shea well-beaten. Shortly thereafter, CCBRT United was reduced to 10 men when Jason Wahla was sent off the field of play for having received his second caution. Needless to say, Westside FC continued to press in search of the equalizer but some unbelievable goalkeeping on the part of Luke O’ Shea kept the home team off the scoreboard. In particular, close-range shots by Hansol Kim, Brian Reems, and Andre` Herath were brilliantly saved by O’Shea.  Early in the second half, Westside FC was finally able to tie things up when Grayson Allen—in his Premier Division debut—sent Kyng Hun Gee flying down the left flank with an excellent pass. Gee then proceeded to control the ball before curling an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net. Soon thereafter, Gee almost repeated his earlier feat, but this time his curling shot barely missed the target. Midway through the second half, CCBRT United was awarded a penalty kick when Milad Rahmati was fouled inside the penalty area by Lucient Meylan. On the ensuing spot shot, Botty Jhutty’s cheeky chip shot was easily saved by Simon Eaddy. Soon thereafter, CCBRT United took the lead on a lethal counter-attack when Milad Rahmati sent Nick Soolsma down the right flank with a picture-pefect pass. Soolsma beat a couple of Westside defenders before sending an impeccable cross onto the path of Navid Mashinchi who had no difficulty in finishing off the play with a close-range shot. Late in the game, CCBRT United put the game out of Westside’s reach on yet another counter-attack as Milad Rahmati finished off a 3-way passing play—also including Jacob Lensky and Nick Soolsma—with a clinical finish. Very late in the match, Amir Amiry almost added insult to Westside’s injury, but his shot bounced off both goalposts in bizarre fashion. The entire CCBRT United squad played extremely well, considering the fact that they were reduced to 10 men early in the game. However, special mention should be made of forward Milad Rahmati who came onto the field in the second half and had an enormous impact on the outcome of the match. Goalkeeper Luke O’Shea pulled off some fantastic saves, while defenders Sam Gill, Avin Sidhu, and Jas Chauhan also performed remarkably well in a winning cause. For Westside FC, defenders Chris Williamson and Andre` Clerc turned in exceptional performances, while midfielder Dan Lewis worked tirelessly during the entire contest, albeit in a losing cause. The very important victory elevates CCBRT United to third place in the Premier Division standings, with a 10-3-6 record, while Westside FC drops to 9th place, with 23 points out of 20 matches.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  CCBRT UNITED for its gutsy performance in defeating Westside FC by a 3-1 margin, despite playing the vast majority of the match with only 10 men! Led by the incredible second-half performance of forward Milad Rahmati as well as some outstanding goalkeeping by Luke O’Shea, CCBRT United remained in contention for the league title as a result of the victory.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Surrey United Firefighters’ goalkeeper PAUL SHEPHERD for his unbelievable performance in his team’s 2-0 victory over the desperate—and unlucky—ICST Pegasus. Throughout the contest, Shepherd pulled off some extraordinary saves and, as a result, played an enormous part in Surrey United’s important victory. For his incredible performance this past weekend, PAUL SHEPHERD will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of the GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available until 2014-02-27.

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PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 20

One major upset took place this past weekend, as the last place ICST Pegasus edged the aspiring West Van FC by a narrow 2-1 margin. At the top of the table, CCBRT United knocked the Metro-Ford Wolves out of first place by defeating the young Coquitlam team by a decisive 2-0 score. In the meantime, the defending BC Provincial Cup champions—Surrey United Firefighters—climbed into first place as a result of their 3-1 victory over the hot-and-cold Langley FC Hurricanes. Unfortunately, the Friday evening game between Croatia SC and Inter FC had to be postponed due to a ‘lights-failure’ at South Memorial Park.

CCBRT UNITED  -  METRO-FORD WOLVES   2-0:  On Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, CCBRT United drew closer to the top of the table by defeating the first place Metro-Ford Wolves by a clear-cut 2-0 margin. The first half was very evenly played and rather uneventful as neither team seemed willing to take any risks. The only real scoring chance occurred at the 12th minute mark when CCBRT United’s Milad Rahmati set up Jacob Lensky at the edge of the penalty area with an excellent pass. However, Lensky’s final shot was brilliantly saved by Metro-Ford’s goalkeeper Mathew Bird. The home team more or less took over the reins of the match during the second half and started exerting some pressure on the Metro-Ford defenders. However, chances by Milad Rahmati and Bobby Jhutty were once again saved by goalkeeper Mat Bird. The former Rovers were finally able to open the scoring at the 70th minute mark when Bobby Jhutty sent Navid Mashinchi flying down the right flank with a great pass. Mashinchi  then proceeded to cross the ball into the penalty area, where a wide-open Nick Soolsma volleyed it into the back of the net for what proved to be the winning goal. To their credit, the young Wolves responded positively and came close to knotting the score on a couple of occasions, but Jules Chopin and Lucas Reis sailed their shots wide of the target. Late in the game—at about the 85th minute mark—Nick Soolsma put the Metro-Ford Wolves out of their misery by scoring his second goal of the contest in clinical fashion as he chipped the ball over Mat Bird after having received a fine pass from Milad Rahmati. Defensively, Derrick Bassi, Joel Malouf, Sam Gill, and Jas Chauhan played remarkably well for CCBRT United as they limited Metro-Ford’s scoring chances to a minimum. Also, midfielders Bobby Jhutty and Phil Lensky—as well as forwards Milad Rahmati and Nick Soolsma—turned in admirable performances. For the Wolves, goalkeeper Mat Bird kept the score respectable as he made numerous fine saves, while midfielder Lukas Krivak demonstrated a great deal of skill and tenacity during the entire game. As a result of the all-important victory, CCBRT United improves its record to 9-3-6, good for 4th place in the Premier Division standings, while the Metro-Ford Wolves slip to second place—behind Surrey United—with 32 points out of 19 games.

ICST PEGASUS  -  WEST VAN FC  2-1:   Also on Friday evening, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, the visiting ICST Pegasus upset the powerful West Van FC by a 2-1 margin, a result that drops the former Trollers to third place in the Premier Division standings. The first half was very evenly played with both teams taking turns attacking and defending. The home team—West Van FC—took the lead at about the 20th minute mark when Corey Birza took advantage of some defensive miscommunication between goalkeeper Andy Singh and defender Gurjit Dhaliwal and calmly slotted the ball into the empty net from close range. The visitors responded positively to their unfortunate start and were able to knot the score soon thereafter when Sahil Sandhu eluded several West Van defenders before finding a wide-open Reynold Stewart at the edge of the penalty area. Stewart then proceeded to fire the ball into the back of the West Van net, giving goalkeeper Marco Durante no chance whatsoever. ICST Pegasus continued to press in search of the go-ahead goal, but efforts by Reynold Stewart, Azad Palani, and Sahil Sandhu were brilliantly saved by Marco Durante, keeping the score tied at 1-1 till the halftime whistle. West Van FC controlled most of the action during the early part of the second half, particularly on efforts by Corey Birza. In fact, on two occasions, Birza’s unstoppable, close-range shots bounced off the crossbar and out of danger. Also, efforts by Jesse Fetterley, Desmond Tachie, and Cathal O’Connor went awry. As time went by, the Pegasus lads started exerting some pressure of their own and gained some momentum. In so doing, the visitors created a few excellent scoring chances, but efforts by Reynold Stewart and Otis Sandhu were cleared off the line by defenders Leo Nash and Mike Winter. Late in the match—at about the 84th minute mark—ICST Pegasus lay claim to all 3 points when none other than Reynold Stewart was sent on a partial breakaway by David Samra and finished off the play in clinical fashion. Pegasus’ defender Diaz Kambere was rock-solid throughout the match, while Adam Costley worked extremely hard in his midfield position. Needless to say, Reynold Stewart was a threat throughout the contest and ended up scoring both his team’s goals. For West Van FC, veteran goalkeeper Marco Durante turned in an exceptional performance as he made several great saves. Also midfielder Alan McIndoe, as well as defenders Drew Gelley and Max Baessato worked very hard during the entire contest, albeit in a losing effort. The hard-earned victory improves ICST Pegasus’ record to 4-4-9, but still mired in last place in the Premier Division standings. As mentioned earlier, West Van drops to 3rd place as a result of the loss, with 31 points out of 18 matches.                                                                                                                        

COLUMBUS FC  -  WESTSIDE FC  4-1:  On Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, Columbus FC defeated the visiting Westside FC by a 4-1 margin. Despite the elaborate final score, the game was very competitive, with both teams trading spells of possession and goalscoring chances. Early in the match, the ‘Italians’ got on the scoreboard when a well-taken corner-kick by Steve DeBlasio was headed into the Westside net by defender Devon Greenside. Then, at about the 20th minute mark, Steve DeBlasio became the finisher as he deflected a clever pass by Robbie Cairns into the back of the net, for what proved to be the winning goal. Soon thereafter, Columbus FC added it third goal to its tally, with Steve DeBlasio once again involved in the play. On this occasion, DeBlasio sent Kazunori Kikuchi on a partial breakaway towards the Westside goal with a picture-perfect pass. Kikuchi finished off the play with a low, hard shot that was initially saved by goalkeeper Chris Beck. However, the ball trickled under Beck and eventually crossed the goal-line. To their credit, the Westsiders didn’t give up and fought back tenaciously in an attempt to get back into the game. They were rewarded for their hard work at the 35th minute mark when Andre` Clerc headed home a well-taken corner kick by Chris Williamson. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first, the only difference being that fewer goals were scored in the final 45 minutes. With Westside FC pushing forward, Columbus FC had a couple of glorious goalscoring opportunities go awry as Jonathan Poli and Devon Smith failed to convert two excellent passes from none other than Steve DeBlasio. Finally, at the 85th minute mark, Columbus FC put the Westsiders out of their misery when Robbie Cairns chipped the ball over the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Chris Beck from the edge of the penalty area. Columbus’ midfielders Jonathan Poli and Robbie Cairns turned in admirable performances, while forwards Kazunori Kikuchi and Steve DeBlasio were going concerns throughout the contest. For Westside FC, Mike Buree played well throughout the match, as he was a constant threat down the right wing. Also, young Gisung Ha entered the game midway through the second half and had a very positive effect in the Westside midfield. The all-important victory improves Columbus’ record to 9-3-7, good for 5th place in the Premier Division standings, only 2 points behind league-leading Surrey United. On the other hand, Westside FC remains on 8th place, with 23 points out of 19 games.

NORVAN FC  -  EDC FC BURNABY  1-0  Also on Saturday, at Confederation Park in North Vancovuer, Norvan FC climbed out of the dreaded relegation zone by virtue of a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the visiting EDC FC Burnaby. The first half was quite evenly played as both squads created several goalscoring chances. The best opportunity came midway through the first half when EDC Burnaby’s Admir Salihovic controlled the ball in the middle of the penalty area—off a well-taken Eric Ray corner-kick—and blasted it towards the Norvan net. Miraculously, goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino pulled off an amazing save on the close-range shot. A couple of minutes later, Eric Ray and Admir Salihovic once again created a great opportunity to open the scoring when Ray sent Salihovic  flying towards the Norvan goal on a breakaway. Once again, however, Giancarlo Martino rose to the occasion as he thwarted Salihovic’s great scoring chance. At the other end of the pitch, Norvan FC also came close to scoring when Stewart Eliot’s cross found a wide-open Blake Burgon at the far post. However, Burgon’s blistering volley rattled off the post, thus keeping the match scoreless till the halftime whistle. Midway through the second half, Eric Ray and Admir Salihovic reversed roles as Ray received a clever pass from Salihovic before blasting the ball towards the Norvan net. Needless to say, Giancarlo Martino once again pulled off a remarkable save. A couple of minutes later—at about the 70th minute mark—Norvan scored the match’s lone goal on a lethal counterattack as Devin Gunech sent Matt Hartwell in on goal on a partial breakaway with an immaculate pass. Hartwell latched onto the ball and calmly deposited it into the back of the net for what proved to be the winning goal. At about the 80th minute mark, Norvan FC almost doubled its lead when Matt Hartwell—after having received a brilliant square-ball pass from Blake Burgon—chipped the ball over the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Hugo Vasquez but his chip shot barely missed the target. The former Chileans continued to press in search of the equalizer and nearly tied things up at the 85th minute mark when an Eric Ray cross was headed towards the goal by Tarek Yassin. Giancarlo Martino, however, pulled off another spectacular save, thus keeping the score at 1-0 till the final whistle. For Norvan FC, goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino deserves special mention for his outstanding performance as he fully earned his shutout by making several outstanding saves. Also, defenders Kyle Bowman and Tony Pereiro—as well as forwards Blake Burgon and Matt Hartwell—performed admirably in a winning cause. For EDC Burnaby, midfielders Eric Ray, Admir Salihovic, and Habil Otieno worked tirelessly throughout the match, while forward Carlos Marquez was dangerous as he exhibited a multitude of skill and pace. The very important victory improves Norvan FC’s record to 5-5-9, good for 10th place in the Premier Division standings. EDC FC Burnaby, on the other hand, remains in 8th place, with 23 points out of 19 matches.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  3-1:  The third—and final—Saturday game was played at McLeod Stadium in Langley between the hosting Langley FC Hurricanes and the visiting Surrey United Firefighters. After an exciting and hard-fought 90 minutes of non-stop action, the Firefighters walked away with a 3-1 victory, a result that puts them in first place in the Premier Division standings. The Hurricanes took the early lead—at about the 10th minute mark—when Niko Marcina converted a direct free-kick from just outside the penalty area into the opening goal with an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner of the Surrey United net. Midway through the first half, Surrey United almost knotted the score, but Vinnie Stewart’s shot—after he had received a great pass from Liam Miller—sailed over the crossbar. Soon thereafter—at about the 30th minute mark—the Hurricanes almost doubled their lead when Joti Thind was fouled inside the Surrey United penalty area by defender Brad Peetoom. Niko Marcina stepped up to the plate but, unfortunately for the Langley FC clan, his penalty kick rang off the goalpost and out of danger. To add insult to the Hurricanes’ injury—at about the 40th minute mark—midfielder Amar Mander was sent off the field of play for having committed a violent conduct infraction. As a result, the Hurricanes were forced to play the remaining 50 minutes with only 10 men. The Firefighters took full advantage of the situation and knotted the score soon thereafter when an impeccable cross by Vinnie Stewart  was headed into the back of the Langley net by Sean Einarsson. Early in the second half, Surrey United scored what proved to be the winning goal when a patented Steve Kindel corner kick was brilliantly volleyed into the net by Nigel Marples. Despite playing short-handed, the Hurricanes pressed hard in search of the equalizer but were unable to penetrate the rock-solid Surrey United backline, composed of Nigel Marples, Brad Peetoom, Andrew Reed, and Steve Kindel. Then, at the 70th minute mark, the Firefighters scored what proved to be the insurance marker on a fine individual effort by Vinnie Stewart as he made a fantastic run towards the Langley goal before unleashing an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area. As mentioned earlier, the Surrey United backline—composed of Steve Kindel, Andrew Reed, Brad Peetoom, and Nigel Marples—played remarkably well during the entire match, limiting the Hurricanes’ goalscoring chances to a minimum. Despite the loss, Langley’s midfielders Harpreet Khakh and Niko Marcina—as well as forward Joti Thind—played extremely well. The result improves Surrey United’s record to 9-5-4, good for first place in the standings, while Langley FC remains in 6th place, with 25 points out of 19 games.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  ICST  PEGASUS  for its excellent performance in defeating the heavily-favoured West Vam FC by a narrow, but well-earned, 2-1 margin. Led by the excellent 2-goal performance of forward Reynold Stewart—as well as the rock-solid defensive effort of Diaz Kamere—the Pegasus lads fully deserved the all-important upset victory.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Norvan FC’s goalkeeper GIANCARLO MARTINO for his incredible performance in his team’s upset 1-0 victory over EDC FC Burnaby. Martino pulled off numerous spectacular saves during the entire contest, thus improving his team’s chances to avoid relegation. For his brilliant performance this past weekend, GIANCARLO MARTINO will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of the GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available until 2014-02-20.

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2014-01-27

 

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 19

 

A couple of upsets took place this past weekend, as Westside FC bounced back from last week’s devastating 7-0 loss to Croatia SC by beating the heavily-favoured Langley FC Hurricanes by a 2-1 margin. As well, the struggling EdC Burnaby defeated the highly-ranked CCBRT United, also by a 2-1 scoreline. Finally, in what might be considered a ‘semi-upset’, Inter FC held the aspiring West Van FC to a 1-1 tie, thus dropping the former Trollers out of first place.

ICST PEGASUS  -  NORVAN FC   2-0:  On Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, ICST Pegasus bounced out of it slump by defeating the visiting Norvan FC by a 2-0 margin. Both teams came out of the starting gate with fire in their bellies and created numerous scoring chances in the early going. In particular, Norvan FC nearly took the lead in the early going when former Whitecap Martin Nash set up Sebastian Crema with a brilliant pass. However, much to Norvan’s chagrin, Crema’s final shot was well-saved by goalkeeper Andy Singh. The Pegasus lads responded in kind and started to apply some pressure on the Norvan defensive core. However, some stout defending on the part of Kyle Bowman and Brent Dodge kept the Pegasus forwards at bay, until the 30th minute mark. At this juncture, ICST Pegasus was able to take the lead when CJ Jhooty’s well-taken corner kick was headed back across the goal area by Azad Palani onto the path of Omari Aldridge who calmly controlled the ball before volleying it into the back of the net from close range. At this point, ICST Pegasus took over the reins of the match and came close to adding to its margin on a few occasions. However, efforts by Sahil Sandhu and CJ Jhooty were well saved by goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino. The second half was more or less a replica of the first as ICST Pegasus dominated proceedings for virtually the entire 45 minutes. The home team was compensated at about the 70th minute mark when young substitute Otis Sandhu unleashed a wicked drive from well outside the penalty area, a shot that gave goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino no chance whatsoever. Late in the game, Norvan FC almost narrowed the margin when Alex Wilson sent Matthew Hartwell flying towards the Pegasus goal, only to have defender Paul Bahia pull off an amazing tackle to deny Hartwell a glorious goalscoring opportunity. The entire Pegasus team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of forwards Sahil Sandhu and Azad Palani for their impressive performances. Needless to say, goalkeeper Andy Singh had a relatively easy time in earning his clean sheet. For Norvan FC, defenders Kyle Bowman and Brent Dodge worked tirelessly, but unsuccessfully during the entire match. ICST Pegasus thus improves its record to 3-4-9, but remains mired in last place, while Norvan FC is still in penultimate place with only 17 points out of 18 games.

 EDC FC BURNABY – CCBRT UNITED  2-1:   Also on Friday evening, at Burnaby Lake West, EDC FC Burnaby climbed out of the relegation zone by upsetting the visiting CCBRT United by a narrow 2-1 margin. As the score indicates, the match was quite evenly played with both teams trying hard to gain the all-important 3 points. Despite the fact that the first half ended in a scoreless tie, both teams had numerous scoring chances. Very early in the match, the Chileans almost took the lead when Eric Ray received a great pass from Habil Otieno, raced in on goal all alone, but had his final shot brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Luke O’Shea. Soon thereafter, it was Admir Salihovic’s trun to almost give EDC Burnaby the lead when he had his shot blocked by defender Danny Chohal. At the other end of the pitch, one of the VMSL’s top goalscorers—Milad Rahmati—was sent in on goal on a breakaway by Bobby Jhutty but was stymied by a great save by EDC’s goalkeeper Hugo Vasquez. Near the end of the first half, the Chileans once again came close to scoring the opening goal when a well-taken corner kick by Eric Ray was headed towards the goal by central defender Narcisse Tchoumi, only to have goalkeeper Luke O’Shea pull off yet another sensational save. Early in the first half, EDC Burnaby finally took the well-deserved lead when Stedman Espinoza sent Admir Salihovic flying towards the CCBRT United goal with an excellent through ball. Salihovic proceeded to find a wide-open Eric Ray whose subsequent shot found the top corner of the net. Ten minutes later, EDC Burnaby almost doubled its lead when Admir Salihovic’s blistering shot was once again well saved by Luke O’Shea. Finally, at the 70th minute mark, the home team was able to score what proved to be the winning goal when Eric Ray and Carlos Marquez combined to set up Admir Salihovic, whose final shot gave Luke O’Shea no chance whatsoever. A few minutes later, CCBRT United was able to narrow the margin when Navid Mashinchi  crossed an impeccable ball into the EDC penalty area. Sam Gill proceeded to flick the ball onto the path of Milad Rahmati, whose subsequent volley found the back of the net. At this point, CCBRT United threw caution to the wind in an attempt to score the equalizer, but chances by Milad Rahamti and Nick Soolsma were well saved by goalkeeper Hugo Vasquez, leaving the score at 2-1 in EDC Burnaby’s favour till the final whistle. The entire EDC Burnaby team played extremely well during the entire match, but special mention should be made of midfielders Mynor Campos, Admir Salihovic, Stedman Espinoza, and Eric Ray for their indomitable performances. Also, forwards Carlos Marquez and Bryan Dottin played remarkably well in a winning cause. For CCBRT United, goalkeeper Luke O’Shea kept the scoreline respectable with some fine saves, while midfielders David Hill and Bobby Jhutty worked tirelessly during the entire 90 minutes of action. The victory improves EDC Burnaby’s record to 6-5-7, good for 8th place in the standings, while the disappointing loss drops CCBRT United to 4th place, with 27 points out of 17 games.                                                                                                                              

COQUITLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  COLUMBUS FC  1-0:  On Saturday, at Coquitlam Town Centre, the Metro-Ford Wolves took over sole possession of first place by defeating the once-powerful Columbus FC by a slim 1-0 margin. The first half was a very dull affair as neither team appeared willing to take any risks. As a result, only a couple of goalscoring opportunities were created during the first 45 minutes of play. For Metro-Ford, Luigi Pantusa sailed his long-range shot over the net, while Columbus’ Steve DeBlasio—after having received a great pass from Blair Robertson—also missed the net with his final shot. The second half was also very evenly played, although both teams appeared willing to take more chances, thus making the game more entertaining. The insertion of forward Carlo Basso into the Metro-Ford lineup paid enormous dividends as the young striker created several chances for his team to take the lead. Midway through the second half, the Wolves were finally able to score what proved to be the winning goal when Domenic Delli Santi sent Carlo Basso towards the Columbus goal with an impeccable through ball. Basso proceeded to beat a defender before sending a cross/shot towards the net. The ball appeared to be heading into the net before Adam Jones very opportunistically was able to get a final touch and thus lay claim to the goal. The Metro-Ford goal appeared to be the wake-up that Columbus needed as the ‘Italians’ started applying some pressure of their own in search of the equalizer. They almost succeeded in their attempt to knot the score at about the 80th minute mark when a well-taken free kick by veteran Craig Richards was headed towards the Metro-Ford goal by Kazunori  Kikuchi, only to have Carlo Basso clear the ball off the line. Very late in the match, the Wolves almost doubled their lead with Carlo Basso once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Basso set up a wide-open Lucas Reis at the edge of the penalty area, only to have the youngster’s final shot miss the target. Metro-Ford’s goalkeeper Mathew Bird returned to action and fully deserved the clean-sheet, while defender Matt Besuschko, forward Hwang Sang Yoon, as well as midfielders Lucas Krivak and Luigi Polisi deserve special mention for their outstanding performances. Despite the loss, Columbus’ defender Luca Bellisomo and holding midfielder Jonathan Poli played extremely well. Metro-Ford’s victory elevates the Wolves to sole possession of first place, with a 9-5-4 record, while Columbus FC drops to 5th place, with 27 points out of 18 matches.

INTER FC  -  WEST VAN FC  1-0:  Also on Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, the underdog Inter FC held the visiting West Van FC to a 1-1 tie after a hard-fought 90 minutes of non-stop action. As expected, West Van FC got off to a flying start and dominated proceedings during the early stages of the match. However, efforts by Desmond Tachie and Corey Birza were well saved by goalkeeper Erman Ozkan. Midway through the first half, West Van FC was finally able to take the lead when a patented Paul Dailly corner kick was headed home by Corey Birza in clinical fashion. To their credit, the ‘Italians’ battled back and, led by the indomitable performance of forward Cristian Tropeano, came close to tying things up on a couple of occasions. Early in the second half, Inter FC was reduced to 10 men when newly-signed Kam Amini was sent off the field of play for having received his second caution of the contest. Needless to say, West Van FC pushed forward tenaciously in search of what would have been the insurance marker. However, chances by Corey Birza, Jesse Fetterley, and Desmond Tackie went awry. Late in the match, the visitors thought that they had accomplished their feat, but a Leo Nash header—off a corner kick by Cathal O’Connor—was cleared off the line by defender Bryan Fong. As luck would have it, it was Inter FC that scored the equalizer just before the final whistle when Tino Cucca sent Andrew Corazza on a partial breakaway with a very clever pass. Corazza proceeded to beat a West Van defender before calmly depositing the ball into the back of the net with a typical left-footed shot. For West Van FC, defenders Drew Gelley, Mike Winter, Leo Nash, and Max Baessato played extremely well as they limited Inter’s scoring chances to a minimum.  Inter’s defenders Bryan Fong and Matt Allard also played remarkably well, while midfielder Marlon Palomo and forward Criatian Tropeano worked tirelessly throughout the contest. The tie drops West Van FC to second place, one point behind the Metro-Ford Wolves, albeit with a game in hand. Inter FC, on the other hand, remains near the bottom of the table—in the relegation danger zone—with 18 points out of 17 matches.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  CROATIA SC  2-1:  The third—and final—Saturday game was played at Cloverdale Athletic Park in Surrey and featured two of the hottest teams in the VMSL: the hosting Surrey United and the visiting Croatia SC.  At the end of 90 exciting minutes of play, the Firemen remained in contention for first place by defeating the Croatians by a narrow—and hard-fought—2-1 margin.  Early in the match—at about the 10th minute mark—Croatia SC took the lead when a long-range free-kick by Jan Vreko was surprisingly fumbled, and poorly cleared, by veteran Surrey goalkeeper Paul Shpherd. Johnny Sulentic intercepted the clearance and calmly finished off the play by chipping the ball over Shepherd’s outstretched hands. Midway through the first half, the Croatians almost doubled their lead when a clever one-two between Taj Sangara and Johnny Sulentic resulted in Eddie Tsen racing in on goal on a breakaway. However, goalkeeper Paul Shepherd redeemed himself for his earlier faux pas as he bravely raced out of his net and stymied the onrushing Tsen. Late in the first half, Surrey United almost scored the equalizer when a brilliant cross by veteran Steve Kindel was headed towards the Croatian goal by Reece Miles. Unfortunately for Miles—and the rest of the Surrey contingent—the ball bounced off the crossbar and out of danger. The second half was more or less a replica of the first, as both teams took turns attacking and defending in an effort to lay claim to the all-important 3 points. At about the 65th minute mark, Surrey United was able to knot the score when Vinnie Stewart—after having received an excellent pass from Sean Einarsson—one-timed the ball into the back of the Croatian net from just outside the penalty area.  The Croatians responded in kind and came close to retaking the lead on a couple of occasions midway through the second half. On the first—at about the 70th minute mark—Johnny Sulentic and Taj Sangara once again combined to set up Eddie Tsen. However, Tsen’s final shot was well saved by young goalkeeper Lucas Johnson. It should be mentioned that Johnson had just entered the field as he replaced an injured Paul Shepherd. A few minutes later, Colin Jacques was fouled at the edge of the Surrey United penalty area, resulting in a direct free-kick being awarded to Croatia SC. However, Johnny Sulentic’s well-taken free-kick barely missed the target.  As luck would have it, Surrey United was able to lay claim to all 3 points late in the game when newly-signed Angus Burke was fouled inside the Croatia SC penalty area by Lucas Sweda, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to the Firefighters. Colin Streckmann stepped up to the place and calmly slotted the ball into the top corner of the net for Surrey United’s winning goal. Veteran Steve Kindel turned in an outstanding performance for Surrey United as he defended extremely well and also played an important role in the Firefighters’ attack. For Croatia SC, defender Jan Vreko, forward Johnny Sulentic, and midfielders Phil Kotter and Danny Rogic performed admirably, albeit in a losing cause. As a result of the hard-earned victory, Surrey United climbs into 3rd place in the Premier Division standings, with a commendable 8-5-4 record, while Croatia SC remains in 7th place, with 24 points out of 18 matches.

WESTSIDE FC  -  LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  2-1:  The lone Sunday game was played at Musqueam Park in Vancouver and ended in an upset 2-1 victory for the hosting Westside FC over the visiting Langley Hurricanes. The Hurricanes got off to a bright start and took the early lead—at about the 10th minute mark—when Niko Marcina’s cross was headed towards the Westside net by Amar Mander. Westside’s goalkeeper Chris Beck pulled off a sensational save, but Pavi Dhillon was able to pick up the rebound and deposit the ball into the back of the net for the opening goal. The Hurricanes continued to press and came close to adding to their lead on several occasions, but efforts by BJ Rockson, Pavi Dhillon, Arjun Grewal, Steve Fronzo, and Amar Mander all went awry. As luck would have it, however, it was Westside FC that was able to score the equalizer at about the 35th minute mark when Andre` Herath redirected Kyung Gee’s perfect cross into the top corner of the Langley net. Late in the first half, the Westsiders almost took the lead with Kyung Gee once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Gee’s well-taken corner-kick was headed towards the Hurricanes’ goal by Jacob Quail, only to have the ball barely miss the target as it sailed over the crossbar. Both teams had some good goalscoring chances in the early stages of the second half but were unable to finish them. In particular, Westside’s Kyung Gee bent a free-kick around the Langley defensive wall, only to have the ball bounce off the goalpost. Shortly thereafter, it was Westside’s Johnny Stonehocker’s trun to watch agonizingly as his wicked, long-range shot also hit the Langley goalpost. At the other end of the pitch, BJ Rockson raced in on goal on a breakaway, but was unable to finish the play as his shot went wide of the Westside net. With 10 minutes left in the match, Westside FC was able to lay claim to all 3 points when none other than Kyung Gee was fouled inside the penalty area by Arjan Grewal, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded. Johnny Stonehocker stepped up to the plate and managed to score hie team’s winning goal with an unstoppable shot into the bottom, right-hand corner of the net. Midfielders Andre` Herath, Johnny Stonehocker, and particularly Kyung Gee played remarkably well for Westside FC, while defenders Lucien Meylan and Paddy Smith also played very well as they were able to limit Langley’s scoring chances to a minimum. For the Hurricanes, veteran defenders Woody Bradford and Steve Millar played exceptionally well, while forwards Pavi Dhillon and Harp Khakh worked hard during the entire match. As a result of the victory, Westside FC improves its record to 6-5-7, good for 8th place in the standings, while Langley FC remains in 6th place, with 25 points out of 17 games.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  EDC BURNABY FC for its amazing performance in defeating the heavily-favoured CCBRT United by a narrow, but well-earned, 2-1 margin. Led by the excellent performances of midfielders Stedman Espinoza, Eric Ray, Admir Salihovic, and Mynor Campos, the Chileans fully deserved the all-important victory.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Westside FC’s midfielder KYUNG GEE  for his remarkable performance in his team’s impressive 2-1 victory over the Langley Hurricanes. Not only was Kyung Gee instrumental in both his team’s goals, but he also worked very hard throughout the contest and fully deserves special recognition. For their brilliant performance this past weekend, KYUNG GEE will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of the GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available until 2014-02-13.

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2014-01-20

 

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 18

 

No huge upsets took place this past weekend, although the 1-1 tie between Columbus FC and EdC Burnaby could be considered a surprising result, due to the fact that the ‘Italians’ had been sitting in first place for quiet a long time. West Van FC continued its impressive undefeated streak and remained in first place due to its 2-0 victory over the reigning Provincial Cup champions, Surrey United. On the disappointing side, the all-important match between ICST Pegasus and Inter FC had to be postponed due to the foggy conditions at Newton Athletic Park.

WEST VAN FC  -  SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  2-0:  On Friday evening, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, West Van FC remained in first place due to its well-earned 2-0 victory over the visiting Surrey United Firefighters. The scoreless first half was very evenly played as both teams took turns creating goalscoring opportunities. In particular, West Van’s Cathal O’Connor hit the goalpost early in the match, while teammate Jesse Fetterley inexplicably missed an open net with a close-range shot. At the other end of the pitch, Surrey United also came close to opening the scoring when Liam Miller unleashed a wicked shot from just outside the penalty area, only to have goalkeeper Garth Lagasse pull off a sensational save.  The Firefighters got off to a bright start during the second half and came very close to opening the scoring at the 50th minute mark when Tom Lowndes crossed an impeccable ball into the West Van goal area, only to have Reece Miles miss what appeared to be an easy tap-in. The former Trollers took advantage of the situation and opened the scoring a few minutes later when Cathal O’Connor blasted a rocket of a shot from outside the penalty area towards the Surrey United net. The shot found the back of the net, giving veteran goalkeeper Paul Shepherd no chance whatsoever. In their usual fashion, the Firefighters fought back tenaciously and came close to knotting the score at the 65th minute mark when Sean Einarsson almost converted Steve Kindel’s free-kick with a great header. Unfortunately for the Firemen, Einarsson’s header was brilliantly saved by Garth Lagasse. A few minutes later, West Van FC was able to score what proved to be the insurance marker when Desmond Tachie raced in on goal and calmly beat Paul Shepherd with an unstoppable near post shot. West Van FC continued to press and came close to adding to its lead on a few occasions, but efforts by Corey Birza, Jesse Fetterley, and Cathal O’Connor all went awry. Very late in the match, Surrey United almost narrowed the margin when Tommy Lowndes curled a long-range free-kick around the defensive wall, only to have the ball barely miss the target. For West Van FC, central midfielder Cathal O’Connor once again turned in a superlative performance as he scored the opening goal and controlled the middle of the park with his skill and poise. Defensively, Drew Gelley, Mike Winter, Leo Nash, and Max Baessato were rock-solid as they made life reasonably easy for goalkeeper Garth Lagasse, as he recorded yet another clean-sheet. Forwards Corey Birza and Jesse Fetterley also deserve special mention as they worked tirelessly and created several goalscoring chances. Despite the loss, Surrey United’s goalkeeper Paul Shepherd played remarkably well, while midfielders Vinnie Stewart and Colin Streckmann worked very hard during the entire contest. The all-important victory solidifies West Van’s hold on first place, with a 9-3-4 record, while Surrey United slips to 5th place, with 26 points out of 16 games.

 CROATIA SC  -  WESTSIDE FC  7-0:   Also on Friday evening, at South Memorial Park in Vancouver, the hosting Croatia SC made mince-meat out of Westside FC by defeating the visitors by an embarrassing 7-0 margin. The Croatians took the lead at the 15th minute mark when a cross by Eddie Tsen found Johnny Sulentic at the edge of the penalty area. The former professional then proceeded to clinically chip the ball over the Westside goalkeeper for what proved to be the winning goal. Ten minutes later, Eddie Tsen once again became the provider as he beat a couple of Westside defenders down the right flank before sending a low cross into the goal area, a cross that Taj Sangara converted into his team’s second goal from point-blank range. Early in the second half, the Croatians tripled their lead, once again on a goal by none other than Johnny Sulentic. On this occasion, the young veteran received a clever pass from Colin Jacques near the penalty spot. He proceeded to cut inside a Westside defender before blasting the ball inside the far post for his second goal of the match. At about the 70th minute mark, Croatia SC scored again when Phil Kotter fired a rocket of a shot into the top corner of the net, after having received an excellent square-ball pass from Colin Jacques at the edge of the penalty area. At his point the flood-gates opened up and Croatia SC scored three more goals in rapid succession. The 5th goal was scored at the 75th minute mark when Colin Jacques became the finisher as he finished off an immaculate pass from Johnny Sulentic. Then, at the 80th minute mark, Johnny Sulentic completed his hat-trick on a fine individual effort as he fired a low shot from a sharp angle, a shot that bounced off both goalposts before entering the net.  Finally, at the 85th minute mark, Nicolas Espinoza rounded out Croatia’s scoring as he stripped the ball from a Westside defender in the middle of the park, raced in on goal all by himself, and deposited the ball into the back of the net in a calm and clinical manner. The entire Croatia SC team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of forward Johnny Sulentic and midfielders Colin Jacques and Eddie Tsen for their superlative performances. As a result of the rather easy victory, Croatia SC remains in 7th place in the Premier Division standings, with a 6-6-5 record, while Westside FC is still in 8th place, with 20 points from 17 matches.

COQUITLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  3-1:  On Saturday, at McLeod Park in Langley, the young Metro-Ford Wolves defeated the hosting Langley FC Hurricanes by a hard-fought 3-1 margin. Despite the fact that the first half was a scoreless affair, both teams created several excellent goalscoring chances. In particular—at about the 15th minute mark—Langley’s Oscar Jimenez sent an unmarked Joti Thind on a breakaway with an excellent pass. However, Thind’s final shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato. Shortly thereafter, Oscar Jimenez’ fine cross was headed wide of the Metro-Ford net by Harpreet Khakh. At the other end of the pitch, Luigi Pantusa’s wicked shot was well-saved by newly-signed goalkeeper Erik Rasmussen thus keeping the game scoreless until the halftime whistle. Early in the second half—at about the 55th minute mark—the Coquitlam team was able to take the lead when Luigi Pantusa took advantage of a Danny Badesha giveaway and proceeded to send Jules Chopin flying down the right flank with an excellent through ball. Chopin’s subsequent cross found a streaking Adam Jones who calmly deposited the ball into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal. Then, at about the 70th minute mark, the Wolves added their second goal of the match, once again on a fine shot by young Adam Jones as he finished off an excellent pass from newly-signed Carlo Basso. At the 80th minute mark, Basso and Jones reversed roles as Basso became the finisher as he scored his first goal of the season by heading home a well-taken corner kick by Jones. Luigi Pantusa also came close to scoring in the late stages of the match, but his blistering shot was well-saved by Erik Rasmussen. Very late in the match, the Hurricanes finally got on the scoreboard when young veteran Niko Marcina unlashed a wicket drive from just outside the penalty area, a shot that game goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato no chance whatsoever. Just before the final whistle, the Wolves almost re-established their 3-goal lead when Domenic Delli Santi found a wide-open Lucas Krivak inside the Langley penalty area. However, Krivak’s final shot sailed just wide of the Langley net, keeping the score at 3-1 till the final whistle. The entire Metro-Ford team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of midfielders Adam Jones, Devin Phelan, and Luigi Polisi for their remarkable performances. Also, forwards Luigi Pantusa and Jules Chopin were going concerns during the entire match. For the Hurricanes, defenders Jesse Dhami and Arjun Grewal—as well as goalkeeper Erik Rasmussen—played exceptionally well despite the loss.  As a result of the hard-earned victory, the Metro-Ford Wolves regain possession of second place in the Premier Division standings, with a 8-5-4 record, while the Langley Hurricanes slip to 6th place, with 25 points out of 17 matches.

CCBRT UNITED  -  NORVAN FC  3-1:  Also on Saturday, at Confederation Park in North Vancouver, the red-hot CCBRT United remained in the running for the Premier Division title by defeating the hosting Norvan FC by a clear-cut 3-1 margin. As usual, Norvan FC got off to a bright start and controlled most of the action in the early stages of the match. The home team was rewarded at the 20th minute mark when Ashley Bradshaw demonstrated some incredible pace as he took advantage of a speculative long ball from Martin Nash, beat goalkeeper Pratap Sandhu and calmly proceeded to find the back of the net in clinical fashion. Norvan FC continued to press and came close to scoring on a couple of other occasions but young goalkeeper Pratap Sandhu kept CCBRT United in the game with two outstanding saves—on shots by Martin Nash and Sebastian Crema. Unfortunately for the Norvan lads, their most dangerous player—Ashley Bradshaw—suffered an ankle injury late in the first half and was forced to miss the remainder of the contest. The second half told a totally different story as the visitors took over the reins of the match and practically dominated the entire 45 minutes. After coming close to scoring on a couple of occasions—on shots by Milad Rahmati and Phil Lensky—CCBRT United finally knotted the score at the 70th minute mark when Navid Mashinchi sent Milad Rahmati flying down the right flank with a picture-perfect pass. Rahmati beat a couple of Norvan defenders before crossing the ball into the box, where Nick Soolsma calmly converted the pass into the tying goal with a low shot. A few minutes later—at about the 75th minute mark—CCBRT United took the lead when Milad Rahmati took advantage of a defensive error and finished off the play—initiated by Derrick Bassi—by racing in on goal on a breakaway and eventually slotting the ball into the back of the net. CCBRT United continued to press and could easily have added a few more goals to their margin of victory, but Norvan goalkeeper—Giancarlo Martino—pulled off a few excellent saves, particularly on shots by Nick Soolsma and Bobby Jhutty. Late in the game, CCBRT United scored what proved to be the insurance marker with Milad Rahmati once again involved in the play as he beat a few Norvan defenders before passing the ball to Nick Soolsma, who immediately sent Shabhaz Khattra in on goal with a clover pass. Khattra then finished off the play in clinical fashion, giving Giancarlo Martino no chance whatsoever with his final shot. Needless to say, CCBRT United’s forwards Milad Rahmati and Nick Soolsma were towards of strength, particularly during the second half, while defender Derrick Bassi and midfielder Bobby Jhutty also performed admirably in a winning cause. Despite the loss, Norvan midfielders Martin Nash and Devin Delaney worked tirelessly in the middle of the park while defenders Stewart Elliot and Scott Gilroy played very well against the talented CCBRT forwards. The victory elevates CCBRT United into third place, with a commendable 8-3-5 record, while Norvan FC remains in the dreaded relegation zone, with 17 points out of 17 games.

COLUMBUS FC  -  EDC FC BURNABY  1-1:  The third—and final—Saturday game was played at Trillium Park in Vancouver and featured two teams in desperate need of points—albeit for different reasons—the hosting Columbus FC and the visiting EDC Burnaby.  At the end of 90 minutes of exciting action, both teams had to settle for a disappointing 1-1 tie, a result that does neither one of them any favours. Both teams got off to bright starts and exchanged various goalscoring opportunities in the early stages of the match. Columbus’ best chances came very early in the game as Sheu Fortunato and Kazunori Kikuchi were both stymied by goalkeeper Hugo Vasquez as he pulled off a couple of exceptional saves on their close-range shots. A few minutes later—at the other end of the pitch—Mynor Campos received a clever pass from Admir Salihovic, but his subsequent shot from the edge of the penalty area was brilliantly saved by Columbus’ goalkeeper Thomas Lindley. Shortly thereafter, it was Salhiovic’s turn to have his shot saved by Lindley, after he had been set up by Eric Ray. EDC Burnaby managed to take the lead midway through the first half when Eric Ray sent Habil Otieno streaking towards the Columbus goal on a clear-cut breakaway. Unfortunately for Otieno, his final shot was superbly saved by Thomas Lindley. However, a very attentive Admir Salihovic was able to pick up the rebound and slot the ball home for Burnaby’ go-ahead goal. Late in the first half, the Chileans almost doubled their lead when Brian Dottin’s cross found an unmarked Habil Otieno inside the Columbus penalty area. Once again, however, Thomas Lindley rose to the occasion and made a fine save to deny Otieno’s glorious goalscoring opportunity. Early in the second half, EDC Burnaby once again came close to scoring when Eric Ray’s cross was headed towards the net by Brian Dottin. Once again, however, Thomas Lindley was able to make a fine save. As luck would have it, it was Columbus FC that scored the equalizer midway through the second half when Sheu Fortunato’s corner kick found Kazunori Kikuchi at the top of the penalty area. Kikuchi’s subsequent blistering shot found the back of the Chilean net, thus tying the score. Shortly thereafter, Sheu Fortunato was sent off for having received his second caution of the match, thus reducing Columbus FC to 10 men for the rest of the match. Very late in the game EDC Burnaby almost scored what would have been the winning goal when Admir Salihovic and Eric Ray played a clever one-two inside the Columbus penalty area, only to have Salihovic’s final pass go straight into the arms of goalkeeper Thomas Lindley. Defensively, Graham Smith was a tower of strength in the Columbus line-up, while midfielders Jonathan Poli and Kozo Manome—as well as goalkeeper Thomas Lindley—also played extremely well. For EDC Burnaby, goalkeeper Hugo Vasquez, defender Narcisse Tchoumi, midfielder Admir Salihovic, and forward Brian Dottin deserve special mention for their outstanding performances. As a result of the tie, Columbus FC slips to 4th place in the Premier Division standings, with a 8-3-6 record, while EDC Burnaby climbs to 8th place, with 20 points out of 17 matches.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  WEST VAN FC for their impressive performance in defeating the defending Provincial Cup champions—Surrey United—by a clear-cut 2-0 score. Led by the superlative performance of midfielder Cathal O’Connor, West Van FC fully deserved the shutout victory, a victory that keeps the former Trollers in first place in the Premier Division standings.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:  Croatia SC forward JOHNNY SULENTIC and Metro-Ford midfielder ADAM JONES for their superlative performances in their team’s victories over Westside FC and Langley FC respectively. Sulentic was his usual dangerous self in his team’s 7-0 victory over Westside, as he scored 3 excellent goals and continuously drove the Westside defenders to distraction with his unbelievable skills. Young Adam Jones scored two brilliant goals for the Metro-Ford Wolves and worked tirelessly in his midfield role throughout the match For their brilliant performances this past weekend, JOHNNY SULENTIC and ADAM JONES will each receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of the GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available until 2014-02-06.

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2014-01-13

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 17

As a result of its decisive 3-0 victory over Westside FC, West Van FC leapfrogged into sole possession of first place in the Premier Division standings, taking advantage of Columbus’ third straight loss. At the bottom of the table, the luckless ICST Pegasus remained mired in last place after having suffered yet another narrow loss, this time by a 1-0 score against the aspiring Surrey United Firefighters.

CCBRT UNITED  -  COLUMBUS FC   3-1:  On Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park, the hosting CCBRT United defeated Columbus FC by a clear-cut 3-1 margin, thus dropping the ‘Italians’ out of first place in the Premier Division standings. The home team got off to a great start and scored two goals in rapid succession early in the game. The first goal was scored at the 10th minute mark when young Sameer Grewal received an excellent through ball from Nick Soolsma before sending a cross/shot into the Columbus penalty area. Much to Columbus’ chagrin, goalkeeper Thomas Lindley fumbled the ball into his own net, thus giving CCBRT United the lead. Shortly thereafter, CCBRT United doubled its lead, once again on a Thomas Lindley faux-pas. On this occasion, Nick Soolsma intercepted a clearance by Lindley, raced in on goal on a breakaway and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the Columbus net for what proved to be the winning goal. To their credit, the ‘Italians’ fought back tenaciously and came close to scoring when Steve DeBlasio beat a couple of CCBRT United defenders at the edge of the penalty area before unleashing what appeared to be an unstoppable shot. However, goalkeeper Luke O’Shea rose to the occasion and pulled off what might be considered a miraculous save. Soon thereafter, it was Kazanori Kikuchi’s turn to miss a glorious opportunity to narrow the margin when he was sent in on goal on a semi-breakaway by Steve DeBlasio. However, Kikuchi’s final shot barely missed the target. A few minutes later, Robbie Cairns tried to chip the ball over goalkeeper Luke O’Shea from well outside the penalty area. Once again, O’Shea was not to be beaten, as he tipped the ball over the crossbar. At the other end of the pitch, CCBRT United also came close to adding to its lead but efforts by Milad Rahmati and Nick Soolsma were well-saved by Thomas Lindley. The second half belonged almost entirely to Columbus FC as the visitors threw caution to the wind in an attempt to get back into the match. They finally succeeded midway through the second half when Cory Martinello’s well-executed corner kick found Steve DeBlasio at the edge of the penalty area. DeBlasio then proceeded to blast the ball into the back of the net, for his 13th goal of the season. Columbus FC continued to press in search of the equalizer, but—as luck would have it—CCBRT United was able to score the insurance marker late in the game when Bobby Jhutty and Nick Soolsma played a clever one-two before Jhutty finished off the play with a brilliant shot from just outside the penalty area.  Needless to say, goalkeeper Luke O’Shea was outstanding during the entire match as he led CCBRT United to victory with several spectacular saves. Also, 18-year old midfielder Sameer Grewal turned in a remarkable performance, while Bobby Jhutty and Milad Rhamati were dangerous, mostly on counter-attacks. For Columbus FC, Steve DeBlasio played extremely well in his forward position as he drove the CCBRT United defenders to distraction with his poise and skill. The hard-earned victory improves CCBRT United’s record to 7-3-5, good for 6th place in the standings, while Columbus FC drops to 3rd place, with 26 points out of 16 games.

LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  -  EDC BURNABY 3-0:  Also on Friday evening, at Burnaby Lake West, the visiting Langley FC Hurricanes disposed of the struggling EdC FC Burnaby team by an elaborate 3-0 scoreline. The Hurricanes applied a ton of pressure on the Chilean defenders during the early part of the match and were able to open the scoring at the 15th minute mark when Niko Marcina stripped the ball from a Burnaby defender and chipped it into the net, over the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Mike Newton from well outside the penalty area. Then, about 10 minutes later, Niko Marcina became the provider as he raced down the left flank before crossing an impeccable ball onto the path of newly-signed Arjun Grewal who proceeded to one-time it into the back of the net from close range. The Chileans exerted some pressure of their own in the early stages of the second half and came close to scoring on a few occasions. In particular—at about the 47th minute mark—second half substitute Josh Hardy beat ac couple of Langley defenders down the left flank before blasting a low shot towards the Hurricanes’ net. Unfortunately for the Chileans, the shot barely missed the target. Also—at about the 50th minute mark—Admir Salihovic set up Habil Otieno at the edge of the Hurricanes’ penalty area but Otieno’s thunderous shot was cleared off the line by Pavi Dhillon, keeping the score at 2-0 in Langley’s favour. The Hurricanes bounced back and put the Chileans out of their misery by scoring their third—and final—goal at the 80th minute mark when Amar Mander converted an excellent pass from Oscar Jimenez with an unstoppable shot from well outside the penalty area—a shot that gave Mike Newton no chance whatsoever. The entire Langley team played remarkably well, despite the miserable weather conditions, but special mention should be made of veteran central defender Steve Millar for his stellar performance. Also Niko Marcina was a going concern throughout the contest in his central midfield position. For EDC Buranby, defender Gus Ramirez and midfielder Geordie Penman deserve special mention for their commendable performances, despite the humiliating loss. As a result of the victory, the Hurricanes improve their record to 7-4-5, good for 5th place in the Premier Division standings, while EDC Burnaby remains in 9th place, with 19 points out of 16 games.

COQUITLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  CROATIA SC  2-2:  On Saturday, at Coquitlam Town Centre, the Metro-Ford Wolves and the visiting Croatia SC settled for a  23-2 tie after a hard-fought 90 minutes of non-stop action between two very young teams. Very early in the match—at about the 6th minute mark—the Wolves took the lead when Adam Jones converted a penalty kick in clinical fashion. The play originated when veteran Andrew Veer and young Luigi Pantusa combined to set up Adam Jones inside the Croatian penalty area. Jones was subsequently fouled by  Nicolas Espinoza, resulting in the penalty kick being awarded to Metro-Ford. As mentioned earlier, Adam Jones himself stepped up to the plate and finished off the play with a low, hard shot into the corner of the Croatian net. The Wolves continued to press and controlled most of the action during the remainder of the first half. They were rewarded at the 30th minute mark when Luigi Pantusa sent newly-signed Jules Chopin flying down the right flank with an immaculate pass. Chopin then proceeded to cross the ball into the Croatian box where Adam Jones was able to score his second goal of the match with a brilliant header. The second half told a totally different story as the Croatians threw caution to the wind in an effort to get back into the contest. They were able to narrow the margin at about the 70th minute mark when Colin Jacques and Johnny Sulentic played a quick one-two at the edge of the Metro-Ford penalty area, a play that was eventually finished off by Jacques’ low shot into the back of the Metro-Ford net. A few minutes later, the visitors came close to knotting the score when Johnny  Sulentic’s free-kick found an unmarked Daniel Rogic at the top of the Metro-Ford penalty area. However, Rogic’s subsequent low shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Mathew Bird. The Croatians were finally able to tie things up at about the 80th minute mark in a rather bizarre fashion as Johnny Sulentic’s corner kick was headed towards the Wolves’ goal by Phil Kotter. The ball then took a couple of deflections before Colin Jacques managed to flick the ball between a number of Metro-Ford defenders and into the back of the net for the equalizer. The Wolves responded in kind and came close to re-establishing their lead on a couple of occasions in the late stages of the match, but Adam Jones’ free-kick bounced off the cross-bar, while Jules Chopin’s shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Simon Cohen. Needless to say, Adam Jones was a tower of strength in the Metro-Ford midfield as he worked tirelessly throughout the contest. For Croatia SC, midfielders Colin Jacques and Phil Kotter were going concerns during the entire 90 minutes of play, while veteran striker Johnny Sulentic was his usual skillful and dangerous self. The tie drops the Metro-Ford Wolves to 3rd place in the standings, with a 7-5-4 record, while Croatia SC remains in 7th place, with an even 5-6-5 record.

INTER FC  -  NORVAN FC  2-1:  Also on Saturday, at Confederation Park in North Vancouver, Inter FC defeated the hosting Norvan FC by a narrow 2-1 margin, a victory that improves the Italians’ chances of avoiding relegation. As the scoreline indicates, the match was very evenly played, with both teams taking turns attacking and defending. The home team got off to a bright start and took the lead early in the contest—at about the 15th minute mark—when Sebastian Crema picked up a rebound from a shot by Nathan Harte and clinically finished off the play with an unstoppable shot. Just before the halftime whistle, Inter FC was able to knot the score when Cristian Tropeano converted Milad Mehrabi’s well-taken free-kick with a glancing header. The insertion of young veteran Andrew Corazza in the Inter line-up paid enormous dividends during the second half as he was a dangerous threat for the remainder of the contest. At about the 75th minute mark, Corazza was compensated for his hard work as he scored what proved to be the winning goal in clinical fashion after having received an excellent pass from Alex Marrello. Soon thereafter, Corazza came close to scoring his second goal of the match but was denied the golden opportunity by goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino’s phenomenal save. Norvan FC bounced back tenaciously and tried hard to knot the score by creating several goalscoring opportunities in the late stages of the match. Needless to say, however, the score remained at 2-1 in Inter’s favour till the final whistle. For Inter FC, newly-signed midfielder Kam Amini turned in an excellent performance, while Alex Marrello worked tirelessly in the middle of the park during the entire match. Also, defenders Bryan Fong and Marco Visintin were rock-solid, limiting Norvan FC to few goalscoring chances. Finally, forwards Cristian Tropeano, Andrew Corazza, and Milad Mehrabi drove the Norvan defenders to distraction with their speed and skill. For Norvan FC, central defenders Kyle Bowman and Brent Dodge played extremely well, while midfielders Devin Gunech and Devon Delaney worked tirelessly during the entire contest, albeit in a losing cause. The hard-earned victory elevates Inter FC into a 10th place tie with Norvan FC in the Premier Division standings as both teams now have 17 points out of 16 matches.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  ICST PEAGSUS  1-0:  The third Saturday game was played at Cloverdale Athletic Park and featured two teams at opposite ends of the standings: the hosting Surrey United and the visiting ICST Pegasus. At the end of the day, the Firefighters were able to claim all 3 points—and thus remain in the running for the league title—by narrowly defeating the luckless Pegasus lads by a narrow 1-0 margin. As the score indicates, the game was very evenly played with both teams taking turns attacking and defending. ICST Pegasus had a couple of excellent chances to open the scoring early in the match, but Reynold Stewart barely missed the net on both occasions. At the other end of the pitch, Tommy Lowndes’ excellent cross ware narrowly missed by Sean Einarsson as he tried to head the ball into the back of the Pegasus net. Early in the second half, Pegasus once again came close to open the scoring when a close-range shot by Azad Palani was miraculously saved by veteran goalkeeper Paul Shepherd. Soon thereafter—at about the 65th minute mark—the Firefighters scored the lone goal of the contest when David Adams—after having received a great pass from Brad Petoom—beat a Pegasus defender before firing the ball into the back of the net from just outside the penalty area. The Pegasus lads tried very hard to get the equalizer but it was Surrey United that almost scored what would have been the insurance marker when Sean Einarsson’s shot was cleared off the line by defender Javid Khan. Very late in the match, ICST Pegasus came very close to equalizing when Azad Palani’s great header struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced out of danger. For the Firefighters, midfielder David Adams not only scored the game’s lone goal but also worked tirelessly during the entire match. Needless to say, veteran goalkeeper Paul Shepherd also deserves special mention for having made a few remarkable saves and thus earning the clean-sheet. For ICST Pegasus, Azad Palani was very dangerous in his forward position as he came close to scoring on a few occasions. The hard-earned victory elevates the defending Provincial Cup champions to second place, with a 7-5-3 record, while the luckless ICST Pegasus remain mired in last place with only 10 points out of 15 matches.

WEST VAN FC  - WESTSIDE FC  3-0:  The lone Sunday game was played at Musqueam Park between the resurging West Van FC and the unpredictable Westside FC. The visiting former Trollers had no difficulty in defeating the hosts by an elaborate 3-0 margin, a result that allows them to climb into sole possession of first place in the Premier Division standings. As the score indicates, the game was a one-sided affair, with the visitors creating numerous chances during the entire match. West Van FC took the lead at the 15th minute mark when a Max Baessato long throw-in was flicked on by striker Corey Birza and volleyed home in brilliant fashion by youngster Stefan Crameri. Ten minutes later, defender Mike Winter headed home a well-taken corner kick by Cathal O’Connor for what proved to be West Van’s insurance marker. Then, at about the 35th minute mark, Cathal O’Connor became the finisher as he powerfully one-timed a perfect pass from Stefan Crameri into the top corner of the Westside net from the edge of the penalty area. The visitors could have added a few more goals to their half-time lead, but efforts by Corey Birza, Cathal O’Connor, Stefan Crameri, and Jesse Fetterley all went awry. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first, with the exception that West Van FC was unable to convert any of its numerous goalscoring chances. In fact, second-half substitutes Desmond Tachie, Colin Phillips, and Dave O’Connor all squandered excellent chances to keep the scoreline somewhat respectable. West Van forwards Corey Birza and Stefan Crameri played extremely well during the entire contest, while midfielders Devan Woolley, Alan McIndoe, and Cathal O’Connor also turned in commendable performances. Defensively, Mike Winter was rock-solid while goalkeeper Garth Lagasse earned the easiest shut-out of his career as he had to make only one save—on a header by Zach Hamilton—during the 90 minutes of play. For Westside FC, midfielder Johnny Stonehocker returned to action after an 18-month injury lay-off and performed admirably despite the embarrassing loss. As mentioned earlier, the victory allows West Van FC to lay claim to first place in the Premier Division standings, with a record of 8-3-4, while Westside FC drops to 8th place, with 20 points out of 16 matches.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  WEST VAN FC for their superlative performance in disposing of the tough Westside FC by an elaborate 3-0 margin. The former Trollers dominated the entire match and could easily have won by an even more embarrassing scoreline. Led by the brilliant performance of midfielder Cathal O’Connor, West Van FC dominated the entire match and fully deserved the victory. As a result, West Van FC is now in sole possession of first place in the Premier Division standings.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  CCBRT UNITED goalkeeper LUKE O’SHEA for his phenomenal performance in his team’s upset 3-1 victory over Columbus FC. O’Shea kept his team in the game with several outstanding saves throughout the contest and was the main reason his team was able to capture all 3 points. For his brilliant performance this past weekend, LUKE O’SHEA will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of the GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available until 2014-01-30.

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2013-12-16

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 15

 

One big upset took place this past weekend as the Langley FC Hurricanes defeated the league-leading Columbus FC by a narrow 2-1 margin. As a result, the upper part of the standings got even tighter as 8 teams are now within 6 points of each other!  At the bottom of the table, Inter FC and ICST Pegasus remained mired in the dreaded relegation zone as a result of their narrow losses—to Westside FC and Metro-Ford respectively.

WEST VAN FC  -  EDC FC BURNABY  3-0:  On Friday evening, at Burnaby Lake West, the visiting West Van FC remained in the running for the Premier Division title by soundly defeating the hosting EDC FC Burnaby by a 3-0 margin.  The visiting former Trollers took over the reins of the match right from the opening whistle and created numerous chances before opening the scoring midway through the first half. However, Jesse Fetterley, Corey Birza, and Cathal O’Connor all missed the net with their shots. Finally, at the 25th minute mark, West Van FC was able to take the well-deserved lead when Cathal O’Connor took advantage of a defensive miscue, rounded goalkeeper Mike Newton and calmly placed the ball into the empty net for what proved to be the winning goal. Shortly thereafter, Jesse Fetterley’s thunderous shot bounced off the crossbar and out of danger, thus keeping the score at 1-0 in West Van’s favour till the halftime whistle. It should be mentioned that very late in the first half, EdC Burnaby’s midfielder Ylya Malek was sent off the field of play for a foul and abusive language infraction. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first as West Van FC continued to press forward in search of the insurance marker. The visitors were rewarded at the 55th minute mark when young Devan Woolley was fouled inside the penalty area by Burnaby’s Ricardo Alvarado, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded. On the ensuing spot shot, Corey Birza easily slotted the ball home, putting the game out of the Chileans reach. To add insult to Burnaby’s injury, veteran defender Narcisse Tchoumi was sent off shortly thereafter for having received his second caution in the match, thus reducing his team to 9 players. Then, at the 65th minute mark, West Van FC rounded out the scoring when Alan McIndoe finished off a great individual effort by blasting the ball into the back of the Burnaby net with an unstoppable, long-range shot. The final score could have been even more embarrassing had it not been for the fact that Corey Birza, Jesse Fetterley, Bruco Texiera, and Desmond Tachie missed the net on their excellent goalscoring chances. The entire West Van team played extremely well, but special mention should be made of midfielders Alan McIndoe and Cathal O’Connor who worked tirelessly during the entire match. Also, forwards Corey Birza and Jesse Fetterley deserve special mention as they drove the Burnaby defenders to distraction with their indomitable work-rate. The victory keeps West Van FC in third place in the standings, with a 7-3-4 record, while EDC Burnaby slips to 9th  place, with 19 points out of 15 games.

CCBRT UNITED  -  CROATIA SC  3-3:  Also on Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, CCBRT United and Croatia SC settled for a 3-3 draw after and exciting—and somewhat bizarre—90 minutes of play. The Croatians took a 2-0 halftime lead into the dressing and added a third goal in the early stages of the second half. However, the ‘never-say-die’ Rovers bounced back and managed to tie things up in the late stages of the contest. The visitors took the early lead at about the 15th minute mark when Ryan Zaharija won the ball in the middle of the park and proceeded to send Nicolas Espinosa flying down the right flank with an excellent pass. Espinosa’s subsequent pass found a wide-open Johnny Sulentic, whose final shot to the far post found the back of the net. Midway through the first half, Croatia SC added its second goal of the match when Paris Gee and Nicolas Espinosa played a clever give-and-go that resulted in Gee setting up Taj Sangara inside the CCBRT penalty area. Without a moment’s hesitation, Sangara then fired the ball into the top corner of the net, thus making the score 2-0 till the halftime break. Early in the second half, Croatia SC added its third goal when a quickly taken throw-in by Tomislav Tomic was controlled by Colin Jacques who then proceeded to play the ball back to Tomic who immediately crossed it to the back post where Nicolas Espinosa was able to volley it into the Rovers’ net. To their credit, the Rovers fought back tenaciously and managed to narrow the margin shortly thereafter when a fine cross by Navid Mashinchi was one-timed towards the Croatia net by Bobby Jhutty. Unfortunately for the Croatians, the ball was then deflected into the net by one of their defenders. At the other end of the pitch, the Croatians came close to re-establishing their extensive lead but Taj Sangara’s header—off a fine cross by Eddie Tsen—barely missed the target. Late in the match—at about the 85th minute mark—Bobby Jhutty became the provider as he sent Milad Rahmati in on goal with a well-placed through ball. Rahmati proceeded to beat a couple of Croatian defenders before depositing the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Once again Croatia SC responded in kind and came close to scoring what would have been the winning goal when Johnny Sulentic fired a long-range shot towards the Rovers’ net. Once again, however, the shot barely missed the net. Well into added time, CCBRT United was able to tie things up when goalkeeper Luke O’Shea’s long punt was flicked on by Sam Gill onto the path of Bobby Jhutty who then raced in on goal on a breakaway. However, goalkeeper Simon Cohen bravely saved Jhutty’s initial shot, only to have Jhutty pick up the rebound and set up Shahbaz Khattra who cleverly chested the ball into the net from close range for the equalizer. Croatia’s forward Johnny Sulentic and midfielder Phil Kotter played extremely well throughout the match as they created numerous goalscoring opportunities. For CCBRT United, goalkeeper Luke O’Shea pulled off several outstanding saves, particularly in the first half. Defensively, Avin Sidhu and Derrick Bassi were rock-solid while midfielders Joel Malouf and Bobby Jhutty also played remarkably well. The tie does neither team any favours as CCBRT United slips to 6th place—with a 6-3-5 record—while Croatia SC is now in 7th place—with an even 5-5-5 record.

COQUITLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  ICST PEGASUS  2-1:  On Saturday, at Coquitlam Town Centre, the Metro-Ford Wolves stayed in contention for first place by edging the last-place ICST Pegasus by a narrow 2-1 margin after an evenly-contested 90 minutes of non-stop action. The Pegasus lads got off to a good start and controlled most of the action in the early going. However, chances by Azad Palani, Sahil Sandhu, and Javid Khan were well-saved by Metro-Ford’s goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato. At the other end of the pitch, the Wolves also came close to opening the scoring when Luigi Pantusa’s long-range drive bounced off the crossbar. Also, Andre` Pietramala and Sasha Vukovic were unable to convert a couple of excellent passes from Lukas Krivak as their shots barely missed the Pegasus net. After a scoreless first half, it was Metro-Ford that took the lead—at about the 55th minute mark—when Sasha Vukovic’s great cross found a wide-open Andre` Pietramala who proceeded to clinically finish the play with an unstoppable shot from a very tight angle. The visiting Surrey-based team replied in kind and finally knotted the score at the 70th minute mark when Sahil Sandhu raced behind the Metro-Ford backline and calmly chipped the ball over Dillan Fogliato for the equalizer. Much to Pegasus’ chagrin, the Wolves regained the lead immediately thereafter when Luigi Pantusa set up Adam Jones with an impeccable pass. Jones beat the offside trap and clinically deposited the ball into the Pegasus net for what proved to be the winning goal. ICST Pegasus refused to give up and pressed forward tenaciously in search of the equalizer. However, goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato once again rose to the occasion and pulled off a couple of great saves—on shots by Gurjit Dhaliwal and David Samra—to keep his team in the lead till the final whistle. Metro-Ford’s young midfielder Adam Jones was once again a going concern throughout the match as he worked tirelessly for the entire 90 minutes. Defensively, Anthony DiNicolo and Alejandro Varela were rock-solid, while forwards Sasha Vukovic and Luigi Pantusa also deserve special mention for their tenacious performances. For ICST Pegasus, forward Sahil Sandhu was a constant threat to the Metro-Ford defenders during the entire contest, while substitutes Gurjit Dhaliwal, David Samra, Rylan Sanga, and Raaqim Amijee made a positive impact when they entered the field in the second half. The hard-earned victory solidifies Metro-Ford’s hold on second place, with a a 7-4-4 record, while ICST Pegasus remains at the bottom of the table, with only 10 points out of 14 games.

LANGLEY FC  HURRICANES  -  COLUMBUS FC  2-1:  Also on Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, the visiting Langley FC Hurricanes upset the Premier Division leaders—Columbus FC—by a narrow 2-1 margin. Despite the fact that the Hurricanes had the majority of ball possession during the first part of the game, it was Columbus FC that came the closest to scoring the opening goal in the early stages of the match when Steve DeBlasio’s wicked drive was bravely blocked by defender—and playing-coach—Steve Millar. Shortly thereafter, it was Langley’s turn to almost open the scoring when Cam Hundal beat a few Columbus defenders down the right flank before cutting the ball back onto the path of a streaking Joti Thind, whose subsequent shot was well-saved by goalkeeper Giordano DiPalma. Then, at about the 25th minute mark, Langley FC took the lead when veteran defender Woody Bradford won the ball in the middle of the park and quickly passed it to BJ Rockson, who cleverly back-healed it to Cam Hundal. Hundal then proceeded to race in on goal and finished the play in clinical fashion by slotting the ball into the back of the Columbus net. A few minutes later, Cam Hundal almost added his second goal of the game when he was sent on yet another breakaway, this time by Oscar Jimenez. Unfortunately for Hundal—and the rest of the Langley contingent—his final shot barely missed the target, leaving the score at 1-0 till the halftime whistle. To their credit, the ‘Italians’ refused to give up and started applying some heavy pressure of their own in the early stages of the second half. They were rewarded at about the 55th minute of the match when Steve DeBlasio unleashed yet another wicked drive from well outside the penalty area. The ball was then deflected into the back of the net by Steve Millar, as he tried once again to block DeBlasio’s shot. Immediately thereafter, Columbus FC almost took the lead when Steve DeBlasio’s long-range free kick just grazed the outside of the goalpost. However, it was the Hurricanes that scored what proved to be the winning goal midway through the second half when Cam Hundal intercepted a back-pass by Columbus’ Blair Robertson, raced in on goal on a breakaway and calmly deposited the ball into the net. With about 10 minutes remaining in the match, Langley’s Gurj Sandhu was sent off the field of play for having committed a violent conduct infraction, thus reducing his team to 10 men for the remainder of the match. Despite playing with only 10 men, the Hurricanes almost added to their lead late in the game when Cam Hundal sent BJ Rockson in on goal on what appeared to be a lethal breakaway. However, goalkeeper Giordano DiPalma stood tall and made a phenomenal save to keep the scoreline respectable. Needless the say, Cam Hundal was Langley’s top player as he was dominant throughout the contest and drove the Columbus defenders to distraction with his speed and skill. Defensively, Jesse Dhami, Steve Millar, and Woody Bradford also performed admirably as they used their vast experience to control the vaunted Columbus forwards for most of the contest. For Columbus FC, forward Steve DeBlasio was a thorn on the side of the Langley defenders, while midfielders Kozo Manome and Robbie Cairns worked indefatigably during the entire match, albeit in a losing cause. The Hurricanes’ victory improves their record to 6-4-5, good for 5th place in the standings. Columbus FC, on the other hand, remains in first place, with 26 points out of 15 matches.

WESTSIDE FC  -  INTER FC  1-0:  On Sunday, at Musqueam Park in Vancouver, two teams in desperate need of points—Westside FC and Inter FC—faced off.  At the end of the day, the home team—Westside FC—walked away with a hard-earned 1-0 victory. During a scoreless first half, Inter’s young veteran—Andrew Corazza—had a few excellent chances to open the scoring, but his shots barely missed the net. Also, Inter’s Milad Mehrabi came close to opening the scoring when—at about the 30th minute mark—his thunderbolt shot from the edge of the penalty area sailed just wide of the net. At the other end of the pitch, Westside’s Reece Branion found himself all alone inside the Inter goal area, but inexplicably rifled his shot over the crossbar. Soon thereafter, it was Mike Buree’s turn to miss a glorious goalscoring opportunity as his free header went straight into the arms of Inter’s goalkeeper, Erman Ozkan. Westside FC finally took the lead early in the second half—at about the 55th minute mark—when Brian Reems outmuscled an Inter defender before cutting the ball back into the penalty area onto the path of Kyung Gee, whose final shot gave goalkeeper Erman Ozkan no chance whatsoever. A few minutes later, Westside forward Brian Reems sent a picture-perfect cross into the Inter box, only to have Gavin Barrett miss the net—from very close range—with his subsequent shot. At this point, the ‘Italians’ started to push forward relentlessly in search of the equalizer but were unable to create any really good goalscoring chances. In fact, it was the Westsiders that came close to adding to their lead on counter-attacks. In particular, Kyung Gee’s close-range header—off a cross by Gi-Sung Ha—was once again brilliantly saved by Erman Ozkan. Also, Brian Reems failed to complete a great individual effort as he missed the net from close range, after having dribbled by a few Inter defenders. The entire Westside FC team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of holding midfielder Andre` Herath for his superlative performance as he constantly broke up Inter attacks. Defenders Gavin Barrett and Andre` Clerc also performed admirably as they held Inter’s dangerous forwards—Andrew Corazza and Milad Mehrabi—in check during practically the entire match. Forward Brian Reems and attacking midfielder Reece Branion also played very well for the winning team. For Inter FC, midfielders Alex Marrello and Joseph Marrello played extremely well, while defender Bryan Fong and goalkeeper Erman Ozkan managed to keep the scoreline respectable with strong performances. Westside FC thus climbs into 7th place, with an even 5-5-5 record, while Inter FC remains in 11th place, with only 14 points out of 15 games.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  NORVAN FC  2-1:  The last Premier Division game of the 2013 calendar year was played on Sunday evening at Cloverdale Athletic Park between the hosting Surrey United Firefighters and the visiting Norvan FC and ended in a narrow 2-1 victory for the home team.  The Firefighters took the game to the visiting team right from the opening whistle and put some enormous pressure on the Norvan backline. However, some excellent defending on the part of Tony Seddon, Kyle Bowman, Brent Dodge, and Graeme Tingey kept the vaunted Surrey United attackers at bay during the first 45 minutes of play. The Firemen continued to press in the early stages of the second half and came close to scoring at the 50th minute mark when David Adams chipped the ball over the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Reid Alsop, only to have the ball bounce off the crossbar. Surrey’s Vince Stewart picked up the rebound and blasted the ball towards the Norvan net, only to have Reid Alsop pull off a sensational save. Surrey United was finally able to take the well-deserved lead at the 60th minute mark when a free-kick by Tommy Lowndes was volleyed into the bottom corner of the Norvan net by Sean Einarsson. Ten minutes later, the Firefighters scored what proved to be the winning goal when Tommy Lowndes’ long-range shot was deflected into his own net by defender Stewart Elliot To their credit, the visitors refused to give up and threw caution to the wind in an attempt to get back into the game. However, a close-range shot by Nathan Harte sailed over the crossbar. Then, late in the match, Norvan FC was finally able to narrow the margin when former Whitecaps captain Martin Nash sent Sebastian Crema towards the Surrey United goal with a brilliant through ball. Crema made no mistake on the play and scored his team’s consolation goal in clinical fashion. Forwards Tommy Lowndes and Sean Einarsson played extremely well for Surrey United as they created numerous scoring chances throughout the contest. As mentioned earlier, Norvan’s backline—composed of Graeme Tingey, Brent Dodge, Kyle Bowman, and Tony Seddon—performed admirably during the entire match, as they withstood some enormous pressure from the talented Surrey attackers. The Firefighters’ victory keeps them in 4th place in the Premier Division standings, with a 6-5-3 record, while Norvan FC drops to 10th place, with 17 points out of 15 games.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  for their impressive 2-1 upset victory over the league-leading Columbus FC. Led by the exceptional defensive work of Woody Bradford and playing-coach Steve Millar, the Hurricanes limited the vaunted Columbus forwards to very few scoring chances. Also, the incredible performance of forward Cam Hundal played a huge part in Langley’s well-deserved victory as he scored two excellent goals and drove the Columbus defenders to distraction with his speed and skill.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Langley FC Hurricanes’ forward CAM HUNDAL for his marvellous performance in his team’s 2-1 victory over the highly-regarded Columbus FC. Not only did Hundal score two brilliant goals, but he was also a thorn on the side of the Columbus defenders during the entire contest. For his remarkable performance this past weekend, CAM HUNDAL will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-12-31.

 

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2013-12-10

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 14

One huge upset took place this past weekend as the resurging Croatia SC defeated the league-leading Columbus FC by a clear-cut 4-2 margin. In the meantime, Norvan FC edged the Langley Hurricanes by a narrow 2-1 score and, as a result, got out of the relegation zone. On a different note, the match between West Van FC and CCBRT United had to be postponed.

EDC FC BURNABY  -  ICST PEGASUS  2-1:  On Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, another resurgent team—EdC Burnaby—defeated the last place ICST Pegasus by a narrow 2-1 margin. As the score indicates, the match was quite evenly played and heavily contested, with both teams taking turns attacking and defending. Early in the match, the Chileans came close to opening the scoring on a couple of occasions, but Admir Salihovic had his two rapid-succession efforts brilliantly saved by Pegaus’ goalkeeper Andy Singh. At the other end of the pitch, Javid Khan had his well-taken free kick brilliantly saved by Burnaby’s goalkeeper Mike Newton as he swatted the ball off the goal-line in miraculous fashion. Midway through the first half, Burnaby’s Ylya Malek received a well-executed corner kick from Eric Ray and quickly fired the ball towards the Pegasus net. However, Andy Singh once again stood tall and pulled off yet another outstanding save. Late in the first half, EdC Burnaby finally took the well-deserved lead when Ylya Malek sent Admir Salihovic racing down the right flank with a picture-perfect pass. Salihovic proceeded to beat a couple of Pegasus defenders before cutting the back onto the path of a wide-open Carlos Marquez who had no difficulty in finishing off the play from close range. The home team bounced back tenaciously at the beginning of the second half and created a few excellent goalscoring chances. In particular, efforts by Azad Palani and Sahil Sandhu were well-saved by goalkeeper Mike Newton. Midway through the second half, ICST Pegasus was finally able to score the tying goal when Jag Gill eluded a couple of Burnaby defenders down the right flank and proceeded to send a dangerous and impeccable cross into the penalty area where Omari Aldridge powerfully headed the ball into the net. However, the Chileans responded in kind and scored what proved to be the winning goal midway through the second half. After having received a pefect pass from Ylya Malek, Admir Salihovic raced into the opponents’ 18-yard box and was subsequently fouled by a Pegasus defender. On the ensuing penalty kick, Ylya Malek easily converted the spot-shot into the winning goal. The visiting Chileans almost added to their lead on a couple of occasions, but efforts by Brian Dottin and Eric Ray were once again brilliantly saved by Andy Singh. Very late in the contest, ICST Pegasus came very close to tying the score when Jag Gill raced in on goal on a partial breakaway. However, goalkeeper Mike Newton prevented the glorious goalscoring opportunity with a fine save. The entire EdC Burnaby team played remarkable well in a winning cause, but special mention should be made of forwards Habil Otieno, and Carlos Marquez for their superlative performances as they drove the Pegasus defenders to distraction with their speed and skill. Also, midfielders Admir Salihoivic, Eric Ray, and Ylya Malek turned in commendable performances, while central defender Brandan Djambarov—and Under 21 call-up—also played remarkably well. Needless to say, goalkeeper Andy Singh was a tower of strength for ICST Pegasus as he made numerous brilliant saves throughout the contest, while forwards Sahil Sandhu and Azad Palani were extremely effective and dangerous when they entered the game as substitutes in the second half. As a result of the all-important victory, EdC FC Burnaby jumps into 6th place with an even 5-4-5 record, while ICST Pegasus remains mired in last place, with only 10 points out of 13 matches.

CROATIA SC  -  COLUMBUS  FC  4-2:  Also on Friday evening, at South Memorial Park in Vancouver, the underdog Croatia SC disposed of the first place Columbus FC by an impressive 4-2 margin. The Croatians took the early lead—at about the 5th minute mark—when Taj Sangara stripped the ball from a Columbus defender and quickly deposited it into the back of the net from a very sharp angle. Columbus FC managed to knot the score midway through the first  half when a long throw-in by Jamie Olson was handled inside the Croatia penalty area by Matteo Agnoloni, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to the ‘Italians’. Young veteran Sheu Fortunato stepped up to the plate and easily converted the spot shot into the equalizing goal. Soon thereafter, Columbus’ Steve DeBlasio had a great opportunity to give his team the lead, but his wicked shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Simon Cohen. Soon thereafter—at about the 35th minute mark—it was Croatia’s turn to squander a glorious goalscoring opportunity when Taj Sangara was sent in on goal on a breakaway by a clever Johnny Sulentic pass. However, Columbus’ goalkeeper Thomas Lindley was equal to the task and thwarted Sangara’s chance with a fine save. Late in the first half, Columbus once again came close to scoring what would have been the go-ahead goal when Cory Martinello was sent flying towards the Croatia goal by Kozo Manome. Unfortunately for the ‘Italians’, young goalkeeper Simon Cohen once again pulled off a phenomenal save to keep the score at 1-1 till the halftime whistle. The second half told a totally different story as the Croatians—led by veteran midfielder Johnny Sulentic—dominated proceedings for virtually the entire 45 minutes. They were rewarded at about the 60th minute mark when Paris Gee sent a long, diagonal pass down the right flank and onto the path of Johnny Sulentic. The former professional cut inside, beat a couple of Columbus defenders and unleashed an unstoppable left-foot shot into the top, far corner of the net. Ten minutes later, Croatia SC scored what proved to be the winning goal when Taj Sangara and Nicholas Espinoza combined to set up Johnny Sulentic inside the penalty area. Without a moment’s hesitation, Sulentic fired the ball home, this time with his right foot! Five minutes later—at about the 75th minute mark—Sulentic became the provider as he made a great run down the right flank before squaring the ball to an unmarked Nicholas Espinoza who had no problem in tapping the ball into the Columbus net. Very late in the game, Columbus FC managed to narrow the margin by scoring its second goal when midfielder Nathan Quan picked up a loose ball inside the Croatia penalty box and quickly fired a well-placed shot into the top corner of the net. The entire Croatia team played extremely well during the entire contest, but special mention should be made of forward Taj Sangara and midfielders Nicholas Espinoza and Phil Kotter for their impressive performances. Needless to say, Johnny Sulentic was his usual skillful self as he led his team to victory by scoring two excellent goals, setting up another, and controlling the midfield for the duration of the match. The remarkable victory improves Croatia’s record to an even 5-4-5, good for 6th place in the standings. Despite the loss, Columbus FC remains in first place with 26 points out of 14 matches.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  WESTSIDE FC  1-1:  On Saturday, at Cloverdale Athletic Park in Surrey, the Surrey United Firefighters were held to a 1-1 draw by the visiting Westside FC. The unpredictable Westsiders dominated practically the entire first half of play and only some stellar goalkeeping on the part of veteran Paul Shepherd kept the visitors off the scoresheet. In particular, at about the 25th minute mark, Mike Buree—after having received a clever pass from Andre` Herath—raced in a goal on a breakaway, only to be stymied by Shepherd’s excellent save. Then, a few minutes later, Andre` Herath controlled the ball at the edge of the penalty area before unleashing what appeared to be an unstoppable shot towards the Surrey United net. Once again, however, Paul Shepherd rose to the occasion and pulled off another semi-miraculous save. It should also be mentioned that, early in the match, Gavin Barrett almost gave Westside FC the lead when his close-range shot bounced off the goalpost and out of danger. The second half  was much more evenly played as the Firefighters got out of their slumber and started creating some goalscoring chances of their own. Early in the second half, Surrey’s Liam Millar came close to opening the scoring when he raced in on goal on a ‘semi-breakaway’, only to have goalkeeper Rowan Anders come off his line and thwart the opportunity. Then, at about the 60th minute mark, Surrey United took the lead with Liam Millar once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Millar made a great run into the 18-yard box before passing the ball to a wide-open Reece Miles, who buried his subsequent shot into the empty net. The Firefighters continued to press and came close to adding their second goal—at about the 75th minute mark—when Tom Lowndes beat a couple of Westside defenders before racing in on goal. However, goalkeeper Rowan Anders once again made a lunging save on Lowndes’ final shot. Very late in the match, Westside FC was able to knot the score when Kyung Gee’s corner kick was clinically headed home by Zach Hamilton. Westside’s Chris Williamson and Paddy Smith played extremely well in their outside back positions, while attacking midfielders Gavin Barrett and Mike Buree were dangerous throughout the match. Needless to say, Surrey United’s goalkeeper—Paul Shepherd—turned in a phenomenal first half performance as he kept his team in the match with some brilliant saves. As a result of the tie, Surrey Untied remains in 4th place in the Premier Division standings, with a 5-5-3 record, while Westside FC slips to 9th place, with 17 points out of 14 games.

COQUITLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  INTER FC  4-2:  Also on Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, the Metro-Ford Wolves managed to defeat Inter FC by a 4-2 scoreline, after falling behind on two separate occasions. After a scoreless—and rather uneventful—first half, Inter FC took the lead early in the second half on a fine individual effort by young veteran Andrew Corazza as he blasted the ball into the back of the net with an unstoppable, left-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area. A few minutes later—at about the 55th minute mark—Metro-Ford knotted the score when Luigi Pantusa scored his first goal of the match from a sharp angle, after he had beaten a couple of Inter defenders inside the penalty area. The ‘Italians’ bounced back and regained the lead shortly thereafter on yet another brilliant effort by Andrew Corazza, this time with a well-placed right-foot shot. To their credit, the young Wolves refused to give up and pressed forward relentlessly in search of the equalizer. At about the 75th minute mark, the visitors were able to even things up when a wicked shot by Sasha Vukovic was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Erman Ozkan. Luigi Pantusa, however, picked up the rebound and slotted the ball home from close range for the Wolves’ second equalizer. Metro-Ford continued to press forward in search of the winning goal and came close to accomplishing their feat on a couple of occasions, but two shots by Adam Jones bounced off the woodwork and out of danger. However, at the 80th minute mark, Adam Jones’ excellent through ball sent Luigi Pantusa flying towards the Inter net. Pantusa was able to finish off the play in clinical fashion as he fired the ball into the back of the net, once again from a sharp angle. Near the end of the match, the Wolves put Inter FC out of its misery by scoring their 4th goal, this time on a long-range shot by none other than Luigi Pantusa, after he had once again been set up by Adam Jones. The entire Metro-Ford team played remarkably well against the more experienced Inter team. However, special mention should be made of midfielders Andrew Veer and Adam Jones as they worked tirelessly during the entire match. Also, defenders Anthony DiNocolo, Carrson Gill, and Matt Besuschko were rock-solid during the entire contest, while wide midfielder Vito Iacobellis came on as a substitute for the injured Devan Phelan and performed remarkably well. Needless to say, Luigi Pantusa fully deserves to be named ‘Man of the Match’ for his impressive 4-goal performance. For Inter FC, forward Andrew Corazza scored two brilliant goals, while defender Bryan Fong and midfielders Marco Visintin and Alex Marrello also turned in excellent performances. The hard-earned victory places the Metro-Ford Wolves in second place, with a record of 6-4-4, while Inter FC slips to 11th place, with 14 points out of 14 games.

NORVAN FC  -  LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  2-1:  The third Saturday game took place at Confederation Park in North Vancouver between the hosting Norvan FC and the vistting Langley FC Hurricanes. At the end of 90 hard-fought minutes of play, the home team walked away with a well-earned 2-1 victory. The Norvan lads took the game to the Hurricanes right from the opening whistle but were unable to score during the first half. The best Norvan opportunity came early in the game when Devin Gunenc unleashed a wicked drive from just outside the penalty area, a shot that struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced down on the goal-line. Later in the first half, it was Blake Burgon’s turn to squander an excellent chance to score the opening goal, but his close-range shot sailed wide of the target. As luck would have it, it was Langley FC that took the lead early in the second half when Cam Hundal’s perfect cross was headed towards the Norvan goal by BJ Rockson. After the ball had bounced off the crossbar, Rockson picked up his own rebound and fired it home for the game’s opening goal. Norvan FC replied immediately thereafter and tied things up when Ashley Bradshaw beat a couple of Langley defenders before firing a low, unstoppable shot into the corner or the net. Soon thereafter, speedy Blake Burgon scored the winning goal after he was set up by Devin Delany. Delany then almost added Norvan’s third goal to his team’s tally, but his long-range effort bounced off the crossbar and out of danger. The Hurricanes tried hard to get back into the game, but some excellent defending on the part of Norvan’s Kyle Bowman and Graeme Tingey kept the score at 2-1 till the final whistle. Norvan’s victory elevates the North Shore team to 9th place in the standings, with a 4-5-5 record, while the Hurricanes slip to 6th place, with 19 points out of 14 games.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  CROATIA SC for its incredible performance in defeating the highly-regarded Columbus FC by a 4-2 margin. Led by veteran midfielder Johnny Sulentic, Croatia SC  dominated the second half of the match and eventually walked away with a well-deserved victory over the first-place Columbus FC.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:  Metro-Ford Wolves’ forward LUIGI PANTUSA and Croatia SC’s midfielder JOHNNY SULENTIC for their brilliant performances in their teams’ important victories over Inter FC and Columbus FC respectively. Pantusa scored all 4 of his team’s goals in the Wolves’ 4-2 victory over Inter FC, while Sulentic scored 2 great goals, set up another one, and controlled the middle of the park as Croatia upset Columbus by a 4-2 margin. For their remarkable performances this past weekend, LUIGI PANTUSA and JOHNNY SULENTIC will each receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-12-31.

 

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2013-12-03

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 13

With one exception, no big upsets took place this past weekend as the rich got richer and the poor got poorer! The lone exception was Norvan FC’s amazing 5-0 victory over Westside FC, a result that helps Norvan’s chances of avoiding relegation enormously. At the top of the table, Columbus FC solidified its hold on first place by edging West Van FC—another contender—by a slim 2-1 margin.

EDC FC BURNABY  -  INTER FC  3-2:  On Friday evening, at Burnaby Lake West, EdC Burnaby broke out of its 5-game losing streak by narrowly defeating the visiting Inter FC by a 3-2 margin. Despite the fact that Inter controlled most of the play in the early stages of the match, it was EdC Burnaby that took the lead at the 30th minute mark when Eric Ray and Habil Otieno combined to send Ylya Malek racing down the right flank. Malek’s subsequent cross found a wide-open Carlos Marquez inside the 18-yard box and the youngster had no difficulty in heading the ball home for the go-ahead goal. Shortly thereafter, Inter FC equalized when Marco Visintin’s wicked shot was deflected into the net by a EdC Burnaby defender. Early in the second half, Inter took the well-deserved lead when young veteran Andrew Corazza finished off a brilliant individual effort in his usual clinical fashion. Needless to say, the home team bounced back tenaciously and started taking over the reins of the match in search of the equalizer. However, efforts by Admir Salihovic and Chris Kyd were semi-miraculously saved by young goalkeeper Mircea Mangu. Midway through the second half, the home team once again came close to equalizing on 3 different occasions, but shots by Admir Salihovic, Chris Kyd, and Josh Hardy barely missed the Inter net. However, at about the 80th minute mark, EdC Burnaby was finally able to score the tying goal when Chris Kyd sent a picture-perfect through ball to Admir Salihovic who proceeded to get by a couple of Inter defenders before burying the ball into the back of the net. Then, with a few minutes remaining in the contest, EdC Burnaby lay claim to all 3 points when Ylya Malek’s well-taken corner kick found a wide-open Habil Otieno at the edge of the goal-area. Otieno had no difficulty whatsoever in slotting the ball home from close range for the winning goal. Burnaby’s midfielders Eric Ray, Ylya Malek, and Chris Kyd played extremely well—particularly in the second half—while strikers Carlos Marquez and Habil Otieno drove the Inter defenders to distraction with their speed and tenacity. Despite the heart-breaking loss, Inter’s defenders Roy Mattarollo, Bryan Fong, and Adriano Clemente played extremely well, while midfielder Milad Rehmadi also turned in a commendable performance. The all-important victory elevates EdC Burnaby to 7th place in the Premier Division standings, with a record of 4-4-5, while Inter FC is now mired in penultimate place, with only 14 points out of 13 games.

CCBRT UNITED  - ICST PEGASUS  3-1:  Also on Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, CCBRT United climbed up the ladder--into third place in the standings—by defeating the last place ICST Pegasus by a 3-1 scoreline. The visiting Pegasus team took the early lead when Paul Bahia won the ball in the middle of the park with an excellent tackle and quickly sent Azad Palani racing down the right flank with an immaculate pass. Palani then proceeded to cut the ball into the CCBRT penalty area to a wide-open Jag Gill who had no difficulty whatsoever in finishing off the play in clinical fashion. The home team responded in kind and pushed forward relentlessly in search of the equalizer. However, some excellent goalkeeping on the part of Pegasus’ Andy Singh—particularly on shots by Bobby Jhutty, Gagan Josan, and Shabaz Khattra—kept the vaunted United attackers off the scoresheet. However, midway through the first half, CCBRT United was finally able to equalize when Avin Sidhu sent Milad Rahmati flying towards the Pegasus net with an exquisite through ball. Rahmati—after beating a couple of defenders—proceeded to cut the ball back to a wide-open Navid Mashinchi who easily converted the pass into the equalizer from close range. CCBRT United continued to press and almost took the lead on a few occasions in the latter stages of the first half, but efforts by Shabaz Khattra, Milad Rahmati, and Derrick Bassi were once again brilliantly saved by Andy Singh. As a result, the first half ended with a 1-1 score. Despite the fact that the second half was more evenly played, it was CCBRT United that managed to score twice, and thus put the game out of Pegasus’ reach. The winning goal was scored at the 55th minute mark when Jacob Lensky and Navid Mashinchi played a clever give-and-go that resulted in Lensky’s shot being deflected into the net by a Pegasus defender. To their credit, the Pegasus lads refused to give up and exerted some severe pressure on the CCBRT United backline. However, efforts by Jag Gill, Javid Khan, and Azad Palani barely missed the target. As luck would have it, CCBRT United scored the insurance goal very late in the contest when Milad Rahmati—after beating a couple of Pegasus defenders—crossed an impeccable ball to Navid Mashinchi whose initial shot was brilliantly saved by Andy Singh. However, Maschinchi picked up the rebound and deposited the ball into the back of the net, thus putting ICST Pegasus out of its misery. Defensively, Derrick Bassi, Joel Malouf, and Avin Sidhu played exceptionally well for CCBRT United, while midfielders Jacbob Lensky, Navid Mashinchi, and Bobby Jhutty controlled the middle of the park with poise and composure. Forward Milad Rahmati was his usual dangerous self throughout the match as he was a thorn of the side of the Pegasus defenders for the entire 90 minutes of play. For ICSFT Pegasus, goalkeeper Andy Singh deserves special mention for his superlative performance. The scoreline would have been much more elaborate had it not been for Singh’s magnificent effort! As a result of the well-earned victory, CCBRT United climbs into sole possession of third place, with a respectable 6-2-5 record, while ICST Pegasus remains in last place, with only 10 points out of 12 games.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  METRO-FORD WOLVES  3-1:  On Saturday, at Coquitlam Town Centre, the Surrey United Firefighters won their third game in a row by beating the hosting Metro-Ford Wolves by a rather clear-cut 3-1 margin. The visiting Firefighters controlled most of the action during the first half and took a well-deserved 2-0 lead into the dressing room. The first Surrey United goal was scored at about the 20th minute mark when former Metro-Ford player Reece Miles received a picture-perfect pass from Vinnie Stewart and quickly blasted the ball into the bottom corner of the net from just outside the penalty area. A few minutes later, Surrey United added insult to the Wolves’ injury by scoring what proved to be the winning goal. On this occasion, the Firemen took advantage of a free-kick from just outside the 18-yard box as Vinnie Stewart laid a quick pass to Brad Peetoom, whose subsequent shot bounced off the defensive wall and into the top corner of the Metro-Ford net. To their credit, the young Wolves did not give up and played quite well during the second half in an attempt to get back into the game. At about the 55th minute mark, three Metro-Ford youngsters—Luigi Polisi, Adam Jones, and Lucas Krivak—played a clever 3-way passing play that resulted in Krivak scoring his first goal in the VMSL as he converted Polisi’s final pass in clinical fashion. The Wolves kept pressing in search of the equalizer but, as luck would have it, it was Surrey United that scored the insurance marker on a lethal counter-attack when Tom Lowndes set up Sean Einarsson with an immaculate pass. Einarrson then proceeded to unleash a wicked drive into the top corner of the Metro-Ford net, thus clinching his team’s victory. Soon thereafter, the Firefighters almost added another goal to their margin, but Reece Miles’ long-range drive was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato. Needless to say, Surrey United’s midfielder Vinnie Stewart turned in a superlative performance as he set up 2 of his team’s goals and demonstrated an enormous amount of skill and tenacity. Also, forward Sean Einarrsson caused grief to the Metro-Ford defenders with his pace and skill, while defenders Brad Peetoom and Nigel Marples were able to keep the Wolves’ scoring chances to a minimum. For Metro-Ford, young midfielder Luigi Polisi entered the match in the second half and was a real inspiration for his teammates. Also, forward Vito Iacobellis and midfielder Adam Jones played extremely well, albeit in a losing cause. The well-deserved victory elevates Surrey United to 4th place in the Premier Division standings, with a 5-4-3 record, while the Wolves slip to 5th place, with 19 points out of 13 games.

COLUMBUS FC  -  WEST VAN FC  2-1:  Also on Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, Columbus FC extended its lead at the top of the standings to 5 points by defeating the second-place West Van FC by a narrow—and hard-fought—2-1 score. The visiting West Van team came close to taking the lead early in the first half when Jesse Fetterly’s blazing shot hit the goalpost. On the ensuing rebound, Fettterly was once again denied a great goalscoring opportunity, this time by goalkeeper Thomas Lindley. Soon thereafter, it was Corey Birza’s turn to almost give the former Trollers the lead, but once again Thomas Lindley stood tall and pulled off another remarkable save. At the other end of the pitch, Columbus’ Streve DeBlasio and Jamie Olson also came close to opening the score, but their shots were well-saved by goalkeeper Garth Lagasse. Early in the second half, the ‘Italians’ opened the scoring when Lagasse mishandled a well-taken corner kick by Steve DeBlasio. The ball landed right at the feet of Luca Bellisomo who had no difficulty in placing it into the back of the net from close range. Shortly thereafter—at about the 60th minute mark—West Van FC knotted the score when newly signed Niall Cousins set up Corey Birza inside the Columbus penalty area with a nifty pass. Birza beat a Columbus defender before calmly slotting the ball into the bottom corner of the net for the equalizer. The visitors kept attacking in search of what would have been the winning goal and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions, but efforts by Niall Cousins and Corey Birza went awry. Late in the game, however, it was Columbus FC that managed to score the winner when Luca Bellisomo added his second goal of the contest when he took advantage of a bizarre goalmouth scramble and placed the ball into the net from close range. Just before the final whistle, West Van FC had two excellent oportunities  to even the score, but Jesse Fetterley and Drew Gelley both barely missed the net with their close-range shots, leaving the score at 2-1 for Columbus till the final whistle. Columbus’ backline—composed of Blair Robertson, Luca Bellisomo, Jamie Olson, and Stefano Bortulussi—played extremely well throughout the match, while midfielders Jonathan Poli and Robbie Cairns also performed admirably. For West Van FC, midfielders Devan Woolley and Cathal O’Connor worked relentlessly during the entire match, while forwards Jesse Fetterley and Corey Birza created numerous goalscoring chances. As mentioned earlier, Columbus’ victory increases the ‘Italians’ lead to 5 points at the top of the table, with a 8-2-3 record, while West Van FC remains in second place, with 21 points out of 13 games.

LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  -  CROATIA SC   2-1:  The third Saturday game took place at MacLeod Park in Langley  and featured two ‘middle of the pack’ teams: the hosting Langley FC Hurricanes and the visiting Croatia SC. At the end of 90 hard-fought minutes of play, the home team walked away with a well-earned 2-1 victory. The first half was very evenly played with both teams having several excellent goalscoring opportunities. The Croatians got off to a great start and almost took the lead at the 5th minute mark when a cross by Nicolas Espinoza was headed towards the Langley goal by Taj Sangara. However, Sangara’s header barely missed the far post of the net. Then, at the 20th minute mark, it was Anthony Sulentic’s turn for miss the net, this time on a fine pass by Taj Sangara. At the other end of the pitch—at about the 30th minute mark—a long punt by goalkeeper Steve Thomas landed on the feet of BJ Rockson who proceeded to beat a couple of Croatian defenders before blasting the ball towards the net. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, Rockson’s wicked shot barely missed the target. Langley FC continued to press in search of the opening goal, but Niko Marcina’s rocket of a shot bounced off the crossbar and out of danger. Soon thereafter, Croatia’s young goalkeeper—Christian Zimmerman—pulled off a couple of miraculous saves in rapid succession. First, he denied BJ Rockson an obvious goalscoring opportunity with a sensational save and then he stymied Oscar Jimenez’ effort after the Langley forward had picked up the rebound and attempted to place the ball into the Croatia net. Finally—in the dying moments of the first half—the Hurricanes were able to take the lead when Amar Mander’s rocket hit the underside of the crossbar and landed inside the Croatia goal. Very early in the second half, Croatia SC almost knotted the score when Phil Kotter’s header was well-saved by goalkeeper Steve Thomas. Then—at the 65th minute mark—the Croatians were able to score the tying goal when Kresimir Ukalovic sent Lucas Sweda flying the right wing with a brilliant pass. Sweda then proceeded to cross the ball into the penalty area, where Taj Sangara rose above the Langley defenders and proceeded to head the ball towards the net. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, the ball was then deflected into the back of the net by one of their defenders. Soon thereafter, Cam Hundal almost re-established Langley’s lead when he raced in on goal on a breakaway only to watch agonizingly as his final shot barely missed the net. Very late in the game, the Hurricanes managed to claim the hard-earned victory when some hard work by Cam Hundal paid enormous dividends as Oscar Jimenez converted Hundal’s pass into the winning goal in clinical fashion. Defensively, Langley’s Pavi Dhillon played extremely well, while midfielder Oscar Jimenez also turned in an excellent performance. Special mention should also be made of forwards Cam Hundal and BJ Rockson who worked tirelessly throughout the match. For Croatia SC, midfielder Nicolas Espinoza and forward Taj Sangara performed admirably, albeit in a losing cause. The hard-earned victory elevates Langley FC to 5th place in the standings, with a 5-4-4 record, while Croatia SC drops to 7th place, with 16 points out of 13 games.

NORVAN FC  -  WESTSIDE FC  5-0:  The lone Sunday game was played at Musqueam Park in Vancouver between Westside FC and the visiting Norvan FC.  At the end of the day, the visitors walked away with an all-important 5-0 victory, a result that helps their chances of avoiding relegation tremendously. The first half was quite evenly played, but somewhat monotonous, since neither team appeared in the mood to take any unnecessary chances. As the final score indicates, things chanced dramatically during the second half as the visiting North Shore team took control of the match and, in so doing, created numerous goalscoring chances. At the 50th minute mark, Norvan FC took the lead when Nathan Harte picked up a rebound—after Rowan Anders had saved his initial shot—and slotted the ball into the empty net from close range. Ten minutes later, Westside FC came close to equalizing when Ky Gee’s exxellent shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino. Shortly thereafter—at about the 67th minute mark—Norvan FC scored what proved to be the insurance marker when Devin Delaney headed home a well-taken corner kick by Sebastian Crema. At this point the floodgates opened up as Norvan FC scored 3 more goals in rapid succession. Incredibly, all 3 goals were scored by Nathan Harte and assisted by Sebastian Crema! On the first goal, Crema took advantage of a defensive faux pas and quickly set up Harte with a clever pass. Harte had no difficulty whatsoever in finishing off the play from close range. Then, the Westsiders were caught flat-footed on a counter-attack that ended with Crema sending Harte on a breakaway, a breakaway that he finished off clinically. Finally, Harte scored his 4th goal of the match with a close-range shot from a very sharp angle, once again after having received a wonderful pass from Sebastian Crema. The entire Norvan team played extremely well, especially during the second half, but special mention should be made of Nathan Harte and Sebastian Crema for their enormous contribution to the all-important victory. For Westside FC, the only bright light was midfielder Andre` Herath who worked extremely hard throughout the contest, despite the embarrassing result. The victory improves Norvan’s record to 3-5-5, good for 10th place in the standings, while Westside FC drops to 7th place, with 16 points out of 13 matches.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  NORVAN FC for its amazing performance in defeating the highly-regarded Westside FC by a remarkable 5-0 score. Led by Nathan Harte’s goalscoring prowess, Norvan FC totally dominated the second half of the match and eventually walked away with a well-deserved lop-sided victory.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Norvan FC’s forward NATHAN HARTE for his unbelievable 4-goal performance in his team’s upset 5-0 victory over Westside FC. All four of Harte’s goals were scored in brilliant fashion as he demonstrated a remarkable ability to score goals. For his excellent performance this past weekend, NATHAN HARTE will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-12-17.

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2013-11-26

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 12

Only one upset occurred this past weekend as the struggling Inter FC climbed out of the relegation zone by defeating the aspiring CCBRT United by a narrow 1-0 margin. Columbus FC remained in sole possession of first place by edging the last place ICST Pegasus, while Croatia SC continued its impressive unbeaten streak by beating Norvan FC by a 4-2 score.

WEST VAN FC  -  LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  4-0:  On Friday evening, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, West Van FC returned to its winning ways by defeating the visiting Langley FC Hurricanes by a lop-sided 4-0 margin. As the score indicates, the match was a one-sided affair, with the home team dominating proceedings from start to finish. The former Trollers took the lead midway through the first half when Corey Birza was fouled well outside the penalty area. Cathal O’Connor took the free-kick and found a wide open Corey Birza at the edge of the goal area. Birza’s subsequent header found the back of the Langley net for what proved to be the winning goal. West Van FC continued to press and came close to adding to its lead during the remainder of the first half, but efforts by Cathal O’Connor, Corey Birza, and Colin Phillips were all brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Steve Thomas. Early in the second half, West Van FC was finally able to score its second goal of the contest when Cathal O’Connor converted a great pass from young Devan Woolley into the insurance marker with an unstoppable drive from the edge of the penalty area. Then, at the 60th minute mark, O’Connor and Woolley switched roles as the youngster finished off a well-taken corner kick with a wicked drive into the top corner of the Langley net. Corey Birza rounded out the scoring at the 70th minute mark as he netted his second goal of the match in fine fashion, once again aided and abetted by Cathal O’Connor. On this occasion, O’Connor sent Birza in on the Langley goal with an excellent pass. Birza had no difficulty in placing the ball into the back of the net, for the game’s last tally. West Van’s attacking midfielder Cathal O’Connor was outstanding during the entire match as he scored a great goal and set up the other three markers. Under 21 call-up Devan Woolley also deserves special mention for his rock-solid performance in his central midfield role, while striker Corey Birza scored two great goals and was a thorn on the side of the Langley defenders during the entire match. For Langley FC, the only player who deserves special mention is goalkeeper Steve Thomas as he played remarkably well despite the embarrassing loss. As a result of the well-earned victory, West Van FC remains in 2nd place in the Premier Division standings, with a 6-3-3 record, while the Langley Hurricanes slip to 6th place, with 16 points out of 12 games.

 COLUMBUS FC  -  ICST PEGASUS  3-2:  Also on Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, Columbus FC remained all alone in first place by virtue of a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the hosting ICST Pegasus. Very early in the match, the ‘Italians’ almost took the lead when Steve DeBlasio set up Blair Robertson with a clever pass inside the Pegasus penalty area. However, Robertson’s subsequent shot barely missed the target. Shortly thereafter—at about the 15th minute mark—Columbus took the well-deserved lead with Steve DeBlasio once again being the provider. On this occasion, DeBlasio’s perfectly placed cross was brilliantly headed home by young Ryan Shaw from inside the penalty area. A few minutes later, Columbus added its second goal of the contest, when Steve DeBlasio became the finisher as he picked up a rebound—from a shot by Kazunori Kikuchi—and easily found the back of the Pegasus net. It should be mentioned that goalkeeper Andy Singh had made the initial save on Kikuchi’s shot. To their credit, the Pegasus lads didn’t give up and battled back tenaciously in an attempt to get back into the game. On one occasion, ICST Pegasus almost narrowed the margin when Jag Gill’s excellent shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Thomas Lindley. Finally—with about 10 minutes to go in the first half—the home team was able to narrow Columbus’ margin when Javid Khan easily tapped the ball into the back of the net from close range, after having received an excellent pass from Omari Aldridge. Needless to say, ICST Pegasus threw caution to the wind during the second half in a desperate attempt to knot the score. However, efforts by Gurj Dhaliwal and Javid Khan—both on set-ups by Rylan Sangha—went awry. Also, a golden opportunity by Jag Gill was cleared off the line by Columbus’ defender Blair Robertson. As luck would have it, it was Columbus FC that scored what proved to be the winning goal—at about the 75th minute mark—when Jonathan Poli sent Steve DeBlasio on a counter-attack breakaway with a brilliant pass. DeBlasio proceeded to race in on goal, rounded goalkeeper Andy Singh and easily deposited the ball into the empty net. Once again, however, ICST Pegasus bounced back and narrowed the Columbus margin at about the 80th minute mark when Omari Aldridge hammered home a brilliant pass from Paul Bahia. For Columbus FC, forward Steve DeBlasio played extremely well as he scored two excellent goals and set up another. Also, midfielder Robbie Cairns and defender Luca Bellisomo turned in admirable performances. For ICST Pegasus, forward Omari Aldridge was a beacon of strength throughout the contest as he drove the Columbus defenders to distraction with his speed and skill. The narrow victory solidifies Columbus’ hold on first place, with a 7-2-3 record, while ICST Pegasus remains mired in last place, with only 10 points from 11 games.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  EDC FC BURNADY  2-1:  On Saturday, at Cloverdale Athletic Park, the reigning Provincial Cup champions—Surrey United Firefighters—won their second consecutive game at the expense of the struggling EdC FC Burnaby by defeating the visitors by a narrow 2-1 margin. The game got off to a very interesting start as both teams scored a goal in the first 10 minutes of play! At the 5th minute mark, Surrey United opened the scoring when a great cross by Vince Stewart was headed home in brilliant fashion by Sean Einarsson. The Chileans replied in kind and knotted the score 5 minutes later when the Premier Division top goalscorer—Rizal Ganief—was sent in on goal by Eric Ray, rounded the Surrey United goalkeeper—veteran Paul Shepherd—and slotted the ball into the open net. Immediately thereafter, the Firefighters almost retook the lead, but a long-range shot by Sean Einarsson bounced off the goalpost and out of danger. Even though the Chileans carried most of the play during the second half, it was Surrey United that clinched the victory at the 70th minute mark when Colin Streckmann—after having received a great pass from Reece Miles—blasted an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner of the net, giving goalkeeper Mike Newton no chance whatsoever. The Burnaby team continued to put pressure on the Surrey United defenders and came close to tying the game on a few occasions, but efforts by Rizal Ganief and Admir Salihovic went awry, leaving the score at 2-1 in Surrey United’s favour till the final whistle. For the Firefighters, defenders Brad Peetoom, Scott McEachern, Nigel Marples, and Ravi Jammu were rock-solid, while midfielders Colin Streckmann and David Adams worked tirelessly during the entire match. For EdC Burnaby, defender Narcisse Tchoumi was his usual indomitable self, while midfielders Admir Salihovic, Eric Ray, and Habil Otieno also deserve special mention for their excellent performances. As a result of the hard-earned victory, Surrey United climbs to 5th place in the standings, with a respectable 4-4-3 record, while EdC Burnaby is now in 10th place, with only 13 points out of 12 games.  

CROATIA SC  -  NORVAN FC  4-2:  Also on Saturday, at Confederation Park in North Vancouver, Croatia SC extended its unbeaten streak to 6 games by defeating the hosting Norvan FC by a 4-2 margin. Very early in the match—at about the 5th minute mark—the Croatians took the lead when the ever-present Johnny Sulentic sent Kresimir Ukalovic flying down the right flank with an immaculate through ball. Ukalovic subsequently squared the ball across the 6-yard box to a wide-open Paris Gee who made no mistake in converting the pass into the game’s opening goal. Midway through the first half, Paris Gee repeated his previous feat with a very similar goal, this time on a pass from Eddie Tsen. Despite the fact that Norvan FC controlled most of the action during the second half, it was Croatia SC that scored what proved to be the winning goal at about the 60th minute mark. On this occasion, Johnny Sulentic became the finisher as he converted an excellent pass from cousin Anthony Sulentic into the clinching goal with an unstoppable drive from inside the penalty area. To their credit, the Norvan lads refused to give up and narrowed the margin at the 75th minute mark when a Nathan Harte shot was handled by Paris Gee inside the 18-yard box. Harte himself stepped up to the plate and easily converted the ensuing penalty kick to reduce Croatia’s margin to 3-1. Five minutes later, Norvan’s Matt Hartwell scored his team’s second goal on a brilliant diving header after Blake Burgon’s shot had been brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Simon Cohen. Needless to say, the home team pushed forward relentlessly in search of the equalizer for the remainder of the match. Just before the final whistle, Norvan was awarded a corner kick and all the Norvan players—including goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino—swarmed into the Croatia penalty area. The Croatians took advantage of the situation and managed to score the insurance marker on a deadly counter-attack as Johnny Sulentic sent Matteo Serka in on the Norvan goal with a picture-perfect pass. Serka proceeded to race in on goal and eventually placed the ball into the open net, thus putting the match out of Norvan’s reach. Once again, former professional Johnny Sulentic was a tower of strength in the Croatia SC midfield, while a couple of youngsters—central defender Matteo Agnoloni and midfielder Paris Gee—also performed extremely well in a winning cause. Despite the loss, Norvan’s central defenders Nathan Harte and Kyle Bowman turned in excellent performances, while midfielder Alex Wilson and forward Matt Hartwell also deserve special mention for their admirable efforts. The victory elevates Croatia SC to 6th place in the standings, with an even 4-4-4 record, while Norvan FC remains in penultimate place, with only 11 points out of 12 matches.

INTER FC  -  CCBRT UNITED  1-0:  The third Saturday game took place at Trillium Park in Vancouver and featured the hosting Inter FC and the visiting CCBRT United.  At the end of the day, the ‘Italians’ walked away with a hard-earned—and very important—1-0 upset victory, a result that allows them to climb out of the dreaded relegation zone. The visiting CCBRT United got off to a bright start and came close to scoring the opening goal on a couple of occasions early in the match. The first attempt was on a full-volley by Jason Wahlla from well outside the penalty area, a shot that forced goalkeeper Erman Ozkan to pull off a miraculous save. Shortly thereafter, it was Gary Chahal’s turn to be stymied by yet another brilliant save by Ozkan. As luck would have it, it was Inter FC that opened the scoring at about the 15th minute mark on a goal by Milad Mehrabi as he finished off a picture-perfect cross by Donald Kambere, for what proved to be the lone goal of the match. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first as CCBRT United pressed hard for the equalizer, while Inter FC defended tenaciously and counter-attacked dangerously. At about the 60th minute mark, defender Brian VanSchagen was sent off the field of play for having received his second caution of the match, thus reducing Inter FC to 10 men for the remainder of the contest. Needless to say, CCBRT United pressed forward vigorously in an attempt to knot the score. However, Gagan Josan was unable to finish off a couple of great feeds by Jacob Lensky, thus keeping the score at 1-0 in Inter’s favour till the final whistle. As mentioned earlier, Inter’s goalkeeper Erman Ozkan was outstanding as he fully deserved the clean-sheet by pulling off some incredible saves. Also midfielder Alex Marrello worked tirelessly throughout the contest, while defenders Adriano Clemente and Marco Visintin were rock-solid during the entire match. Despite the heart-breaking loss, defenders Derrick Bassi and Avin Sidhu played remarkably well for CCBRT United, while midfielders Jacob Lensky and Navid Mashinchi also worked very hard during the entire match. The all-important victory elevates Inter FC into 9th place in the Premier Division standings, with a record of 4-2-6. Despite the loss, CCBRT United remains in 4th place, with 17 points out of 12 matches.

WESTSIDE FC  -  METRO-FORD WOLVES  1-1:  The lone Sunday game was played at Musqueam Park in Vancouver between Westside FC and the visiting Metro-Ford Wolves. After a well-played—and hard-fought—90 minutes of non-stop action, both teams had to settle for a 1-1 tie. The visiting Coquitlam team controlled most of the play during the first half, took a 1-0 lead, and created several other goalscoring opportunities. However, the Westsiders bounced back during the second half and deservedly were able to knot the score. The Wolves took the lead midway trough the first half when Luigi Pantusa finished off a brilliant 3-way passing play—also involving Domenic Delli Santi and Lucas Krivak—in clinical fashion. Soon thereafter, Metro-Ford came close to doubling its lead when Devin Phelan’s excellent cross found Domenic Delli Santi at the far post. Unfortunately for the Wolves, Delli Santi’s final shot sailed over the crossbar, keeping the score at 1-0 till the halftime whistle. As mentioned earlier, Westside FC took over the reins of the match during the second half and quickly knotted the score—at about the 52nd minute mark—when Peddy Smyth’s long throw-in found Brian Reems inside the Metro-Ford penalty area. Reems proceeded to flick the ball to newly-signed Cam Davis who headed the ball home for the tying goal. The Westsiders continued to press and came close to taking the lead on a couple of occasions, but efforts by Cam Davis and Brian Reems barely missed the net. At the other end of the pitch, the Wolves also came close to scoring very late in the match, but a wicked drive by Luigi Pantusa went wide of the Westside net. Just before the final whistle, Metro-Ford’s young veteran Andrew Veer was sent off the field of play for having committed a serious foul play infraction. For Westside FC, centre-back Lucien Meylan turned in a remarkable performance, while forward Brian Reems was a real handful for the young Metro-Ford defenders. For the Wolves, defender Alejandro Varela, midfielder Devin Phelan, and forwards Luigi Pantusa and Lucas Krivak also played extremely well. The tie drops Metro-Ford to 3rd place in the standings, with a 5-4-3 record, while Westside FC remains in 6th place, with 16 points out of 12 games.

TEAM OF THE WEEK:  WEST VAN FC for its excellent performance in easily defeating the highly-regarded Langley FC Hurricanes by an elaborate 4-0 margin. Led by the excellent performances of attacking midfielder Cathal O’Connor, young midfielder Devan Woolley, and forward Cory Birza, the former Trollers controlled the match from start to finish and fully deserved the lop-sided victory.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Inter FC’s midfielder ALEX MARRELLO for his brilliant performance in his team’s upset 1-0 victory over the heavily-favoured CCBRT United. Marrello played extremely well during the entire match, but especially during the last 30 minutes, after his team had been reduced to 10 men. For his amazing performance this past weekend, ALEX MARRELLO will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-12-12.

 

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2013-11-19

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 11

 

A couple of upsets took place this past weekend as Croatia SC knocked West Van FC out of first place by defeating the former Trollers by a 3-2 score while Surrey United beat the unpredictable CCBRT United by an elaborate 4-0 margin. ICST Pegasus remained in last place, albeit with a game in hand, by virtue of its 2-2 tie with the Langley FC Hurricanes.

CROATIA SC  -  WEST VAN FC  3-2:  On Friday evening, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, Croatia SC  upset the Premier Division front-runners—West Van FC—by a narrow 3-2 margin. The heavily-favoured former Trollers got off to a bright start and created a couple of early goalscoring chances. However, efforts by Cathal O’Connor went awry, leaving the game scoreless till midway through the first half. At this point, West Van FC was finally able to score the go-ahead goal when a patented Paul Dailly free-kick was headed home by Max Baessato The Croatians battled back tenaciously and managed to knot the score at the 40th minute mark with a goal that totally resembled West Van’s opening goal. On this occasion, Jonny Sulentic sent a well-placed free-kick into the West Van penalty area where Matteo Agnoloni rose above all defenders and headed the ball into the back of the net for the equalizer. Very late in the first half, West Van FC came close to regaining the lead but Kevin Crouch’s header—from yet another Paul Dailly cross—was brilliantly saved by young goalkeeper, Christian Zimmerman. Early in the second half, Croatia SC took the lead when Anthony Sulentic sent older cousin Johnny Sulentic towards the West Van goal with a clever pass. Johnny Sulentic proceeded to beat a couple of West Van defender, rounded goalkeeper Garth Lagasse and finished off the play in clinical fashion. Shortly thereafter, Croatia’s Paris Gee sent a dangerous, low cross into the West Van penalty area. However, Daniel Rogic’s ensuing diving header was brilliantly saved by Garth Lagasse. The home team responded in kind and managed to knot the score a few minutes later, yet again off a Paul Dailly free-kick. On this occasion, Dailly’s long-range free-kick was redirected into the Croatian net by Mike Winter. The former Trollers continued to press in search of what would have been the winning goal, but efforts by Mike Winter and Paul Dailly were cleared off the line by Croatian defenders. Late in the game—at about the 85th minute mark—Croatia SC scored the winning goal when Johnny Sulentic set up Anthony Sulentic with an immaculate pass. The younger Sulentic had no difficulty in finishing off the play with a hard, low shot to the far post of the West Van net. The home team refused to give up and came very close to knotting the score in the dying moments of the match, but goalkeeper Christian Zimmerman once again pulled off an excellent save on a Kevin Crouch close-range shot. The entire Croatia SC team played extremely well, but special mention should be made of midfielders Paris Gee and Anthony Sulentic—as well as forward Johnny Sulentic and goalkeeper Christian Zimmerman—for their brilliant performances. Needless to say, veteran Paul Dailly was his usual composed, self in the West Van midfield, while forward Cathal O’Connor was a constant threat to the Croatian backline during the entire match. The all-important victory elevates Croatia SC to 8th place in the very tight Premier Division standings, with a 3-4-4 record, while West Van FC drops to second place, with 18 points out of 11 matches.

ICST PEGASUS  -  LANGLEY FC HURRICANES 2-2:  Also on Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, ICST Pegasus pulled off a ‘semi-upset’ by holding the aspiring Langley FC Hurricanes to a 2-2 draw. The underdog home team controlled most of the play and truly deserved a better result at the end of the contest! The hosting Pegasus lads took the early lead—at about the 15th minute mark when Chetan Jhooty eluded 3 Langley defenders before blasting an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner of the net. ICST Pegasus continued to press and came close to adding to their lead on several occasions, but efforts by Omari Aldridge, Azad Palani, and Chetan Jhooty went awry. As luck would have it, the Hurricanes managed to tie things up late in the first half when Harpreet Khakh raced in on goal—after a cleverly executed 3-way passing play also involving Oscar Jimenez and Niko Marcina--and was eventually fouled by goalkeeper Andy Singh, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to Langley FC. On the ensuring spot shot, Danny Badesha made no mistake and thus knotted the score. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first, with ICST Pegasus controlling the flow of the play and creating the majority of the goalsoring chances. Once again, however, it was Langley FC that scored against the run of play, midway through the second half when Niko Marcina and BJ Rockson combined to set up Woody Bradford inside the Pegasus penalty area. However, Bradford’s subsequent header was superbly saved by Andy Singh, only to have Harp Khakh pick up the rebound and tap the ball into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal. However, ICST Pegasus continued to press and could have tied the score on several occasions, but efforts by Chetan Jhooty, Jag Gill, Javid Khan, and Omari Aldridge were either saved by goalkeeper Steve Thomas or missed the target. Late in the match, ICST Pegasus was finally able to knot the score when a fine individual effort by Rob Tice resulted in his final shot being deflected into the Langley FC net by defender Danny Badesha. Pegasus’ Omari Aldridge played remarkably well during the entire match as he was a constant threat to the Langley FC defenders as he used his pace and strength to full advantage. Javid Khan also deserves special mention as he was very effective in his central midfield role. For Langley FC, Harp Khakh, Niko Marcina, Oscar Jimenex, and BJ Rockson turned in solid performances. The tie keeps the Hurricanes in 5th place in the standings, with a 4-4-3 record, while ICST Pegasus remains mired in last place, with only 10 points out of 10 games.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  CCBRT UNITED 4-0:  On Saturday, at Cloverdale Athletic Park, the reigning Provincial Cup champions—Surrey United Firefighters—broke out of their slump by clobbering one of the top teams in the Premier Division standings—CCBRT United—by an emphatic 4-0 margin. The former Rovers got off to a bright start and almost took the lead in the very early stages of the match when Milad Rahmati—after having beaten a couple of Surrey United defenders—unleashed what appeared to be an unstoppable shot, only to have goalkeeper Andrew Fink pull off a sensational save. Soon thereafter, the Firefighters took the lead when Reece Miles converted a well-taken corner kick by Tommy Lowndes with a well-placed header to the top corner of the CCBRT United net.  The home team bounced back tenaciously and came close to knotting the score on a few occasions during the remainder of the first half. However, Bobby Jhutty—after having been set up by Farhad Abdulgani—barely missed the target with his final shot. Then—at about the 25th minute mark—Phil Lensky’s shot, after having received a great pass from Farhad Abdulgani, was once again brilliantly saved by Andrew Fink. A few minutes later, Andrew Fink once again rose to the occasion as he denied Farhad Abdulgani a glorious goalscoring opportunity as he raced in on goal on a breakaway. After having sustained an enormous amount of pressure during the first half, the Firefighters took over the reins of the match in the second period and added three excellent goals to their margin of victory. At the 55th minute mark, Matt Rosenlund converted an excellent pass from Tommy Lowndes into the insurance marker by blasting a wicked shot into the lower part of the CCBRT net from the edge of the penalty area. A few minutes later, Tommy Lowndes’ picture-perfect cross was headed home by David Adams as he out-jumped a couple of CCBRT defenders before cleverly slotting the ball into the back of the net. Then, at the 75th minute mark, Tommy Lowndes became the finisher as he beat a couple of CCBRT defenders before scoring his team’s 4th goal with a low, unstoppable shot. Needless to say, Tommy Lowndes performed brilliantly during the entire match as he scored a great goal and set up the other three. Defensively, Andrew Reed, Scott McEachern, Brad Peetoom, and Ravi Jammu also turned in excellent performances for the winning team. Goalkeeper Andrew Fink also deserves special mention as he fully earned his clean-sheet with some excellent saves, particularly during the first half. Despite the rather embarrassing loss, CCBRT’s forwards Milad Rahmati and Farhad Abdulgani played extremely well, while midfielder Jacob Lensky also deserves special mention for his tireless workrate performance. The victory elevates Surrey United to 7th place in the Premier Division standings, with a 3-4-3 record, while CCBRT United drops to 4th place, with 17 points out of 11 matches.

COQUITLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  NORVAN FC  1-1:  Also on Saturday, at Coquitlam Town Centre, the young Metro-Ford Wolves and the visiting Norvan FC fought to a 1-1 tie after 90 minutes of non-stop action. Despite the fact that both teams had a couple of glorious goalscoring opportunities, the first half ended in a scoreless tie. In particular, Metro-Ford’s Domenic Delli Santi hit the crossbar midway through the first half and former Whitecap Alfredo Valente failed to convert the rebound as he sailed his close-range shot over the crossbar. At the other end of the pitch, Norvan FC also came close to opening the score when a well-executed cross by Sebastian Crema was blasted towards the Metro-Ford net by Taku Bradshaw, only the have the ball bounce off the crossbar. The visiting North Shore team finally opened the score early in the second half when Taku Bradshaw cut in from the left wing and blasted an unstoppable low shot into the near corner of the net. Midway through the second half, the Wolves knotted the score when Alfredo Valente’s excellent cross found a wide-open Demenic Delli Santi whose initial shot was saved by goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino. However, Delli Santi picked up the rebound and calmly placed the ball into the back of the Norvan net for the equalizer. Defensively, Anthony DiNicolo, Carson Gill, Matt Besuschko, and Aria Sarhangpour were rock-solid in the Metro-Ford backline, while midfielder Adam Jones was his usual skillful, hard-working self. Also, a couple of youngsters—Lucas Krivak and Alejandro Varela—came on as substitutes during the second half and performed admirably well in their senior league debuts. For Norvan FC, goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino pulled off a few excellent saves, while central defender Kyle Bowman turned in an outstanding performance. Also, midfielders Grahame Tingey and Devin Gunech extremely worked hard during the entire match, while forward Taku Bradshaw was consistently dangerous as he drove the Metro-Ford defenders to distraction with his speed, skill, and tenacity. The single point keeps the Metro-Ford Wolves tied for second place in the Premier Division standings, with a 5-3-3 record, while Norvan FC remains need the bottom of the pile, with 11 points out of 11 matches.

COLUMBUS FC  -  INTER FC  4-0:  The third Saturday game took place at Trillium Park in Vancouver and featured the hosting Inter FC and the visiting Columbus FC in what could be called the ‘Italian’ Derby. After a rather one-sided 90 minutes of play, Columbus FC walked away with a rather easy 4-0 victory, a result that puts them back into sole possession of first place. The visitors took control of the game from the opening whistle and were unlucky not to score the opening goal early in the match when forward Steve DeBlasio unleashed a wicked shot from just inside the penalty area, only to have the ball bounce off the goalpost and sail out of danger. Midway through the first half, DeBlasio opened the scoring when he was sent on a breakaway by Kazunori Kikuchi. DeBlasio then proceeded to calmly scot the ball into the back of the Inter net for what proved to be the winning goal. Very early in the second half, Kazumori Kikuchi became the finisher as he took advantage of a great pass from Nathan Quan and clinically finished off the play. A few minutes later, Steve DeBlasio scored his second goal of the match—and his 9th of the season—on a great individual effort as he beat two defenders inside the Inter penalty area before slotting the ball into the back of the net. Midway through the second half, Kazunori Kikuchi added insult to Inter’s injury as he also scored his second goal of the match in clinical fashion. The entire Columbus squad played extremely well, but special mention should be made of forwards Steve DeBlasio and Kaz Kikuchi for their goalscoring prowess as well as defenders Stefano Bortolussi, Luca Bellisomo, Devon Greenside, and Nathan Quan as they made life relatively easy for goalkeeper Thomas Lindley as he earned yet another shut-out. Despite the loss, Inter’s defender Matt Allard played quite well, while goalkeeper Manny Mangu also performed admirably. As mentioned earlier, Columbus’ victory elevates the ‘Italians’ to sole possession of first place, with a 6-2-3 record, while Inter FC slips into the relegation zone with only 11 points from 11 games.

WESTSIDE FC  -  EDC FC BURNABY  3-2:  The lone Sunday game was played at Musqueam Park in Vancouver between Westside FC and EDC Burnaby. At the end of an exciting 90 minutes of play, the Westsiders leap-frogged over the visiting Burnaby team as a result of a hard-earned 3-2 victory. Westside FC took the early lead—at about the 15th minute mark—when Gi-Sung Ha raced down the right flank, beat a Burnaby defender and cut the ball back onto the path of Kyung Hun Gee, whose subsequent shot easily found the back of the net. Soon thereafter—at the 20th minute mark—the Westsiders were awarded a penalty kick when Cesar Meylan was fouled inside the Burnaby penalty area by young Brandan Djambarov. Andre` Herath had his spot shot saved by goalkeeper Mike Newton, but Jamie Davies picked up the rebound and easily slotted the ball home for his third goal in 3 games. To their credit, the Chileans responded positively to the early 2-0 deficit and bounced back tenaciously in an attempt to get back into the game. However, efforts by Admir Salihovic and  Carlos Marquez went awry. Finally, at about the 30th minute mark, EDC Burnaby was able to narrow the margin when Admir Salihovic was fouled inside the Westside penalty area by Lucien Meylan, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to the visiting team. Ylya Malek stepped up to the plate and easily converted the spot shot, thus reducing Westside’s margin to 2-1. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first 45 minutes, with Westside FC controlling most of the action and creating the better goalscoring opportunities. However, efforts by Westside’s Paddy Smyth and Gavin Barrett were brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Mike Newton. At the other end of the pitch, some poor finishing by Dillon Penman, as well as some excellent goalkeeping by Westside’s Rowan Anders-on shots by Habil Otieno and Admir Salihovic—kept the score at 2-1 till the dying moments of the match. Oddly, two goals were scored very late in the match, both in ‘time added on’. Westside FC scored the first of the two late goals when Mike Buree intercepted a poor Burnaby clearance, raced in on goal and hammered the ball home for what proved to be the winning goal. A couple of minutes later—just before the final whistle—Burnaby’s Eric Ray controlled a Tarek Yassin throw-in inside the Westside 18-yard box and quickly slipped the ball into the back of the net for his team’s second, and final, goal. Defensively, Westside’s Chris Williamson and Paddy Smyth played magnificently well as they both defended well and pushed forward whenever the occasion arose. Also, midfielder Andre`Herath turned in a stellar performance, as well as wingers Jamie Davies and Mike Buree. For EDC Burnaby, forwards Admir Salihovic and Carlos Marquez were dangerous during the entire contest, while midfielders Habil Otieno and Eric Ray also performed admirably, albeit in a losing cause. The all-important victory elevates Westside FC to 6th place in the standings, with a 4-3-4 record, while EDC Burnaby slips to 8th place, with 13 points out of 11 games.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: CROATIA SC for its remarkable upset victory over the heavily-favoured West Van FC.  Led by the amazing performance of young veteran forward Johnny Sulentic, as well as  midfielder Anthony Sulentic and young goalkeeper Christian Zimmerman, the Croatians fully deserved the hard-earned victory, a result that elevates them out of the dreaded relegation zone.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Croatia SC’s foreword JOHNNY SULENTIC for his brilliant performance in his team’s 3-2 victory over the heavily-favoured West Van FC.  The young veteran was involved in all 3 of his team’s goals as he scored one in clinical fashion and set up the other two with excellent passes. For his magnificent performance this past weekend, JOHNNY SULENTIC will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-12-05.

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2013-11-12

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 10 

No huge upsets took place this past weekend and, as a result, the spread between the top and bottom teams widened a wee bit. West Van FC remained in first place—by the narrowest of margins—as a result of its 2-1 victory over Norvan FC, while ICST Pegasus is still in last place, despite its 1-1 tie with Croatia SC.

CCBRT UNITED  -  NORVAN FC  2-2:  On Thursday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, the hosting CCBRT United and the visiting Norvan FC settled for a 2-2 tie in a Day 7 make-up game. The visitors got off to a bright start and created several goalscoring chances in the early going, but all of them went awry. In particular, Nathan Harte’s wicked shot barely missed the target as it sailed over the crossbar. Shortly thereafter, Ashley Bradshaw raced down the right flank, cut inside and blasted what appeared to be an unstoppable shot towards the United goal. However, goalkeeper Gursher Kajla rose to the occasion and pulled off a sensational save.  At the other end of the pitch, CCBRT United also had a glorious chance to open the scoring when—at about the 25th minute mark—Gagan Josan’s shot bounced off the crossbar, after he had been set up by Bobby Jhutty. After a scoreless first half, the CCBRT United took the lead early in the second period when Milad Rahmati—after having received a great pass from Phil Lensky—was fouled inside the penalty area by Norvan’s Tony Seddon, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to the home team. Bobby Jhutty easily converted the spot shot, thus giving his team the hard-earned lead. The visiting Norvan team responded in kind and succeeded in knotting the score shortly thereafter when Ashley Bradshaw sent Blake Burgon flying towards the  CCBRT United goal. Burgon made no mistake on his final shot as he hammered the ball into the net for the equalizer. CCBRT United managed to retake the lead shortly thereafter when Gagan Josan and Milad Rahmati combined to set up a wide-open Jacob Lensky, whose subsequent one-time shot found the back of the Norvan net. At this point, Norvan FC threw caution to the wind and pressed hard in search of the equalizer. However, shots by Alex Wilson and Graham Tingey barely missed the target, leaving the score at 2-1 in CCBRT United’s favour till the dying moments of the match. However, just before the final whistle, Norvan FC was able to knot the score when a corner-kick by Sebastian Crema was poked into the back of the net by Matt Hartwell from close range. For CCBRT United, midfielders Bobby Jhutty, Jacob Lensky, and Gagan Josan played extremely well, while forwards Milad Rahmati and Phil Lensky were going concerns throughout the match. For Norvan FC, second-half substitutes Alex Wilson, Graham Tingey, Devin Delaney, and Matt Hartwell made a huge difference as they caused the CCBRT United defenders all kinds of problems late in the match.

LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  -  INTER FC  3-0:  On Friday evening, at MacLeod Park in Langley, the hosting Langley FC Hurricanes defeated the visiting Inter FC by a 3-0 margin. Despite the elaborate scoreline, the match was quite evenly played as Inter FC dominated proceedings during the latter part of the first half, while the Hurricanes took over the reins of the contest during the second period. Langley FC came close to scoring right after the opening whistle when Niko Marcina found a wide-open Harpreet Khakh whose subsequent shot barely missed the net. Inter FC replied in kind and also came close to scoring on a couple of occasions, but efforts by Donald Kambere and Brian Van Schagen sailed wide of the target. Langley FC also came close to scoring late in the first half, but Oscar Jimenez’ blazing shot bounced off the crossbar and out of danger. Early in the second half, Brian Van Schagen once again missed the net on a golden opportunity. At this point, the Hurricanes took control of the match and started exerting some severe pressure on the Inter defenders. Langley FC finally took the lead at the 65th minute mark when Gurj Sandhu—after having executed a clever one-two with Niko Marcina—raced down the right flank before crossing the ball to a wide-open Amar Mander, whose final shot gave goalkeeper Erman Ozkan no chance whatsoever. A few minutes later, Amar Mander repeated his previous feat, this time on a cross by Niko Marcina, thus putting the game out of Inter’s reach. Then, at about the 80th minute mark, the Hurricanes put the ‘Italians’ out of their misery as Oscar Jimenez took advantage of a defensive ‘faux-pas’ and easily scored his team’s third goal. Defensively, Gurj Sandhu and veteran Woody Bradford played remarkably well for Langley FC, making life relatively easy for goalkeeper Drew Smiley as he registered yet another clean-sheet. Also, midfielders Oscar Jimenez, Amar Mander, and Niko Marcina turned in remarkable performances. Despite the scoreline, Inter’s goalkeeper Erman Ozkan played extremely well. The victory improves Langley FC’s record to 4-3-3, good for 5th place in the standings, while Inter FC remains in 8th place, with 11 points out of 10 games.

CCBRT UNITED  -  WESTSIDE FC  3-2:  Also on Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, CCBRT United edged the visiting Westside FC by a narrow 3-2 margin. Despite the scoreline, the home team fully deserved the victory since they had by far most of the goalscoring chances, particularly in the first half. Early in the match—at about the 10th minute mark—CCBRT United took the lead when Milad Rahmati received a great feed from Bobby Jhutty, beat two Westside defenders before sending a very dangerous cross into the penalty area. Unfortunately for the Westsiders, Rahmati’s cross was deflected into the back of the net by Westside defender Andre` Herath. Soon thereafter—at the 15th minute mark—CCBRT United doubled its lead when Gagan Josan stripped the ball from defender Chris Williamson, raced towards the net and proceeded to calmly place the ball into the back of the Westside net with a low shot. The home team kept pressing in search of a third goal and came close on a few occasions, particularly on efforts by Milad Rahmati and Gagan Josan. However, some superlative goalkeeping on the part of Rowan Anders kept the vaunted CCBRT attackers at bay. As luck would have it, it was Westside FC that managed to score the next goal—thus reducing the CCBRT margin to 2-1—when Kyung Gee displayed some excellent skills in the middle of the park before laying the ball onto the path of Jamie Davies who had no difficulty in slotting the ball home from close range. Late in the first half, CCBRT United almost re-established its 2-goal lead when Milad Rahmati  beat two Westside defenders before crossing the ball onto the path of Deep Toor who was unable to slot the ball into the wide-open net. Soon thereafter, Deep Toor raced in on goal on a breakaway but was stymied in brilliant fashion by Rowan Anders. In the second half, the Westsiders came out of the starting gate with grit and passion and were rewarded at the 70th minute mark when Jamie Davies intercepted a poor clearance in the CCBRT third of the field. Davies proceeded to relay the ball to Andre` Clerc who, without a moment’s hesitation, hammered an unstoppable shot into the back of the net from well outside the penalty area. CCBRT United bounced back tenaciously and came close to retaking the lead on a few occasions. However, Milad Rahmati and Bobby Jhutty were once again denied their opportunities by goalkeeper Rowan Anders. With about 5 minutes to go, however, CCBRT United retook the lead by scoring what proved to be the winning goal when Bobby Jhutty received yet another great pass from none other than Milad Rahmati, raced in on goal on a breakaway and calmly placed the ball into the top corner of the Westside net. Defenders Derrick Bassi and Sam Gill played remarkably well for CCBRT United during the entire match, while midfielders Bobby Jhutty, Jacob Lensky, and Deep Toor—as well as forward Milad Rahmati—turned in superlative performances. For Westside FC, goalkeeper Rowan Anders and young defender Chris Williamson played brilliantly during the entire match, albeit in a losing cause. The hard-earned victory elevated CCBRT United into a second place tie—with Columbus FC and Metro-Ford—with a respectable 5-2-3 record, while Westside FC drops to 7th place, with 12 points out of 10 games.

METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  EDC FC BURNABY  4-2:   The third Friday evening game was played at Burnaby Lake West Complex and featured two aspiring teams: the hosting EDC FC Burnaby and the visiting Coquitlam Metro-Ford Wolves. After 90 minutes of non-stop action, the young Wolves walked away with a hard-earned 4-2 victory.  The former Chileans got off to a flying start and came close to taking the lead on a few occasions in the early stages of the match. However, Ricardo Alvarado fired his shot over the crossbar, while Eric Ray and Rizal Ganief were thwarted by a couple of fine saves on the part of goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato. As luck would have it, it was the Wolves that took the lead at about the 15th minute mark when a perfectly placed free kick by Adam Jones was deflected into the back of the EDC Burnaby net by Domenic Delli Santi. A few minutes later, Metro-Ford doubled its lead when young Adam Jones was fouled inside the box by Stedman Espinoza. Sang Hwang stepped up to the plate and clinically converted the ensuing penalty kick to give his team a 2-0 lead. The Burnaby team fought back tenaciously and tried hard to get back into the game, but efforts by Admir Salihovic and Eric Ray went awry, leaving the score at 2-0 till the halftime whistle. Early in the second half, the Metro-Ford Wolves almost tripled their lead on a great effort by Dom Delli Santi, but his shot barely missed the target. Shortly thereafter, at about the 60th minute mark, EDC Burnaby narrowed Metro-Ford’s lead when a well-placed through ball by Eric Ray was finished off brilliantly by Brian Dottin. However, the Wolves bounced back and re-established their 2-goal lead at the 70th minute mark when Luigi Pantusa’s long-range free-kick found the back of the Burnaby net. Once again, however, EDC Burnaby bounced back and managed to score their second goal in brilliant fashion when Brian Dottin and Rizal Ganief combined to send Chris Kyd on a breakaway. Kyd proceeded to race in on goal and made no mistake in depositing the ball into the back of the Metro-Ford net. At this juncture, EDC Burnaby threw caution to the wind in an attempt to score the equalizer, but efforts by Habil Otieno, Rizal Ganief, and Dillon Penman went wide of the mark. Very late in the game, the Wolves put the game out of Burnaby’s reach when young veteran—and former Whitecap—Alfredo Valente finished off a clever give-and-go with another young veteran—Andrew Veer—with an impeccable shot. The entire Metro-Ford team played exceptionally well, but special mention should be made of central defender Anthony DiNicolo as he was able to control the vaunted Chilean attackers for most of the game. Also, Domenic Delli Santi, Sang Hwang, and young Andre` Pietramala played remarkably well in the middle of the park. For EDC Burnaby, defender Brendan Djambazov—an Under 21 pick-up—,midfielder Ricardo Alvarado, and forward Admir Salihovic performed remarkably well, albeit in a losing cause.The hard-fought victory keeps the Wolves in a second place tie with Columbus FC and CCBRT United, with a 5-2-3 record, while EDC FC Burnaby slips to 6th place, with 13 points out of 10 games.

CROATIA SC  -  ICST PEGASUS  1-1:  The fourth—and final—Friday evening game was played at South Memorial Park in Vancouver and featured two teams in desperate need of points: the hosting Croatia SC and the visiting ICST Pegasus.  Early in the match, Pegasus’ Azad Palani was unable to finish off a fine cross from Chetan Jhooty from close range. Soon thereafter, Pegasus once again came close to opening the score, but Rylan Sangha’s breakaway effort was brilliantly saved by Croatia’s young goalkeeper Simon Cohen. At the other end of the pitch, Daniel Rogic took advantage of a quickly-taken free-kick by David Zaharija and proceeded to cross the ball into the Pegasus’ penalty area onto the path of Matteo Agnoloni, whose subsequent header bounced off the crossbar and out of danger. As a result, the first half ended in a scoreless tie. Early in the second half, ICST Pegasus almost took the lead when Chetan Jhooty fired a wonderful shot from the edge of the penalty area, only to have Simon Cohen pull off yet another sensational save. Then, at the 55th minute mark, ICST Pegasus was awarded a penalty kick when Chetan Jhooty was fouled inside the 18-yard box by Matteo Agnoloni and Paris Gee. However, on the ensuing spot shot, Chetan Jhooty’s shot was once again phenomenally saved by Simon Cohen. As luck would have it, at the 60th minute mark, Croatia SC took the lead when Daniel Rogic and David Zaharija played a clever give-and-go before Zaharija sent Matteo Serka racing towards the Pegasus goal with a picture-perfect pass. Without a moment’s hesitation, Serka blasted the ball into the net, thus giving his team the lead. Late in the match, ICST Pegasus was able to knot the score when Jag Gill’s fantastic header—off a fine cross by Omari Aldridge—gave goalkeeper Simon Cohen no chance whatsoever. Pegasus’ forward Jag Gill returned to action after a lengthy absence due to an injury and performed admirably, while Rylan Sangha was very effective with his pace and skill down the left flank. Needless to say, Croatia’s goalkeeper Simon Cohen was outstanding throughout the match as he pulled off some incredible saves. Also, central defender Matteo Agnoloni was rock-solid during the entire contest. The disappointing tie keeps both teams at the bottom of the table—Croatia SC with a 2-4-4 record and ICST Pegasus with a2-3-4 record.

COLUMBUS FC  -  SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  2-0:  On Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, Columbus FC remained in second place as a result of its 2-0 victory over the visiting Surrey United Firefighters. Columbus FC had the best goalscoring opportunity in the early going when young Ryan Shaw unleashed what appeared to be an unstoppable, low shot from the edge of the penalty area, only to have Surrey United’s goalkeeper—Andrew Fink—pull off a tremendous save. Moments later, it was Luca Bellisomo’s turn to be stymied as he volleyed a great cross from Kazumori Kikuchi towards the Firefighters’ net, only to have Andrew Fink make yet another sensational save. Late in the first half, Surrey United was reduced to 10 men when Nigel Marples was ejected for having received his second caution of the contest. Columbus FC took full advantage of the situation and scored the all-important opening goal when Robbie Cairns threaded a great pass onto the path of  Steve DeBlasio who proceeded to race in on goal on a semi-breakaway before slotting the ball into the back of the Firefighters’ net in clinical fashion. Midway through the second half, Columbus FC put the game out of Surrey United’s reach with Steve DeBlasio once again involved in the play. On this occasion, DeBlasio beat a couple of Surrey United defenders before setting up a wide-open Kazunori Kikuchi who had no difficulty in finishing off the play from close range. To their credit, the Firefighters bounced back tenaciously and created a couple of goalscoring chances of their own in the late stages of the match. However, Reece Miles’ shot—after he had raced in on the Columbus goal on a breakaway—sailed over the crossbar, while David Adams had his wicked shot brilliantly saved by Thomas Lindley. Defensively, Columbus’ Devon Greenside, Luca Bellisomo, Nathan Quan, and Sheu Fortunato played extremely well as they made life relatively easy for goalkeeper Thomas Lindley as he recorded yet another shutout, his 5th of the season. Young midfielder Ryan Shaw—as well as forwards Steve DeBlasio and Kazunori Kikuchi also played remarkably well in a winning cause. For Surrey United, goalkeeper Andrew Fink and midfielder David Adams deserve special mention for their excellent performances. As a result of the victory, Columbus FC remains in second place in the Premier Division standings, with a record of 5-2-3, while Surrey United is still in 9th place, with 10 points out of  9 games.

WEST VAN FC  -  NORVAN FC   2-1:  The last game of the week was played on Saturday at Confederation Park in North Vancouver between two North Shore teams: the hosting Norvan FC and the visiting West Van FC. At the end of the day, the visiting team walked away with an all-important 2-1 victory, a result that keeps the former Trollers in first place in the Premier Division standings. Midway through the first half the visitors took the lead when Kevin Crouch received an impeccable cross from Max Baessato and proceeded to drive the ball into the bottom corner of the Norvan net. Soon thereafter, West Van FC scored what proved to be the winning goal when Jesse Fetterley was fouled inside the 18-yard box by Norvan’s Tony Seddon, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to the visitors. Former Norvan player Dave O’Connor easily converted the spot shot, thus giving West Van FC a 2-0 halftime lead. Very early in the second half, Norvan FC was able to reduce West Van’s margin when Mike Carrol scored his team’s lone goal—also on a penalty shot. On this occasion, West Van’s goalkeeper—Garth Lagasse—fouled Norvan’s Sebastian Crema inside the penalty area, forcing the referee to call a penalty kick. The rest of the match was poorly played by both teams and certainly lacked the bite that was demonstrated during the first half of play. The only notable goalscoring opportunity came very late in the game when Norvan’s Nathan Harte skimmed the crossbar with a wonderful shot. Defensively, West Van’s Max Baessato and Mike Winter played extremely well, while veteran forward Kevin Crouch also performed admirably. For Norvan FC, central defender Kyle Bowman was outstanding during the entire match, while fellow defender Graham Tingey—as well as midfielders Taku Bradshaw and Devin Gunenc—also played quite well.  As mentioned earlier, the victory allows West Van FC to remain in first place, with a 5-3-2 record, while Norvan FC is still in 10th place, with 10 points out of 10 game

TEAM OF THE WEEK: COQUITLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES for their ‘semi-upset’ 4-2 victory over the highly-regarded EDC Burnaby. Led by veteran midfielders Alfredo Valente and Andrew Veer, the young Wolves performed admirably as they held the vaunted Burnaby forwards at bay for most of the contest.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Croatia SC’s goalkeeper SIMON COHEN for his amazing performance in his team’s 1-1 tie against ICST Pegasus. Time after time, Cohen stood tall and pulled off some sensational saves to keep his team in the match. In particular, Cohen made a miraculous save on a penalty kick by Pegasus’ Chetan Jhooty. For his superb performance this past weekend, SIMON COHEN will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-11-28.

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2013-11-05

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 9

Three major upsets occurred this past weekend and, as a result, things got tighter at the top and at the bottom of the table. The point difference between the top-placed team—West Van FC—and the bottom-feeders—ICST Pegasus—is now only 7 points, making things very interesting during the second part of the season.  

LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  -  WESTSIDE FC  1-1:  On Thursday evening, at Willoughby Park in Langley, the Langley Hurricanes and the visiting Westside FC settled for a 1-1 tie in a Day 8 make-up game. Despite the fact that the Westsiders controlled the play in the early going, it was the Hurricanes that took the lead at the 30th minute mark when Oscar Jimenez sent Niko Marcina in on the Westside goal with a splendid pass. However, Marcina’s subsequent shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Rowan Anders, only to have Sujinda Dangvan pick up the rebound and deposit the ball into the back of the net for the opening goal. Westside FC responded in kind and almost tied things up a few minutes later but Brian Reems’ point-blank shot from well inside the penalty area was miraculously saved by Langley’s veteran goalkeeper, Drew Smiley. The visitors finally knotted the score late in the first half when Paddy Smyth won a tackle in the middle of the park and quickly sent Mike Buree flying down the left flank with a picture-perfect pass. Buree then beat a couple of Langley defenders before sending an immaculate, low cross into the goal area, a cross that Hansol Kim calmly side-footed into the net for the equalizer. Just before the halftime whistle, Westside FC almost took the lead when Kyung Gee curled a free-kick over the defensive wall towards the near post, only to have Drew Smiley pull off yet another spectacular save. In the second half, the Hurricanes controlled most of the play and applied more pressure on the Westside backline. However, some poor finishing—as well as some excellent goalkeeping on the par of Rowan Anders—kept the scoreline knotted at 1-1 till the final whistle. The Westsiders also had a couple of chances to score during the second half, but Mike Buree’s shot bounced off the underside of the crossbar, while defender Chris Williamson’s long-range drive was brilliantly saved by Drew Smiley. Defensively, Lucien Meylan and Chris Williamson played extremely well for Westside FC, while midfielder Andre` Herath controlled the pace of the game and provided some very important linkage between the backline and the front-runners. Needless to say, forward Mike Buree was a constant threat to the Langley defenders as he used his speed and skill to full advantage. For the Hurricanes, goalkeeper Drew Smiley came up with some crucial saves, particularly in the first half, while defender Conner Pichette, midfielders Oscar Jimenez and Niko Marcian also turned in commendable performances.

WEST VAN FC  -  ICST PEGASUS  1-0:  On Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park, West Van FC won its fourth consecutive game by defeating ICST Pegasus by a narrow 1-0 margin. As a result of the victory, the former Trollers are now all alone in first place. Quite an achievement for a team that 4 weeks ago was in last place! The lone goal of the contest was scored very early in the game when West Van’s Dave O’Connor set up Jesse Fetterley with a fine cross from the right flank. Fetterley—in amazingly brilliant fashion—flicked the ball around a Pegasus defender before half-volleying it into the net from the corner of the 18-yard box. The visitors continued to press in an effort to increase their lead and controlled most of the first half. In so doing, they also created numerous goalscoring opportunities during the first 45 minutes of action. However, efforts by Dave O’Connor, Max Baessato, Jesse Fetterley, and young Stefan Crameri all went awry. At the other end of the pitch, Omari Aldridge came very close to knotting the score near the end of the first half, but his final shot was cleared off the line by West Van’s Max Baessato. The second half told a totally different story as ICST Pegasus took control of the game and dominated most of the action. As a result, the home team came close to tying things up on numerous occasions, but failed to do so. In particular, Adam Costley’s close-range header—off a fine cross by Chetan Jhooty—barely missed the target, while Azad Palani’s half-volley—also from close range—also went wide of the net. Later in the second half, it was Mo Aziz Xiderbagi’s turn to miss the net when he headed the ball wide of the target off a corner-kick by Chetan Jhooty. West Van’s backline—composed of Drew Gelley, Max Baessato, Mike Winter, and Leo Nash—was rock-solid during the entire contest, while midfielder Colin Phillips and forwards Jesse Fetterley and Dave O’Connor also played remarkably well in a winning effort. It should also be mentioned that goalkeeper Garth Lagasse earned yet another clean-sheet in the West Van goal.  As stated earlier, West Van’s 4th consecutive victory elevates the former Trollers to sole possession of first place in the Premier Division standings—with a 4-3-2 record. ICST Pegasus, on the other hand, slips to  last place, with only 8 points out of 8 matches.

NORVAN FC  -  EDC FC BURNABY  2-0:  Also on Friday evening, at Burnaby Lake West, Norvan FC climbed out of last place by defeating the hosting EDC Burnaby by a well-earned 2-0 margin. Both teams came off the starting blocks with passion and desire and created several goalscoring chances in the early going. In particular, the former Chileans almost took the lead very early in the game, but a great passing play involving Eric Ray, Rizal Ganief, Anthony MacLean, and Habil Otieno was squandered by newly-signed Carlos Marquez as his final shot sailed over the crossbar. At the other end of the pitch, Norvan FC also came close to scoring the opening goal when Blake Burgon received a picture-perfect cross from Sebastian Crema and proceeded to blast the ball towards the Burnaby net, only to have goalkeeper Mike Newton come up with a phenomenal save. Soon thereafter, it was EDC’s turn to create a golden goalscoring opportunity as Habil Otieno’s shot was blocked by defender Brent Dodge as the ball appeared to be heading towards the back of the net. Then, midway through the first half, Norvan FC took the lead when former Whitecap Martin Nash sent Taku Bradshaw flying towards the Burnaby goal with a brilliant pass. Bradshaw’s initial shot was once again brilliantly saved by Mike Newton, but Bradshaw picked up the rebound and calmly deposited the ball into the back of the net for what proved to be the winning goal. The visitors continued to press during the remainder of the first half but were unable to add to their margin as Devin Gunech and Martin Nash had their long range shots saved by Mike Newton. Early in the second half, EDC Burnaby came close to knotting the score on a couple of occasions, but Habil Otieno and Carlos Marquez were unable to finish off what looked like promising chances. As luck would have it, it was Norvan FC that managed to score what proved to be the insurance marker as Matt Hartwell clinically finished off a clever 3-way passing play, also involving Blake Burgon and Sebastian Crema. To their credit, the Chileans didn’t give up and came close to narrowing the margin on a few occasions, but efforts by Chris Kyd, Ricardo Alvarado, and Ylya Malek went wide of the target. Norvan’s defensive core—composed of Brent Dodge, Kyle Bowman, Tony Seddon, Kyle Guay, and particularly Devin Delaney—played extremely well during the entire contest as they made life relatively easy for goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino as he recorded the clean-sheet. For EDC Burnaby, midfielders Ricardo Alvarado and Habil Otieno worked tirelessly throughout the match, albeit in a losing effort. The all-important victory elevates Norvan FC out of last place, with a record to 2-3-3, while EDC FC Burnaby slips to 5th place, with 13 points out of 9 matches.

METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  CCBRT UNITED  2-0:  On Saturday afternoon, at Coquitlam Town Centre, the Metro-Ford Wolves disposed of the hot and cold CCBRT United by a 2-0 margin and thus climbed into a second place tie with Columbus FC. The young Wolves controlled most of the action during the first half and took a well-deserved 2-0 lead into the dressing room. Metro-Ford’s first goal was scored at the 15th minute mark when Adam Jones finished off a brilliant passing play—also involving Alfredo Valente and Andre` Pietramala—with a brilliant shot from the edge of the penalty area. The Wolves continued to press and came close to adding to their lead on a few occasions but Sang Hwang was unable to finish off a couple of excellent opportunities as goalkeeper Gursher Kajla pulled off two remarkable saves. Also, Hwang hit the goalpost with a couple of blazing shots thus keeping the score at 1-0 till late in the first half. At this juncture, the Wolves added their second goal with Sang Hwang once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Hwang’s precise cross from the right flank was headed towards the CCBRT United goal by Adam Jones and subsequently deposited into the back of the net by Domenic Delli Santi from close range. Early in the second half, CCBRT United was reduced to 10 men as Derrick Bassi received his second caution of the contest and was thus sent off the field of play. Oddly, the match became more evenly contested after Bassi’s expulsion, probably due to the fact that the Wolves became over-confident and perhaps took their foot off the pedal. The visitors tried to take advantage of the situation and pressed hard in search of what would have been a very important first goal. However, some stellar goalkeeping on the part of young goalkeeper Mario Gerges—particularly on a well-taken free-kick by Bobby Jhutty—and some rock-solid defending by Anthony DiNicolo and Carson Gill kept the former Rovers off the scoreboard. Late in the game, Gagan Josan also missed a couple of golden opportunities to get his team back in the game as his shots sailed wide of the Metro-Ford net. The entire Metro-Ford team played remarkably well—particularly in the first half—but special mention should be made of veteran midfielder Alfredo Valente, forward Sang Hwang, and defenders Anthony DiNicolo and Carson Gill as they led their team to the all-important victory. It should also be mentioned that young veteran Mathew Bird and teenager Mario Gerges shared the shutout. Despite the devastating loss, midfielders Bobby Jhutty and Sidd Athuchin played extremely well for CCBRT United, while goalkeeper Gursher Kajla was brilliant, particularly during the first half. The Metro-Ford Wolves’ second consecutive victory improves their record to 4-2-3, good for a second place tie with Columbus FC, while CCBRT United slips to 4th place, with 13 points out of 8 matches.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  LANGLEY UNITED HURRICANES  2-0:  Also on Saturday, at Cloverdale Athletic Park in Surrey a rather lacklustre match took place between the aspiring Langley FC and the struggling Surrey United. At the end of the day, the Firefighters came away with all 3 points as a result of a well-earned 2-0 victory over the Hurricanes. Perhaps due to a bit of over-confidence, the visiting Hurricanes were outplayed by the underdog Firefighters during most of the match. Very early in the game, Surrey United took the lead when Nigel Marples was fouled inside the Langley penalty area by Gurj Sandhu, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded. Midfielder Colin Streckmann stepped up to the plate and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the back of the Langley net for what proved to be the winning goal. The Firefighters continued to press and came close to doubling their lead on a couple of occasions during the remainder of the first half. Specifically, at about the 20th minute mark, Reece Miles’ header—off a cross by Tommy Lowdnes—bounced off the crossbar and out of danger. Also, at the 30th minute mark, Liam Miller’s wicked shot—after he had received a clever pass from young Kyle Sohi—was fantastically saved by veteran goalkeeper Drew Smiley. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first as the Hurricanes appeared to be in a ‘sleep-mode’. Surrey United put the game out of Langley’s reach midway through the second half when Matt Rosenlund won a tackle against a Langley defender, raced in on goal, and calmly deposited the ball into the back of the net, behind a frustrated Drew Smiley. The entire Surrey United team played very well, but special mention should be made of central defenders Scott McEachern and Nigel Marples, who limited Langley’s scoring chances to a bare minimum. Also, midfielder Colin Streckmann, not only scored the winning goal, but also controlled the middle of the park with his skill and tenacity. For Langley FC, the only bright lights were attacking midfielder Harp Khakh and veteran goalkeeper Drew Smiley. The victory improves Surrey United’s record to 2-4-2, good for 9th place in the Premier Division standings, while the Hurricanes drop to 6th place, with 12 points out of 9 games.

INTER FC  -  CROATIA SC  2-2:  The third Saturday game was played at Trillium Park in Vancouver and featured two teams in desperate need of points to stay out of the dreaded relegation zone: the hosting Inter FC and the visiting Croatia SC. At the end of a hard-fought 90 minutes of non-stop action, the two teams had to settle for a 2-2 draw, a result that does neither squad any favours. The ‘Italians’ took the early lead—at about the 10th minute mark—when Marlon Palomo raced in from his left fullback position to hammer home a scrambled ball inside the penalty area. The Croatians bounced back tenaciously and came very close to knotting the score at the 15th minute mark when David Zaharija—after winning the ball in the middle of the park—raced in on goal, only to have his final shot brilliantly saved by 17-year old goalkeeper, Manny Mangu. Soon thereafter, Inter FC doubled its margin when two young veterans—Joseph Marrello and Andrew Corazza—combined to score their team’s second goal. Marrello started the play with an immaculate pass, a pass that Corazza converted into a brilliant goal with one of his patented left-foot volleys. To their credit, the Croatians refused to give up and came close to narrowing the margin at the 35th minute mark when Kreso Ukalovic received a clever pass from Johnny Sulentic before blasting the ball towards the Inter net. Once again, however, goalkeeper Manny Mangu stood tall and pulled off another sensational save. Late in the first half, the Croatians were finally rewarded for their tenacity when Johnny Sulentic narrowed the margin with an unstoppable free-kick from the edge of the penalty area, a free-kick that curled around the Inter defensive wall. It should be mentioned that the free-kick was awarded when Sulentic himself had been fouled by Alex Marrello just outside the 18-yard box. Croatia SC continued to press for the equalizer during the second half and came close the achieving its goal at the 50th minute mark, but Daniel Rogic was unable to finish off a brilliant cross from Johnny Sulentic as he sailed his shot just over the crossbar. Finally, at the 55th minute mark, the Croatians were able to knot the score when the Zaharija twins—Ryan and David—combined to set up none other than Johnny Sulentic who finished off the play with a low, unstoppable shot from a very tough angle. Sulentic came very close to completing his hat-trick late in the game when his long-range free kick bounced off the goalpost. Needless to say, Johnny Sulentic turned in yet another remarkable performance as he scored two excellent goals and dictated the pace of the match from his midfield position. For Inter FC, midfielder Alex Marrello, forward Andrew Corazza, and goalkeeper Manny Mangu deserve special mention for their excellent performances. The tie drops Inter FC to 8th place, with a 3-2-4 record, while Croatia SC slips to 11th place, with 9 points from 9 games.

WESTSIDE FC  -  COLUMBUS FC  2-1:  The lone Sunday game was played at Musqueam Park in Vancouver, and resulted in another huge upset as the hosting Westside FC edged the visiting Columbus FC by a 2-1 score, thus dropping the ‘Italians’ out of first place in the Premier Division standings. Despite the heart-breaking loss, Columbus FC controlled most of the action during the entire game and had the best goalscoring opportunities. However, some stellar goalkeeping on the part of Westside’s Rowan Anders, as well as some rock-solid defending by Lucien Meylan, limited the vaunted Columbus attackers to one goal. After applying some constant pressure during the first part of the match, Columbus FC came close to taking the lead at about the 27th minute mark when a fine cross by Ryan Shaw was headed just wide of the net by Kazunori Kikuchi. Moments later, Columbus’ Blake Douglas watched agonizingly as his rocket of a shot just grazed the crossbar. Late in the first half, Westside FC also came close to scoring when Paddy Smyth’s long-range drive was brilliantly saved by Thomas Lindley. The visitors, however, finally took the well-deserved lead early in the second half when Steve DeBlasio sent Kazunori Kikuchi on a semi-breakaway with an exquisite through ball. Kikuchi proceeded to race in on goal, and calmly deposited the ball into the back of the Westside net to give Columbus the lead. As luck would have it, Westside FC responded in kind and knotted the score a few minutes later when Andre` Herath won the ball in the middle of the park and sent a perfect pass onto the path of a streaking Mike Buree who flicked the ball with the outside of his foot past an onrushing Thomas Lindley. Columbus FC responded positively and continued to exert a lot of pressure on the Westside defence in search of what might have been the winning goal. However, clear-cut chances by Steve DeBlasio, Luca Bellisomo, and Ryan Shaw were denied by goalkeeper Rowan Anders in brilliant fashion. Very late in the match—a couple of minutes into stoppage time—Westside FC managed to score the winning goal in bizarre fashion as a long-range free-kick by Jay Kent-Hume bounced off a couple of Columbus defenders onto the path of a wide-open Jamie Davies who proceeded to slam the ball into the back of the net from well inside the penalty area. Needless to say, Westside’s goalkeeper Rowan Anders turned in a superlative performance as he stymied the highly-regarded Columbus forwards repeatedly. Also, central defender Lucien Meylan played incredibly well as he was a tower of strength during the entire contest. For Columbus FC, midfielder Jonathan Poli and forward Steve DeBlasio turned in strong performances, albeit in a losing effort. The upset victory elevates Westside FC to 6th place, with an even 3-3-3 record, while Columbus’ second consecutive loss drops the ‘Italians’ to second place, with 14 points out of 9 games.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: WEST VAN FC for having climbed into first place as a result of their hard-fought 1-0 victory over ICST Pegasus. Four weeks ago, the former Trollers sat all alone in last place, with a 0-3-2 record. Today—after winning their fourth consecutive match—they are in first place with 15 points out of 9 games! Well done West Van!!!

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:  Westside FC’s goalkeeper ROWAN ANDERS and Inter FC’s goalkeeper MANNY MANGU for their superlative performances in their teams’ games against Columbus FC and Croatia SC respectively. Anders kept his team in the game against the heavily-favoured Columbus FC with some phenomenal saves, a performance that eventually resulted in his team’s 2-1 upset victory. Young Mangu, on the other hand, played superbly well against the Croatians and was instrumental in his team’s hard-earned 2-2 tie. For their superb performances this past weekend, ROWAN ANDERS and MANNY MANGU will each receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-11-21.

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2013-10-28

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 8

A huge upset took place this past weekend as the struggling Metro-Ford Wolves disposed of league-leading Columbus FC by a narrow 2-1 margin. Also the previously undefeated EDC FC Burnaby suffered an embarrassing 6-2 loss at the hands of the resurging CCBRT United, thus dropping to 3rd place in the standings. West Van FC continued its amazing winning streak by defeating Inter FC, by a narrow, but well-earned, 3-2 score.  

CCBRT UNITED  -  EDC FC BURNABY   6-2:  On Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, CCBRT United put an end to EDC Burnaby’s unbeaten streak by clobbering the visitors by a humiliating 6-2 margin. The first half was quite evenly played and ended in a 2-2 deadlock, with both teams taking turns attacking and defending.  CCBRT United got off to a bright start and almost opened the scoring at the 5th minute mark, but Gagan Josan’s rocket of a shot hit the crossbar. However, it was the former Chileans that took the lead at the 15th minute mark when a well-taken corner kick by Eric Ray was brilliantly converted into the opening goal by Narcisse Tchoumi’s header. The former Rovers bounced back quickly and knotted the score a few minutes later when Milad Rahmati—after having his initial shot saved by Burnaby’s goalkeeper—picked up his own rebound and fired the ball home. It should be mentioned that Rahmati was initially set up by a great through ball from Avneet Shergill. CCBRT United then took the lead near the end of the first half when Joel Malouf full-volleyed a well-taken corner kick by Sidd Athchukin into the back of the Burnaby net. EDC Burnaby replied in kind and knotted the score just before the halftime whistle when Rizal Ganief—the Premier Division top goalscorer—headed home an immaculate cross from Habil Otieno. Early in the second half, CCBRT United scored what proved to be the winning goal when the Lensky brothers—Jacob and Phil—combined to set up a streaking Milad Rahmati who raced in on goal and finished off the play in clinical fashion. Soon thereafter, at about the 57th minute mark, Gagan Josan was fouled just outside the penalty area, resulting in a free-kick being awarded to CCBRT United. Bobby Jhutty then curled the ball into the top corner of the net to give his team a 4-2 lead. A few minutes later, the home team added its 5th goal when Gagan Josan and Joel Malouf played a clever give-and-go that was eventually finished off by Gagan Josan’s unstoppable strike. At the 70th minute mark, Bobby Jhutty sent Milad Rahmati in on the Chilean goal with a brilliant through ball. Rahmati then rounded the goalkeeper and slotted the ball home for his third goal of the match. It should be mentioned that both teams had numerous other scoring chances throughout the match but were unable to convert them. Needless to say, Milad Rahmati played marvellously well as he scored 3 great goals to lead his team to victory. Defensively, Derrick Bassi and Joel Malouf also played extremely well for the former Rovers, while midfielders Jacob Lensky, Gagan Josan, and Bobby Jhutty turned in outstanding performances. It should also be mentioned that goalkeeper Luke O’Shea had to be sharp on several occasions as the vaunted Chilean strikers tested him numerous times. For EDC Bunraby, newly signed midfielder Anthony MacLean played very well, while defender Narcisse Thcoumi, midfielder Eric Ray, and forward Habil Otieno worked hard throughout the 90 minutes of play. The all-important victory elevates CCBRT United to second place in the Premier Division standings, with a 4-1-2 record, only one point behind league-leading Columbus FC and with a game in hand.  EDC FC Burnaby also remains in second place, with 13 points from 8 games.

WEST VAN FC  -  INTER FC  2-1:  Also on Friday evening, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, West Van FC won its third consecutive match by edging the visiting Inter FC by a 2-1 scoreline a result that does not reflect West Van dominance during most of the match. The former Trollers came close to scoring the opening goal on numerous occasions, but efforts by Jesse Fetterley, Dave O’Connor, and Bruno Teixiera were brilliantly saved by Inter’s goalkeeper Erman Ozkan. Finally, at about the 30th minute mark, West Van FC took the well-deserved lead when Jesse Fetterley took advantage of a goal-mouth scramble—which resulted from a Dave O’Connor corner kick—and slotted the ball home from close range. Despite the fact that the very physical West Van team continued to control the match, Inter FC was able to knot the score before the halftime whistle when young veteran Andrew Corazza was set up by an impeccable Tino Cucca pass and proceeded to blast the ball into the back of the West Van net with an unstoppable right-foot shot from the edge of the penalty area. Very early in the second half, the home team retook the lead when Cathal O’Connor was fouled inside the penalty area by Marco Visintin, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to West Van FC. On the ensuing spot shot, Dave O’Connor made no mistake and easily scored the winning goal. The home team continued pressing and could easily have added a few more goals to its margin of victory, but Stefan Crameri and Dave O’Connor watched agonizingly as their shots bounced off the crossbar and out of danger. Also, golden opportunities by Dave O’Connor and Jesse Fetterley were once again brilliantly saved by Erman Ozkan. The West Van FC backline—composed of Tristan Wallis-Mayer, Max Baessato, Mike Winter, and Leo Nash—played superbly during the entire contest, limiting Inter’s goalscoring chances to a bare minimum. Midfielders Colin Phillips and Cathal O’Connor also played extremely well, while forward Dave O’Connor not only scored the winning goal but also created several other opportunities. For Inter FC, goalkeeper Erman Ozkan was a bright light during the entire 90 minutes as he kept the score respectable with some outstanding saves, while midfielder Alex Marrello and forward Andrew Corazza also played very well, albeit in a losing cause. The victory improves West Van FC’s record to 3-3-2, good for 4th place in the standings, while Inter FC remains in the middle of the pack, with 10 points out of 8 games.

CROATIA SC  -  SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  2-0:  The third Friday evening game was played at South Memorial Park in Vancouver, and featured two struggling teams: the hosting Croatia SC and the visiting Surrey United Firefighters. At the end of the day, the Croatians walked away with a 2-0 victory, thus dropping the defending Provincial Cup champions to penultimate place in the Premier Division standings. Croatia SC took the lead very early in the match when David Zaharija’s half-volley found the back of the Surrey United net. It should be mentioned that Zaharija was originally set up by a patented cross from Johnny Sulentic, who had previously received the ball from young Kresimir Ukalovic. The Croatians continued to attack and came close to doubling their lead near the end of the first half when Johnny Sulentic’s low show was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Andrew Fink. The Firefighters got off to a bright start in the second half and came close to knotting the score on a couple of occasions. On the first attempt, forward Reece Miles’ header—on a cross from Tommy Lowndes—was cleared off the line by defender Lucas Sweda. Shortly thereafter, newly-signed David Adams had his wicked shot brilliantly saved by goalkeeper  Simon Cohen. At the other end of the pitch, Croatia SC also came close to scoring, when yet another cross from Johnny Sulentic found a wide-open Jan Vrenko in the middle of the 18-yard box. However, Vrenko’s subsequent header was well saved by Andrew Fink. However, midway through the second half, Croatia SC scored what proved to be the insurance marker when Johnny Sulentic made an excellent run down the left flank before making an excellent square pass onto the path of Daniel Rogic who proceeded to blast the ball into the top corner of the net with an unstoppable long-range shot. Needless to say, central midfielder Johnny Sulentic turned in yet another brilliant performance for Croatia SC, while centre back Matteo Agnoloni was rock-solid throughout the entire contest. For Surrey United, midfielder David Adams made a very impressive debut with a remarkable performance, while goalkeeper Andrew Fink rose to the occasion several times as he kept the score respectable with some fine saves. As a result of the victory, Croatia SC climbs out of last place in the Premier Division standings, with a 2-2-4 record, while Surrey United slips to penultimate place, with 7 points out of 7 matches.

NORVAN FC  -  ICST PEGASUS  0-0:  On Saturday afternoon, at Confederation Park in North Vancouver, two teams in desperate need of points—Norvan FC and ICST Pegasus—settled for a 0-0 draw. The visiting Pegasus team got off to a bright start and almost took the lead on a couple of occasions in the early stages of the match. However, efforts by CJ Jhooty and Azad Palani barely missed the target. As luck would have it, the visitors were reduced to 10 men midway through the first half when defender Gurjit Dhaliwal was sent off the field of play for having received his second caution. Needless to say, Norvan FC took full advantage of the situation and started exerting a lot of pressure on the Pegasus backline and continued to do so for the remainder of the contest. However, Brent Dodge and Kyle Bowman were unable to finish off a couple of great goalscoring chances late in the first half, thus keeping the game scoreless till the halftime whistle. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first as the home team pushed forward relentlessly in an attempt to gather all 3 points. The best opportunity for Norvan FC came midway through the second half when former Whitecaps captain Martin Nash had his excellent shot brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Amar Dhinsa. Norvan’s midfielders Devin Delaney and Sebastian Crema played exceptionally well throughout the contest, while defender Tony Seddon also turned in an excellent performance. For ICST Pegasus, goalkeeper Amar Dhinsa deserves special mention for having made several great saves and for having registered a well-earned clean-sheet. Also, defender Diaz Kambere, midfielder CJ Jhooty, and forward Omari Aldridge played remarkably well. The tie leaves both teams near the bottom of the standings as Norvan FC now finds itself in last place with a 1-3-3 record, while ICST Pegasus has 8 points out of 7 games.

METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  COLUMBUS FC  2-1:  The last game of the weekend was played on Saturday late afternoon at Trillium Park in Vancouver between the struggling Metro-Ford Wolves and the first place Columbus FC. Needless to say, the final result—a 2-1 victory for the underdog Wolves—was a huge upset. The heavily-favoured Italians almost took a stunning early lead when Steve DeBlasio took an audacious shot right after the opening whistle from the centre of the field. The shot totally surprised Metro-Ford’s goalkeeper Mathew Bird but—luckily for the Wolves—bounced off the crossbar. Midway through the first half Columbus FC took the lead when Steve DeBlasio sent Cory Martinello in on goal with an excellent pass. Martinello was subsequently fouled inside the penalty area by Anthony DiNicolo, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to the home team. Steve DeBlasio stepped up to the plate and easily converted the spot shot for the game’s opening goal. The Wolves bounced back tenaciously and came close to scoring the equalizer on a couple of occasions but young veteran Andrew Veer—in his first game of the season—was denied both times by goalkeeper Thomas Lindley. Early in the second half, Columbus FC almost added to its lead with Steve DeBlasio once again involved in the play. On this occasion, DeBlasio’s wicked shot was well-saved by Mathew Bird. Kazunori Kikuchi picked up the rebound and once again fired the ball towards the Metro-Ford net only to have Bird come up with another brilliant save. At this juncture, the Wolves started exerting some pressure of their own and eventually tied things up at around the 65th minute mark. Luigi Pantusa initiated the play as he unleashed a wicked drive from well outside the penalty area, a shot that forced Thomas Lindley to make a sensational save. However, Sang Hwang picked up the rebound and slipped the ball to a wide-open Adam Jones, who had no difficulty whatsoever in finishing off the play from close range. Shortly thereafter, the Wolves scored what proved to be the winning goal when young Andre` Pietramala and veteran Alfredo Valente combined to set up Luigi Pantusa who proceeded to finish off the play in clinical fashion. The entire Metro-Ford team played quite well in registering the unexpected—and astonishing—victory, but special mention should be made of goalkeeper Mathew Bird, defenders Matthew Besuschko and Kyle Jones for their rock-solid performances. Also, attacking midfielder Adam Jones and forward Sang Hwang were thorns on the side of the Columbus defenders throughout the contest. For Columbus FC, forward Steve DeBlasio turned in yet another commendable performance, while young defender Stefano Bortolussi and goalkeeper Thomas Lindley also performed admirably. The victory improves Metro-Ford’s record to 3-2-3, good for 6th place, while Columbus FC remains in first place—by the slimmest margin—with 14 points out of 8 games.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: METRO-FORD WOLVES for their remarkable upset victory over the first-place Columbus FC. Led by some excellent defending on the part of Matt Besuschko and Kyle Jones—as well as some brilliant goalkeeping by Mat Bird—the Wolves fully deserved their hard-earned victory.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  CCBRT United forward MILAD RAHMATI for his brilliant 3-goal performance in his team’s upset victory over the heavily-favoured EDC Burnaby. Not only did Rhamati score a wonderful hat-trick, but he also drove the EDC Burnaby defenders to distraction with his speed and skill . For his superb performance this past weekend, MILAD RAHMATI will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-11-14.

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2013-10-21

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 7

A couple of ‘semi-upsets’ took place this past weekend as West Van FC and Inter FC easily defeated Surrey United and ICST Pegasus respectively. The two top teams in the Premier Division standings—Columbus FC and EdC Burnaby—settled for a 1-1 tie, a result that did neither team any favours. Also, the CCBRT United vs Norvan FC match had to be postponed due to foggy conditions on Friday evening at Newton Athletic Park.

EDC FC BURNABY   -  COLUMBUS FC  1-1::  On Friday evening, at Burnaby Lake West, EDC FC Burnaby remained the only undefeated team in the Premier Division by holding the first-place Columbus FC to a 1-1 tie. The former Chileans got off to a bright start and came close to scoring the opening goal on two separate occasions, both times on set-ups by Admir Salihovic. On the first attempt, Salihovic set up a streaking Habil Otieno whose subsequent shot hit the outside of the net. Then, a few minutes later, Salihovic—after having received an excellent through ball from Stedman Espinoza—found a wide-open Rizal Ganief inside the penalty area with a great cross. Inexplicably, the leading Premier Division goalscorer failed to make proper contact with the ball, leaving the game scoreless. As luck would have it, Columbus took the lead shortly thereafter when Kazunori Kikuchi calmly deflected the ball into the back of the Burnaby net after having received a great cross from Blair Robertson. The ‘Italians’ kept pressing and came close to adding to their lead on a couple of occasions, but shots by Cory Martinello and Devon Smith barely missed the target. However, at about the 30th minute mark, EDC Burnaby scored the equalizer—against the run of play—when Eric Ray, Habil Otieno, and Rizal Ganief combined to set up Admir Salihovic inside the 18-yard box. Salihovic’s initial shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Thomas Lindley only to have Salihovic pick up the rebound and slot the ball home in a rather awkward manner. The home team kept pressing and came close to scoring on a few occasions during the remainder of the first half, but efforts by Habil Otieno, Ylya Malek, and Eric Ray were well-saved by Thomas Lindley. Early in the second half, Columbus FC almost took the lead when Steve DeBlasio rang a wicked shot off the crossbar. Midway through the second half, Columbus was reduced to 10 men when former professional Luca Belliisomo was ejected for having denied an obvious goalscoring opportunity as he fouled Rizal Ganief just outside the penalty area. EDC Buranby took advantage of the situation and pushed forward relentlessly in an attempt to gather all 3 points, but efforts by Ylya Malek and Rizal Ganief went awry, thus leaving the game tied at 1-1 till the final whistle. Columbus’ midfielders Robbie Cairns and Devon Smith played exceptionally well, while goalkeeper Thomas Lindley made some key saves during the entire match to preserve the tie. For EDC Buranby, midfielder Chris Kyd, defender Gus Ramirez, and forward Admir Salihovic also turned in commendable performances. The tie leaves Columbus FC in first place, with 14 points out of 7 games, while EDC Burnaby is still undefeated—and only one point behind Columbus—with remarkable 3-4-0 record.

LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  -  METRO-FORD WOLVES   4-1:  On Saturday afternoon, at Coquitlam Town Centre, the visiting Langley FC Hurricanes disposed of the young Metro-Ford Wolves by a rather lop-sided 4-1 margin and thus remained in the hunt for first place in the VMSL Premier Division standings. The first half was a rather lacklustre affair as neither team displayed a great deal of tenacity and passion. Early in the game—at about the 8th minute mark—Langley’s Niko Marcina gave his team the lead when he finished off a well-taken free-kick by Oscar Jimenez with a clever volley from a rather difficult angle. Soon thereafter, Oscar Jimenez took advantage of a defensive faux-pas and raced in on goal on a breakaway, only to have Metro-Ford’s goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato pull off a sensational save. Midway through the first half, the Hurricanes doubled their lead when Sujinda Dangvan—after having received a brilliant pass from Gurj Sandhu—curled a long-range shot into the back of the Metro-Ford net, for what proved to be the winning goal. Late in the first half, the Wolves narrowed the margin when defender Anthony DiNicolo took advantage of a goal-mouth scramble—resulting from a well-taken corner kick by Alfredo Valente—and slotted the ball into the back of the net. The early part of the second half belonged entirely to the Wolves as they tried desperately to score the tying goal. They came very close to accomplish their quest when—at about the 65th minute mark—Domenic Delli Santi fired what appeared to be an unstoppable, low shot from just outside the penalty area. As luck would have it, however, the ball bounced off the goalpost and out of danger. Soon thereafter, the Hurricanes put the game out of Metro-Ford’s reach when second-half substitute BJ Rockson used his speed and skill as he raced in on goal on a breakaway from the centre of the park. The veteran then proceeded to calmly round goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato before slotting the ball into the wide-open net. It should be mentioned that Rockson was sent on the breakaway by Harpreet Khakh, after some clever passing on the part of Scott MacDonald and Oscar Jimenez. Late in the game, the Hurricanes added insult to the Wolves’ injury by scoring their 4th goal as Daniel Badesha deposited the ball into the back of the net after having received a clever back-heel pass from BJ Rockson. Second half substitutes—defender Pavi Dhillon and forward BJ Rockson—were very influential in Langley FC’s victory, while midfielder Oscar Jimenez and defender Jesse Dhami also performed admirably in their respective positions. The victory elevates Langley FC to 3rd place in the standings, with a record of 3-2-2, while the Metro-Ford Wolves slip to 7th place, with 8 points out of 7 matches.

INTER FC  -  ICST PEGASUS  4-1:  Also  on Saturday afternoon, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, Inter FC won its second consecutive match by defeating the visiting ICST Pegasus by a clear-cut 4-1 margin. The match began with the underdog ‘Italians’ dominating most of the action, with wingers Ravj Ahmadi and Donald Kambere exposing the Pegasus backline with their speed and tenacity. The constant Inter pressure finally resulted in the first goal of the match midway through the first half as Cristian Tropeano converted a brilliant cross from Ravj Ahmadi in clinical fashion, thus giving his team the well-deserved early lead. ICST Pegasus bounced back and eventually managed to knot the score when Chetan Jhooty unleashed an unstoppable low shot from the edge of the penalty area, a shot that found the back of the Inter net. Much to Pegasus’ chagrin, however, Inter FC retook the lead immediately thereafter when Andrew Corazza was sent on a breakaway by Alex Marrello and made no mistake in finishing the play with a close-range shot. To their credit, the visitors refused to give up and exerted a lot of pressure on the Inter backline, particularly in the early part of the second half. However, some excellent work by defender Marco Visintin and midfielder Alex Marrello kept Pegasus off the score sheet. Midway through the second half, Inter FC scored what proved to be the insurance marker when Ravji Ahmadi found the top corner of the Pegasus net with a wicked shot from inside the 18-yard box. Ahmadi and Corazza could have increased their team’s lead but their shots barely missed the Pegasus net. At the other end of the pitch, ICST Pegasus also came close to narrowing the margin on several occasions, but efforts by Chetan Jhooty, Azad Palani, and Diaz Kambere were either saved by goalkeeper Erman Ozkan or missed the target. Late in the game, Andrew Corazza added his second goal of the game as he outmuscled a Pegasus defender inside the goal area and drove the ball home for his team’s 4th goal. The entire Inter team played extremely well during the 90 minutes of action, but special mention should be made of forward Andrew Corazza, midfielder Tino Cucca, and wide midfielder Ravji Ahmadi for their superlative performances. For ICST Pegasus, midfielder Chetan Jhooty not only scored his team’s lone goal but he also demonstrated some excellent leadership qualities. Inter’s victory improves its record to an even 3-1-3, good for 5th place in the standings, while ICST Pegasus drops to 9th place, with only 7 points out of 6 games.

WESTSIDE FC  -  CROATIA SC  1-1:  On Sunday afternoon, at Musqueam Park in Vancouver, two struggling teams—the hosting Westside FC and the visiting Croatia SC—settled for a 1-1 draw, a result that leaves both teams in the ‘danger’ zone.  Both teams exchanged goalscoring opportunities during the early part of the game. The Croatians came close to scoring at about the 10th minute mark when Eddie Tsen raced in on goal from the right flank, only to have his final shot brilliantly saved by Rowan Anders. The Westsiders replied in kind and came close to opening the score a few minutes later when Hansol Kim—after having made a great run down the right wing—cut into the top of the 18-yard box before unleashing what appeared to be an unstoppable shot, a shot that goalkeeper Simon Cohen managed to save brilliantly. The home team took the lead midway through the first half when Andre` Herath’s ‘line-drive’ corner kick was headed home by Mike Buree in clinical fashion. It should be noted that the corner kick originated from a great run by Buree down the left flank. The rest of the first half was very evenly played as neither team appeared anxious to take any risks. Early in the second half, Westside FC was reduced to 10 men when young defender Jacob Quail was sent off for having denied an obvious goalscoring opportunity as he fouled Johnny Sulentic at the edge of the penalty area. The Croatians took full advantage of the situation and knotted the score at about the 60th minute mark when David Zaharija and Eddie Tsen combined to set up Kresimir Ukalovic well inside the 18-yard box. Ukolovic made no mistake as he calmly finished off the play with an unstoppable shot. The Croatians continued to press in search of the winning goal, but chances by Matteo Serka and Eddie Tsen went awry, leaving the score at 1-1 till the final whistle. Very late in the match, Croatia’s Johnny Sulentic’s great through ball found a wide-open Eddie Tsen inside the penalty area. However, Tsen’s eventual shot was cleared off the line by defender Lucien Meylan The Croatian midfield trio—Johnny Sulentic, Eddie Tsen, and David Zaharija—played extremely well during the entire contest, while young goalkeeper Simon Cohen made a couple of excellent saves, particularly in the early part of the contest. For Westside FC, midfielders Andre` Herath and Mike Buree played extremely well, particularly in the second half when their team was playing short-handed. The tie leaves Croatia SC in last place, with a 1-2-4 record, while Westside FC climbs to 7th place, with 8 points out of 7 games.

WEST VAN FC  -  SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  4-0:   Also on Sunday, at Cloverdale Athletic Park, the visiting West Van FC clobbered the ‘jet-lagged’ Surrey United Firefighters by an elaborate 4-0 margin. The defending Provincial Cup champions had just returned from the National championships in Nova Scotia, where they had captured the silver medal.  As the score indicates, the game was very one-sided as the former Trollers dominated every aspect of the match, from start to finish. In fact, the scoreline could have been even more emphatic had it not been for some excellent goalkeeping on the part of Surrey United’s Andrew Fink who pulled off some brilliant saves, particularly early in the match. In the opening minutes of the contest, West Van’s Bruno Teixiera received an immaculate through ball from Alan McIndoe, raced in on goal but his final shot was superbly saved by Fink. Soon thereafter, Stefan Crameri’s close-range shot was also brilliantly saved by Andrew Fink. However—at about the 25th minute mark—West Van FC was able to take the well-deserved lead when Max Baessato headed home a typical Paul Dailly corner kick from the edge of the goal area for what proved to be the winning goal. The visitors kept pressing and came close to adding to their lead, but shots by Alan McIndoe, Kevin Crouch, and Cathal O’Connor barely missed the target. Early in the second half, West Van FC finally doubled its lead when Alan McIndoe sent Cathal O’Connor flying in on goal with a splendid through ball.  O’Connor beat a couple of Surrey United defenders—as well as goalkeeper Andrew Fink—before calmly depositing the ball into the back of the net. Then—at about the 70th minute mark—Colin Phillips and Alan McIndoe combined to set up a wide open David O’Connor inside the Surrey United goal area. O’Connor proceeded to tap the ball into the net from close range for his team’s third goal. The visitors could have added to their lead on a couple of occasions, but efforts by Dave O’Connor and Bruno Teixiera went awry. Very late in the match, defender Leo Nash converted an excellent pass from Max Baessato into West Van’s final goal with a blast from well inside the penalty area. The entire West Van FC team played remarkably well but special mention should be made of midfielders Alan McIndoe and Cathal O’Connor for their superb performances as they created numerous goalscoring chances throughout the match. Also, forwards Kevin Crouch, Stefan Crameri, and Colin Phillips were constant threats as they drove the Surrey United defenders to distraction with their speed and skill. For the Firefighters, youth pick-ups—defender Bhazraj Saran, midfielder Karn Phagura, and forward Kyle Sohi—played remarkably well, albeit in a losing cause. The victory improves West Van FC’s record to an even 2-3-2, good to 6th place in the standings, while the Firefighters drop to 9th place, with 7 points out of 6 games.

TEAMS OF THE WEEK: INTER FC and WEST VAN FC for their upset victories over the heavily-favoured ICST Pegasus and Surrey United Firefighters respectively. As a result of their victories, Inter FC and West Van FC climbed out of the dreaded relegation zone and are now sitting in the middle of the Premier Division table.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Inter FC forward ANDREW CORAZZA for his incredible 2-goal performance in his team’s upset victory over the heavily-favoured ICST Pegasus. Both of Corazza’s goals were absolutely magnificent as he displayed his renowned goalscoring prowess to perfection. For his superb performance this past weekend, ANDREW CORAZZA will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-11-07.

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2013-10-14

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 6

 

Once again, only one upset took place this past weekend as the ‘hot and cold’ CCBRT United disposed of the league leading Columbus FC for a narrow 2-1 margin. EDC Burnaby failed to take advantage of the situation and remained in second place as a result of its 2-2 tie against the Langley Hurricanes. At the bottom of the table, things got tighter as West Van FC got out of its slump by recording its first victory of the season by defeating Westside FC by a 3-0 score. On a different note, congratulations to the Surrey United Firefighters for having captured the silver medal in the Canadian National championship, held in Nova Scotia.

LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  -  EDC FC BURNABY   2-2::  On Friday evening, at McLeod Park in Langley, two of the top teams in the VMSL’s Premier Division—the hosting Langley FC Hurricanes and the visiting EDC Burnaby—battled to a 2-2 draw, a result that helps neither team’s quest to gain possession of first place in the standings. As the score indicates, the match was very evenly played as both teams took turns creating goalscoring opportunities. Very early in the contest, Langley FC almost took the lead when Amar Mander—after having stripped the ball from a Burnaby defender—raced in on goal on a breakaway, only to have his final shot miss the net. At the other end of the pitch, Eric Ray found a wide-open Chris Kyd at the edge of the Langley penalty area with a brilliant cut-back pass. Unfortunately for the Chileans, Kyd’s subsequent shot sailed over the cross-bar. A few minutes later, Kyd repeated his previous missed effort, this time on a pass from Ylya Malek. Midway through the first half, EDC Burnaby took the lead when a cross from Habil Otieno found a charging Rizal Ganief inside the 18-yard box. Ganief’s header bounced off the chest of defender Joey Brar and into the Langley net for the match’s opening goal. The Hurricanes came close to tying things up at the 30th minute mark, but Amar Mander’s fine cross was headed wide of the net by a diving Harp Khakh. As luck would have it, very late in the first half, EDC Burnaby doubled its lead as Eric Ray finished off an elongated passing play—involving goalkeeper Mike Newton, Habil Otieno, and Rizal Ganief—with a clever chip shot over the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Drew Smiley.  Langley FC  bounced back tenaciously in the second half and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. However, Woody Bradford’s header barely missed the net, while Joti Thind’s shot was brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Mike Newton. The Hurricanes were eventually able to knot the score with two goals scored in rapid succession. The first goal came at the 70th minute mark when Niko Marcina’s well-taken corner kick found playing coach Steve Millar in the middle of the penalty area. Millar rose above all others and clinically headed the ball home for his team’s first goal. A couple of minutes later, Harp Khakh was fouled inside the EDC Burnaby penalty area by Edwin Rodriguez, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to Langley FC. On the ensuing spot shot, Niko Marcina calmly slotted the ball home for the equalizer. Late in the contest, EDC Burnaby came close to regaining the lead on a couple of occasions, but shots by Brian Dottin and Admir Salihovic sailed over the crossbar, thus leaving the score at 2-2 till the final whistle. Veteran Langley defenders Steve Millar and Woody Bradford were rock-solid throughout the contest, while midfielders Niko Marcina, Harp Khakh, and Oscar Jimenez dictated the pace of the match with their enormous skill. For EDC Burnaby, midfielders Eric Ray and Ylya Malek deserve special mention for their superlative performances, while forward Admir Salihovic and defenders Stedman Espinoza and Narcisse Tchoumi also played remarkably well. The tie keeps EDC Burnaby in second place—one point behind Columbus FC—with an unbeaten record of 3-3-0, while the Langley FC Hurricanes are now in 4th place, with 8 points from 6 games.

METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  CROATIA SC  1-0:  Also on Friday evening, at South Memorial Park in Vancouver, two very young teams—Croatia SC and the Metro-Ford Wolves—engaged in a very hard-fought and entertaining match, an encounter that resulted in a 1-0 victory for the visiting Wolves. The Wolves took the early lead—at about the 15th minute mark—when young Adam Jones clinically finished off a 3-way passing play, which also involved Carson Gill and Sang Hwang. The visiting Coquitlam team continued to control most of the play during the remainder of the first half and came close to doubling its lead when Vito Iacobellis sent Sang Hwang towards goals with a splendid through ball. However, Hwang’s final shot went straight into the arms of Croatia’s goalkeeper, 17-year old Christian Zimmermann.  The Croatians bounced back tenaciously during the second half and created numerous chances to score what would have been the tying goal. However, some poor finishing, coupled with some excellent goalkeeping on the part of Metro-Ford’s Dillan Fogliato, kept the score at 1-0 till the final whistle. In particular, at the 60th minute mark, veteran Johnny Sulentic sent an impeccable cross into the Metro-Ford box, a cross that Matteo Agnoloni headed towards the goal. Unfortunately for Agnoloni—and the rest of the Croatian contingent—the ball sailed just high of the net, with Fogliato well-beaten. Fifteen minutes later, Kresimir Ukalovic slipped a brilliant through ball to Ryan Zaharija who quickly fired what  appeared to be an unstoppable shot towards the Metro-Ford net. However, Dillan Fogliato rose to the occasion and pulled off a sensational save. Soon thereafter, the Wolves also came close to scoring when Luigi Pantusa’s fine cross was re-directed towards the Croatia goal by Domenic Delli Santi, only to have Christian Zimmermann make yet another fine save. Needless to say, goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato was the main reason for Metro-Ford’s victory, while defenders Matt Besuschko and Kia Mirzahossein—as well as midfielder Adam Jones and forward Sang Hwang—also played remarkably well to lead their team to the all-important victory. Despite the loss, midfielder Johnny Sulentic turned in one of his usual skillful performances as he guided his young teammates with his experience and indomitable skill. Young defender Lucas Sweda and midfielder Eddie Tsen also performed admirably, albeit in a losing cause. The hard-earned victory elevates the Metro-Ford Wolves to a 4th place—with an even 2-2-2 record, while Croatia SC slips to last place in the standings, with only 4 points from 6 matches.

INTER FC  -  NORVAN FC  1-0:  On Saturday afternoon, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, two teams in desperate need of points—Inter FC and Norvan FC—faced off in an attempt to get out of the relegation zone. At the end of the day, the hosting ‘Italians’ walked away with a hard-earned 1-0 victory over the visiting North Shore squad. The first half was a rather scrappy affair, particularly in the early stages. As time passed, Norvan FC managed to exert some pressure on the Inter defenders and almost took the lead on a couple of occasions in the late stages of the opening period. However, efforts by Mike Carroll and Martin Nash were brilliantly saved by Inter’s goalkeeper Erman Ozkan. At the other end of the pitch, Alex Marrello had his well-taken, long-range shot brilliantly saved by Giancarlo Martino. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first until Inter FC managed to score what proved to be the winning goal at the 75th minute mark. The insertion of 18-year old Jonas Sandison paid enormous dividends to the ‘Italians’ as he scored a cracking goal soon after entering the field of play. In fact, Sandison beat a couple of Norvan defenders to a loose ball, cut towards the edge of the 18-yard box, and unleashed a rocket of shot into the top corner of the net, giving goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino no chance whatsoever. At this point, the visiting North Shore team threw caution to the wind and attacked relentlessly until the final whistle. However, efforts by Mike Carroll, Sebastian Crema, and Kyle Guay were either saved by Erman Ozkan or barely missed the target. Needless to say, Inter’s goalkeeper Erman Ozkan fully deserved his clean sheet as he made numerous excellent saves throughout the contest. Defensively, Marlon Palomo turned in an excellent performance in his right fullback position, while midfielder Alex Marrello and forward Cristian Tropeano worked very hard during the entire 90 minutes of play. For Norvan FC, defenders Kyle Bowman, Tony Seddon, and Nathan Harte kept the vaunted Inter attackers at bay for most of the contest while former Whitecaps’ captain Martin Nash was his usual hard-working self in the middle of the park. Midfielder Devin Gunes also turned in an excellent performance for Norvan FC. The victory improves Inter’s record to 2-1-3, good for 8th place in the standings, while Norvan FC drops to penultimate place, with only 5 points out of 6 games.

CCBRT UNITED -  COLUMBUS FC  2-1:  Also on Saturday—and also at Trillium Park in Vancouver—the unpredictable former Rovers put an end to Columbus’ unbeaten streak by defeating the Premier Division leaders by a narrow 2-1 margin.  The visitors got off to a bright start and almost took the lead at the 3rd minute mark when Milad Rahmati took advantage of a defensive Columbus miscue but was unable to finish the play due to an excellent save on the part of Thomas Lindley. Then, midway through the first half, Gagan Josan received an excellent through ball from Jacob Lensky, raced in on the Columbus goal on a breakaway but missed the target with his final shot. Soon thereafter, Columbus responded in kind and also came close to scoring when Cory Martinello’s cross into the CCBRT penalty area was perfectly one-timed by Kazanori Kikuchi. However, Kikuchi’s shot rang off the crossbar and out of danger. Finally, late in the first half, Columbus FC was able to take the lead when Steve DeBlasio beat a couple of CCBRT defenders before finding Kazanori Kikuchi all alone in front of the net. Kikuchi had no difficulty in finishing off the play with a close-range tap in, thus giving his team the 1-0 halftime lead. In the second half, CCBRT United came out of the starting gates with passion and determination, in an effort to knot the score. However, Milad Rahmati was stymied on two different occasions by goalkeeper Thomas Lindley—both times on breakaways. Finally, at around the 60th minute mark, Milad Rahmati was able to make amends for his previously missed opportunities when he converted an excellent pass from Bobby Jhutty into the tying goal with a shot from inside the penalty area. A few minutes later, CCBRT United took the lead when Milad Rahmati became the provider as he slipped the ball to Gagan Josan who proceeded to beat a Columubs defenders before blasting an unstoppable shot into the back of the net. Then, at about the 75th minute mark, CCBRT United almost increased its lead when Gagan Josan raced in on goal on yet another breakaway—this time on a pass by David Hill. However, Thomas Lindley once again stood tall and pulled off yet another sensational save. Columbus FC came very close to tying things up very late in the match, when Steve DeBlasio’s cross was volleyed towards the net by Jonathan Poli, only to have defender Brinder Kang block the shot at the goal-line. The entire CCBRT United team played remarkably well but special mention should be made of goalkeeper Luke O’Shea, defenders Derrick Bassi, Brinder Kang, and Helge Newmann, midfielders Jacob Lensky, Bobby Jhutty, and David Hill, and forwards Milad Rhamati and Gagan Josan for their superlative performances in guiding their team to the all-important upset victory. Despite the loss, Columbus’ goalkeeper Thomas Lindley made some great saves during the entire match, while forwards Steve DeBlasio and Kazonori Kikuchi also turned in strong performances. The victory improves CCBRT United’s record to 3-1-2, good for third place in the standings, while Columbus remains in first place despite the loss, with 13 points out of 6 games.

WEST VAN FC  -  WESTSIDE FC   3-0:   The third Saturday game was played at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver and featured the hosting West Van FC  and the visiting Westside FC.  Despite the rather emphatic 3-0 final score, the match was quite evenly played as both teams created several excellent goalscoring opportunities. The visiting Westsiders came close to scoring the opening goal very early in the match when Jacob Quail’s header bounced off the post. On the ensuing rebound, Quail was once again denied the opportunity to open the scoring, this time by defender Mike Winter as he blocked Quail’s shot as it was entering the net. Soon thereafter, Reece Branion—after having received a great pass from Gi Ha—was unable to finish off yet another golden opportunity. As luck would have it, it was West Van FC that opened the scoring a few minutes later when Alan McIndoe made a great run through the midfield, beat a few Westside defenders, and unleashed an unstoppable shot from just inside the penalty area, a shot that found the bottom corner of the net. The former Trollers continued to press, but chances by Alan McIndoe and Kevin Crouch barely missed the net, leaving the score at 1-0 till the halftime whistle. The second half half was more or less a replica of the first, as both teams took turns attacking and defending. Early in the second half—at about the 50th minute mark—West Van FC doubled its lead when a patented free-kick by Paul Dailly found the back of the Westside net. The free-kick had been awarded when Bruno Teixiera was fouled well outside the 18-yard box, after having made a dangerous run through the Westside backline. To their credit, the Westsiders refused to give up and came storming back in search of their first goal and created a few goalscoring opportunities. In particular, Jamie Davies—after having been set up by Hansol Kim—had his wicked shot brilliantly saved by Garth Lagasse. At the other end of the pitch, yet another Paul Dailly free-kick seemed destined for the back of the net, but Westside’s goalkeeper Rowan Anders rose to the occasion and pulled off an incredible save. Then, at the 70th minute mark, West Van FC put the game out of Westside’s reach when substitute Corey Birza headed home an immaculate cross by Tristan Wallis-Mayer, after the youngster had made a great run down the right flank. Once again, Westside FC responded positively and came close to scoring near the end of the match when Josh Miles’ excellent cross was headed towards the West Van net by Hansol Kim, only to have the ball bounce off the crossbar. The entire West Van FC team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of midfielders Alan McIndoe and Colin Phillips as they defended and attacked exceptionally well during the entire match. Also, defenders Mike Winter, Leo Nash, Max Baessato, and Tristan Wallis-Mayer were rock-solid all game long as they assisted goalkeeper Garth Lagasse as he gathered his first clean-sheet of the season.  For Westside FC, midfielders Andre` Herath, Gi Ha, and Mike Buree stood out as they controlled the play in the middle of the park with poise and skill. Also, defender Paddy Smyth turned in a very solid performance. The victory elevates West Van FC out of last place, with a 1-3-2 record, while Westside FC slides down to 8th place, with 7 points out of 6 matches.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: CCBRT UNITED for its amazing upset 2-1 victory over the previously undefeated Columbus FC. Led by the extraordinary pefformances of forwards Milad Rahmati and Gagan Josan—as well as midfielders Jacob Lensky, Bobby Jhutty, and David Hill—the  former Rovers fully deserved the marrow victory. As a result, CCBRT United is now in third place in the Premier Division standings, with 10 points out of 6 games.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  West Van FC’s midfielder ALAN MCINDOE for his amazing peformance in his team’s 3-0 victory over Westside FC. McIndoe turned in an impeccable performance during the entire 90 minutes of play as he set up numerous goalscoring opportunities for his teammates. Furthermore, McIndoe scored the winning goal on a splendid individual effort. For his amazing performance this past weekend, ALAN MCINDOE will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-10-31.

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2013-10-07

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 5

Only one upset took place this past weekend as the heavily-rated Langley FC Hurricanes dropped a decisive 6-3 decision to CCBRT United. At the top of the table, Columbus FC took over sole possession of first place by defeating Norvan FC by a 3-0 margin, while EDC Burnaby relinquished its first place tie  with Columbus by virtue of its scoreless draw against Croatia SC. At the bottom of the standings, the once powerful West Van FC remained winless—and in last place—after settling for a 3-3 tie with the young Metro-Ford Wolves.

EDC FC BURNABY  -  CROATIA SC  0-0:  On Friday evening, at Burnaby Lake West Complex, the hosting EDC Burnaby and the visiting Croatia SC settled for a scoreless tie, a result that does not help either team’s respective quests. The heavily-favoured Chileans controlled most of the play and created numerous goalscoring chances, but some excellent goalkeeping on the part of Croatia’s Simon Cohen—as well as some poor finishing on the part of the EDC Burnaby forwards—kept the match scoreless till the final whistle. In particular, shots by Eric Ray, Rizal Ganief, and Ricardo Alvarado missed the Croatia net during the first half of play. Late in the first half, Rizal Ganief—the Premier Division top goalscorer—was denied yet another glorious goalscoring opportunity when Simon Cohen pulled off a semi-miraculous save. At the other end of the pitch, the Croatians also came close to taking the lead on one occasion when Eddie Tsen chipped the ball over the Chilean backline to Matteo Serka. Serka proceeded to race in on goal, only to have his final shot saved by goalkeeper Mike Newton. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first as EDC Burnaby continued pressing in search of the all-important goal, a goal that would have kept them tied for first place in the standings. Once again, however, several missed chances came back to haunt the Burnaby team as Habil Otieno, Ylya Malek, Admir Salihovic, and Rizal Ganief were unable to finish off excellent opportunities. The Croatians also had a good chance to score but, once again, Matteo Serka was unable to finish off an impeccable pass—this time by Kresimir Ukalovic. Midfielders Habil Otieno and Ylya Malek played extremely well for EDC Burnaby, while forwards Eric Ray and Admir Salihovic were very dangerous throughout the contest. For Croatia SC, centre back Matteo Agnoloni was rock-solid, while veteran midfielder Johnny Sulentic was his usual composed and skillful self. Goalkeeper Simon Cohen also turned in an excellent performance in the Croatia net as he fully earned his first clean-sheet of the season. As mentioned earlier, the tie does not help either team as EDC Burnaby slips to second place, with a 3-2-0 record while Croatia SC remains mired near the bottom of the standings, with only 4 points out of 5 games.

CCBRT UNITED   -  LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  6-3:  Also on Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, CCBRT United bounced back from last week’s embarrassing loss to Croatia SC by defeating the visiting Langley FC Hurricanes by an elaborate 6-3 margin. The former Rovers took the lead very early in the match when Milad Rahmati received a pass from Jacob Lensky and proceeded to left-foot the ball towards the Langley net. The ball bounced off the post and into the net for the game’s opening goal. Soon thereafter—at about the 10th minute mark—CCBRT United doubled its lead when Deep Toor and Milad Rahmati played a clever one-two at the edge of the penalty area before Toor finished off the play in clinical fashion. At the 15th minute mark, the home team tripled its lead on a well-executed penalty kick by Bobby Jhutty. The spot shot was awarded when Gagan Josan was tripped inside the penalty area by a Langley defender.  To their credit, the Hurricanes bounced back and managed to narrow the score at the 30th minute mark when Pavi Dhillon full-volleyed a cross by Jodi Thind into the back of the CCBRT net in brilliant fashion. However, CCBRT United managed to score 2 more goals before the halftime break, thus taking an insurmountable 5-1 lead into the dressing room. United’s 4th tally was scored at the 35th minute mark when Gagan Josan and Milad Rahmati combined to set up Avneet Shergill who had no difficulty in finishing off the play from close range with a low, unstoppable shot. Then, at the 40th minute mark, Avneet Shergill added his second goal of the match when he received a great pass from Gagan Josan, beat a Langley defender and proceeded to blast the ball into the net from just inside the 18-yard box. Once again, however, the Hurricanes refused to give up and narrowed the margin by scoring two excellent goals in the early part of the second half. At the 60th minute mark, Harp Khakh neatly beat a couple of CCBRT defenders before calmly slotting the ball into the bottom corner of the net. Then, at about the 75th minute mark, Oscar Jimenez blasted a low rocket of a shot into the net from the edge of the penalty area. The Hurricanes kept pressing but were unable to score again, mostly due to the fine play of young defenders Jas Chahuan and Mandeep Parhar. As luck would have it, CCBRT United was able to clinch the victory very late in the match when David Hill sent Milad Rahmati towards the Langley goal with a picture-perfect pass. Rahmati used his speed and skill to beat a couple of defenders before slotting the ball into the bottom corner of the net. As mentioned earlier, young defenders Jas Chahuan and Mandeep Parhar played amazingly well for CCBRT United, while midfielders David Hill, Jacob Lensky, Bobby Jhutty, and Gagan Josan also turned in excellent performances. Milad Rahmati and Avneet Shergill also deserve special mention for their goalscoring prowess as they each scored two splendid goals. For Langley FC, midfielder Joti Thind deserves special mention for his indomitable work-rate, albeit in a losing cause. The victory improves CCBRT United’s record to an even 2-1-2, tied for 3rd place with 4 other teams, including Langley FC.

METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  WEST VAN FC  3-3:  On Saturday afternoon, at Charles Best School in Coquitlam, the hosting Metro-Ford Wolves and the visiting West Van FC settled for a 3-3 draw after a hared-fought and evenly-contested 90 minutes of play. The former Trollers took an early 2-0 lead as they took advantage of some sloppy defending and finished off their chances in clinical fashion. The first West Van goal came at the 5th minute mark when defender Max Baessato sent an impeccable through ball to a streaking Cathal O’Connor, who proceeded to finish off the play with a clever shot that gave goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato no chance whatsoever. About 10 minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead as Stefan Crameri’s wicked shot from the edge of the penalty area found the top corner of the Metro-Ford net. The play originated when a goal-kick by goalkeeper Garth Lagasse was flicked on by Jesse Fetterley and then by Dave O’Connor onto the path of Stefan Crameri, who made no mistake on his long-range shot. The former Trollers continued to apply pressure on the Metro-Ford defence and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions, but goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato pulled off two sensational saves on efforts by Cathal O’Connor and Stefan Crameri. To their credit, the young Wolves refused to fold their tents and battled back tenaciously in an effort to get back into the match. At about the 30th minute mark, the home team was rewarded when a penalty kick was called by the referee against West Van FC as Luigi Pantusa was tripped inside the box by defender Bruno Teixiera. Young veteran Alfredo Valente stepped up to the plate and converted the penalty kick in brilliant fashion, giving Garth Lagasse no chance and thus narrowing West Van’s margin to 2-1. A few minutes later, the Wolves knotted the score, with Alfredo Valente once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Valente sent a picture-perfect cross to Domenic Delli Santi who proceeded to control the ball at the edge of the penalty area before blasting it into the back of the net with an unstoppable shot. The second half was quite evenly played as both teams took turns attacking and defending. At about the 75th minute mark, West Van FC regained the lead when defender Max Baessato played a clever one-two with Alan McIndoe at the top of the Metro-Ford 18-yard box. Baessato then finished off the play with a low, near-post shot that found the back of the Metro-Ford net. Once again, the Wolves refused to toss in the towel and were finally rewarded very late in the game when Adam Jones finished off a brilliant individual effort to knot the score.  West Van’s wingers Stefan Crameri and Dave O’Connor ran miles during the entire game and were constant threats to the Metro-Ford backline. Fullbacks Bruno Teixiera and Max Baessato—as well as midfielder Alan McIndoe—were rock-solid during the entire 90 minutes. For the Metro-Ford Wolves, former Whitecap Alfredo Valente turned in a superlative performance while young midfielders Dom Delli Santi and Lui Pantusa also performed admirably well. The result leaves West Van in last place, with a remarkably poor 0-3-2 record, while the Wolves now have 5 points from 5 games.

COLUMBUS FC  -  NORVAN FC  3-0:   Also on Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, Columbus FC took over sole possession of first place by easily defeating the visiting Norvan FC by a 3-0 margin. The match was a rather lacklustre affair as the ‘Italians’ capitalized on a couple of early Norvan miscues and easily held on to their lead for the remainder of the contest. At about the 20th minute mark, Columbus FC took the lead when a Steve DeBlasio free-kick was misjudged by the Norvan defenders, took a peculiar bounce and ended up in the back of the net for one of the oddest goals in VMSL history! Soon thereafter, Columbus FC doubled its lead with Steve DeBlasio once again involved in the play. On this occasion, DeBlasio’s long-range shot was well-saved by young goalkeeper Erfan Khaleghi, only to have Kazanori Kikuchi head home the rebound for the insurance marker. It should be mentioned that the 18-year old Khaleghi was making his VMSL debut! To their credit, the visitors bounced back during the early part of the second half and came close to narrowing the margin on a couple of occasions. However, Matt Hartwell’s shot hit the goalpost, while Nathan Harte watched agonizingly as his shot sailed over the bar. Columbus responded in kind and eventually put the game out of Norvan’s reach with a late goal, scored by veteran Matt Judd as he headed home yet another brilliant cross from Steve DeBlasio—this one on a corner kick. Needless to say, Steve DeBlasio turned in a remarkable performance as he scored the winning goal and set up two other ones. Columbus’ midfielder Stefano Bortolussi also turned in a strong performance, while goalkeeper Thomas Lindley earned his 4th clean sheet of the season. Despite the loss, Norvan’s defenders Kyle Bowman, Kyle Guay, and Tony Seddon played extremely well, while midfielders Devon Guenich and Sebastian Crema worked extremely hard throughout the contest. As mentioned earlier, Columbus FC thus gains sole possession of first place, with a record of 4-1-0, while Norvan FC slips to 8th place, with 5 points out of 5 games.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  INTER FC  2-2:   The third Saturday game was played at Cloverdale Athletic Park between the hosting Surrey United Firefighters and the visiting Inter FC. After an exciting and entertaining 90 minutes of non-stop action, both teams had to settle for a single point as a result of the final 2-2 score. The Firemen got off to a bright start and nearly took the lead very early in the match when Reece Miles sent a streaking Vinnie Stewart towards the Inter goal with an impeccable through ball. Unfortunately for Stewart—and the rest of the Surrey United clan—Inter’s goalkeeper Manny Mangu came up with an incredible save on Stewart’s wicked drive. The rest of the first half was very evenly played as both teams took turns attacking and defending. Late in the first half, both teams had glorious goalscoring opportunities but Inter’s Marco Visintin barely missed missed the net from close range, while Surrey United’s Vinnie Stewart was once again stymied by goalkeeper Manny Mangu. Early in the second half—at about the 55th minute mark—Inter FC took the lead when Alex Marrello and Cristian Tropeano combined to set up Andrew Corazza who proceeded to finish the play with an unstoppable right-foot shot. The Firefighters fought back tenaciously in search of the equalizer and were finally rewarded at the 70th minute mark when Vinnie Stewart blasted a long-range full volley into the back of the Inter net, giving goalkeeper Manny Mangu no chance whatsoever. A couple of minutes later, Inter FC re-established its lead, once again on a brilliant goal by none other than Andrew Corazza. On this occasion, Corazza outmuscled Surrey’s Stefan Leslie before blasting the ball into the back of the net with his patented left foot. Very late in the game, Surrey United’s Vinnie Stewart and Inter’s Roy Mattarollo were sent off for violent conduct infractions, thus reducing both teams to 10 men for the remaining few minutes of the contest. Just before the final whistle, Surrey United was able to knot the score when defender Andrew Reed raced down the right flank before crossing the ball into the Inter 18-yard box. Newly-signed Nigel Marples converted Reed’s cross into the tying goal with an unstoppable blast into the lower part of the Inter net. Inter FC’s defenders Roy Mattarollo, Marco Visintin, and Matt Allard played extremely well throughout the match, while midfielder Alex Marrello worked tirelessly in the middle of the park. Forward Andrew Corazza also deserves special mention for his clinical 2-goal performance. For Surrey United, midfielders Vinnie Stewart and Nigel Marples turned in excellent performances as they controlled the middle of the park with poise and technical skill. The result keeps the Surrey United Firefighters unbeaten, with a record of 1-4-0, good for 3rd place in the standings. Inter FC, on the other hand, remains near the bottom of the table, with 4 points out of 5 games. It should be mentioned that Surrey United—the defending BC Provincial Cup champions—will now travel to Nova Scotia to participate in the annual National Championship. The entire VMSL family wishes the Firefighters the best of luck!

ICST PEGASUS  -  WESTSIDE FC  1-0:  On Sunday, at Hillcrest Park in Vancouver, ICST Pegasus climbed out of the dreaded relegation zone by virtue of a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the hosting Westside FC. As the score indicates, the match was quite evenly-played as both teams defended extremely well and chose not to take any dangerous risks. Midway through the first half, both teams exchanged goalscoring opportunities but Pegasus’ Gurjit Dhaliwal missed the net on his chance, while Westside’s Kyung Gee had his shot saved by goalkeeper Andy Singh. Then, at the 37th minute mark, ICST Pegasus scored the game’s lone goal when Gurjit Dhaliwal made amends for his previously missed chance as he rocketed the ball into the back of the Westside net with a phenomenal half-volley, a shot that gave goalkeeper Rowan Anders no chance whatsoever. The visitors continued to press and came close to doubling their lead on a couple of occasions, but efforts by Omari Aldridge and Herman Sidhu either missed the target or were brilliantly saved by Rowan Anders. During the second half, the Westsiders pushed forward tenaciously in search of the equalizer, but some excellent defending on the part of the Pegasus back-line—as well as some excellent goalkeeping by Andy Singh—kept the visitors’ lead intact until the final whistle. At the other end of the pitch, Omari Aldridge—after having been set up by Diaz Kambere—had his shot brilliantly saved by Rowan Anders. Pegasus’ midfielder Diaz Kambere turned in a superlative performance as he dictated the pace of the game with his skill and tenacity, while goalkeeper Andy Singh fully earned his clean sheet with a few excellent saves. For Westside FC, central defender Jacob Quail—despite playing the entire game with 6 stitches over his left eye—bravely challenged his opponents for high balls and did a commendable job in breaking up numerous Pegasus attacks. Also, right fullback Andrew Grange and substitute midfielder Michael Buree played extremely well in their respective positions. The result elevates ICST Pegasus into a 3rd place tie, with an even record of 2-1-2, while Westside FC is also in 3rd place, with 7 points from 5 matches.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: CCBRT UNITED for its amazing 6-3 victory over the highly-regarded Langley FC Hurricanes. Led by the 2-goal performances of Milad Rahmati and Avneet Shergill, the former Rovers fully deserved the elaborate victory. Teenage defenders Jas Chahuan and Mandeep Parhar also deserve special mention for their remarkable performances as they helped their team enormously throughout the match.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Inter FC’s forward ANDREW CORAZZA for his incredible 2-goal performance in his team’s 2-2 tie against the heavily-favoured Surrey United Firefighters. Amazingly, Corazza first goal was scored with a right-foot blast, while the second was the result of one of his typical left-foot shots! For his amazing performance this past weekend, ANDREW CORAZZA will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-10-24.

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2013-09-30 

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 4

A couple of upsets took place this past weekend as two struggling teams—Metro-Ford Wolves and Croatia SC—defeated two heavily-favoured squads—ICST Pegasus and CCBRTU United. In the meantime, EDC FC Burnaby and Columbus FC remained undefeated—and tied for first place—as a result of their narrow victories over West Van FC and Langley FC respectively. At the bottom of the table, several teams are within a couple of points of each other in what could be described as the ‘premature’ relegation zone!

METRO-FORD WOLVES  -  ICST PEGASUS  4-1:  On Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, the visiting Metro-Ford Wolves defeated the heavily-favoured ICST Pegasus by a rather elaborate 4-1 margin.  The visiting Wolves took the early lead—at about the 9th minute mark—when defender Carson Gill headed home a well-taken free-kick by Adam Jones. ICST Pegasus replied in kind and knotted the score a couple of minutes later when Diaz Kambere sent Adam Costley in on goal with a picture-perfect through ball. Costley made no mistake and finished off the play by depositing the ball into the back of the net from close range. Then, at about the 20th minute mark, Metro-Ford retook the lead as Kia Mirzahossein, Alfredo Valente, and Adam Jones combined to set up a wide-open Domenic Delli Santi who proceeded to slot the ball into the bottom corner of the Pegasus net for what proved to be the winning goal. Early in the second half, the Metro-Ford Wolves scored their third goal when defender Anthony DiNicolo crossed the ball to former Whitecap Alfredo Valente whose subsequent header found Adam Jones at the edge of the penalty area. Without a moment’s hesitation, Jones half-volleyed the ball into the back of the net, giving goalkeeper Amar Dhinsa no chance whatsoever. The home team refused to give up and came storming back in an attempt to get back into the match. However, Diaz Kambere was denied a glorious goalscoring opportunity as goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato pulled off an amazing save on a well-taken free-kick. Soon thereafter, ICST Pegasus once again almost narrowed the margin, but Omari Aldridge was unable to finish off a fine cross by Robbie Tice. As luck would have it, Metro-Ford bounced back and scored the clinching goal late in the match when Luigi Pantusa put the icing on the cake with a brilliant strike from well outside the penalty area. Attacking midfielders Adam Jones and Alfredo Valente turned in outstanding performances for the Metro-Ford Wolves as they guided their young team to its first victory of the season. Goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato and defenders Carson Gill and Anthony DiNicolo also played remarkably well in a winning cause. For ICST Pegasus, veteran David Morris came on as a substitute in the second half and created numerous problems to the Metro-Ford defence with his skill and experience. The result elevates Metro-Ford to a 7th place tie with ICST Pegasus, both with identical 1-1-2 records.

CROATIA SC  -  CCBRT UNITED  4-2:  Also on Friday evening, at South Memorial Park in Vancouver, Croatia SC bounced out of last place by winning its first game of the season, at the expense of CCBRT United by a  4-2 score. After a fairly evenly played first part of the match, the Croatians took the lead at about the 30th minute mark when former professional Johnny Sulentic curled one of his patented free-kicks around the CCBRT United wall into the bottom corner of the net. The visiting Surrey team responded positively and tied things up a few minutes later when Gagan Josan was sent flying down the right flank by Phil Lensky’s impeccable pass. Josan proceeded to beat a couple of Croatia defenders before crossing the ball onto the path of an unmarked Milad Rahmati who had no difficulty in converting the pass into the tying goal from close range. The early part of the second half was more or less a repeat of the opening period as both teams took turns attacking and defending. At the 65th minute mark, CCBRT United took the lead when Milad Rahmati received a great ball from Sunny Bains, beat a Croatian defender and deposited the ball into the back of the net in clinical fashion. Croatia SC came close to tying things up shortly thereafter, but David Zaharija’s close-range shot—after having been set up by Eddie Tsen—was miraculously saved by goalkeeper Gursher Kajla. At the other end of the pitch, Sidd Athchukin hit the goalpost with a blazing shot, after having been set up by Bobby Jhutty. Then—at about the 70th minute mark—Croatia SC was able to knot the score with Johnny Sulentic once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Sulentic sent central defender Ryan Zaharija flying towards the CCBRT United goal with an excellent through ball. Zaharija raced in on goal on a lengthy breakaway and finished off the play brilliantly with the tying goal. Soon thereafter, CCBRT United’s Sam Gill was sent off the field of play for having used foul and abusive language towards an opponent after having been fouled. The home team took full advantage of the situation and took the lead a few minutes later when Eddie Tsen won a tackle in the middle of the park, burst down the line and eventually found Johnny Sulentic inside the 18-yard box with an exquisite pass. Needless to say, Sulentic slotted the ball home with yet another clinical finish. To add insult to CCBRT’s injury, Joel Malouf was also sent off—at about the 85th minute mark—also for having used foul and abusive language. Once again the Croatians took advantage of the situation and added their insurance marker late in the game when Johnny Sulentic completed his hat-trick when he finished off a clever pass from Anthony Sulentic with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area. Needless to say, Johnny Sulentic was the star of the match as he scored 3 brilliant goals in leading his team to its first victory of the season. Midfielder Eddie Tsen also contributed immensely to the victory with his poise and skill. Despite the loss, CCBRT United’s Deep Toor (defender), Sidd Athchukin (midfielder), and Milad Rahmati (forward) performed admirably throughout the contest. The victory lifts Croatia SC out of last place, with a record of 1-0-3, while CCBRT United slips to 7th place, with 4 points out of 4 games.

COLUMBUS FC  -  LANGLEY FC HURRICANES   2-1:  The third Friday evening game was played at McLeod Park in Langley and featured two of the top teams in the VMSL: the hosting Langley FC Hurricanes and the visiting Columbus FC. At the end of 90 minutes of non-stop action, the ‘Italians’ walked away with a hard-earned 2-1 victory.  Very early in the match, Columbus FC came very close to opening the scoring when Steve DeBlasio’s free-kick found Luca Bellisomo inside the Langley penalty area. However, Bellisomo’s wicked shot was brilliantly saved by veteran goalkeeper Drew Smiley. The Hurricanes responded in kind and also came close to scoring when Joti Thind—after having won a tackle against a Columbus defender—raced in on goal on a breakaway only to have his final shot miraculously saved by goalkeeper Thomas Lindley. Moments later, Langley’s Oscar Jimenez also had an opportunity to open the scoring, but his long-range shot barely missed the net. Near the end of the first half, Langley FC took advantage of some sloppy defending on the part of Columbus FC and took the lead on a thunderous shot by Oscar Jimenez, a shot that gave goalkeeper Thomas Lindley no chance whatsoever. Very early in the second half, the Hurricanes had a great opportunity to add to their lead, but Thomas Lindley once again rose to the occasion and pulled off another sensational save, on yet another shot by Joti Thind. To add insult to Langley’s injury, Steve Fronzo picked up the rebound but sailed his shot over the crossbar. Columbus FC took advantage of the situation and tied things up shortly thereafter when Devon Smith’s fine cross was chested down by Jonathan Poli who then proceeded to volley the ball into the net from inside the penalty area. A few minutes later, Columbus FC scored the winning goal, when Devon Smith became the finisher as he converted an excellent pass from Steve DeBlasio into the match winner with an excellent one-time shot from just outside the box. At this point, Langley FC threw caution to the wind and attacked relentlessly for the remainder of the match, but Columbus’ goalkeeper Thomas Lindley stood tall and managed to keep his team in the lead till the final whistle with numerous outstanding saves. Forward Steve DeBlasio, midfielder Devon Smith, and defenders Blair Robertson, Luca Bellisomo, Devon Greenside, and Stefano Pannu played extremely well for Columbus FC. Needless to say, however, goalkeeper Thomas Lindley was the main reason the ‘Italians’ walked away with all 3 points! For Langley FC, forward Joti Thind, midfielder Oscar Jimenez, defender Gurj Sandhu, and goalkeeper Drew Smiley performed admirably, albeit in a losing cause. The victory keeps Columbus FC in first place—tied with EDC Burnaby—with an unbeaten record of 3-1-0, while Langley FC slips to third place, with 7 points out of 4 games.

NORVAN FC  -  SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  2-2:    On Saturday, at Confederation Park in North Vancouver, two middle of the table squads—Norvan FC and Surrey United—settled for a 2-2 draw after a well-played 90 minutes of action.  The game was played in a torrential rainstorm but, considering the conditions, was well-played and heavily-contested. All four goals were scored in the first half, with Norvan FC scoring the first two in the early going and Surrey United tying things up in the late stages of the first period. At the 5th minute mark, Norvan’s Ashley Bradshaw cut in from the left side of the Surrey United penalty area and blasted a low shot inside the near post for the game’s opening goal. Ten minutes later, Norvan FC added to its lead when Sebastian Crema raced down the right flank before sending a hard, low cross into the box. Much to the Firefighters’ chagrin, the ball bounced off  Thomas Lowndes and into the back of the net. At about the 30th minute mark, Surrey United narrowed the margin as Lowndes redeemed himself from his previous faux pas by slotting the ball home after Liam Miller’s original shot had bounced off the goalpost. Ten minutes later, the Firefighters knotted the score with Liam Miller once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Miller made a great run down the right flank before crossing the ball into the goal area where a wide-open Roman Doutkevitch easily slotted it home for the equalizer. Surrey United controlled most of the play during the second half, without really creating too many excellent goalscoring opportunities. On one occasion, very late in the match, Surrey United’s Stefan Leslie headed a fine cross from Thomas Lowndes toward the Norvan net, only to have goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino pull off a fantastic save. Surrey United’s midfielder Liam Miller deserves special mention for having set up both of his team’s goals while young midfielder Karn Phagura played very well, both defensively and offensively. For Norvan FC, central defenders Graham Tingey and Brent Dodge turned in rock-solid performances, while veteran midfielder Martin Nash was his usual hard-working self. As a result of the tie, Surrey United remains undefeated and in 5th place, with a 1-3-0 record, while Norvan FC is now in 6th place, with 5 points from 4 matches.

WESTSIDE FC  -  INTER FC  4-3:   Also on Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, two newly-promoted teams—Westside FC and Inter FC—faced off. At the end of 90 minutes of exciting soccer, the visiting Westsiders returned home with the all-important 3 points after edging the ‘Italians’ by a 4-3 margin. Westside FC got off to a bright start and controlled the initial part of the first half, scoring the opening goal and coming close on a couple of other occasions. In fact, at about the 8th minute mark, Kyung Gee fired a bullet of a shot from well outside the penalty area, only to have the ball barely miss the target. Soon thereafter—at the 12th minute mark—Gee made amends for his previously missed effort when he set up teammate Jamie Davies with a picture-perfect cross, a cross that Davies easily converted into the opening goal.  A few minutes later, Westside FC almost doubled its lead with Kyung Gee once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Gee unleashed another wicked drive from just outside the penalty area, forcing goalkeeper Manny Mangu to make a sensational save. However, Westside’s Cesar Meylan picked up the rebound and slotted the ball home, but the goal was disallowed since Meylan was judged to have been in an offside position. Inter FC bounced back tenaciously and managed to score the tying goal at the 25th minute mark when Andrew Corazza displayed his clinical, goalscoring prowess as he beat a Westside defender at the edge of the box before firing a low, hard shot into the back of the net, giving goalkeeper Miguel Molina no chance whatsoever. Ten minutes later, Inter FC took the lead when Andrew Corazza flicked a long throw-in onto the path of Cristian Tropeano who proceeded to head the ball home from close range. Late in the first half, Westside FC managed to knot the score when Cesar Meylan won the ball near the corner flag before sending an impeccable cross to an unmarked Kyung Gee who rose brilliantly and headed the ball home from the middle of the penalty area. Very early in the second half, Westside FC took the lead when Cesar Meylan dribbled into the penalty area and was tripped by Inter’s Marco Visintin, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded. On the ensuring spot shot, Andre` Herath sent goalkeeper Manny Mangu the wrong way, thus scoring his team’s third goal. Fifteen minutes later—at about the 65th minute mark—Inter FC managed to knot the score when Brian VanSchagen took advantage of some soft Westside defending and slotted the ball home—with his right foot! Ten minutes later, Inter almost took the lead when Cristian Tropeano’s shot was partially saved by goalkeeper Miguel Molina. The ball then bounced high into the air before being cleared by Paddy Smyth onto the path of Tropeano whose final shot was once again saved by Molina. The Inter clan was convinced that the ball had crossed the line, but the referee thought otherwise! Very late in the contest, Westside FC scored the winning goal with Kyung Gee once again involved in the play as he was fouled well outside the box as he was making one of his dangerous runs towards the Inter goal. Defender Paddy Smyth took the free-kick and delivered a low cross into the box onto the path of centre-back Jacob Quail who proceeded to flick the ball into the top corner of the net, at the far post. Needless to say, attacking midfielder Kyung Gee turned in a superlative performance for Westside FC as he was dangerous throughout the entire contest and played a major part in 3 of his team’s 4 goals. Despite the heart-breaking loss, Inter’s midfielders Alex Marrello and Vicky Parhar worked extremely hard and deserve special mention for their efforts. The victory elevates Westside FC to 3rd place in the standings, with a 2-1-1 record, while Inter FC remains near the bottom of the table, with only 3 points out of 4 games.

EDC FC BURNABY  -  WEST VAN FC  6-4:  The third, and last, Saturday game was played at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver and featured the hosting West Van FC and the visiting EDC Burnaby.  As a result of a rather bizarre 6-4 victory, the Burnaby team retained its first place standing, albeit tied with Columbus FC. On the other hand, the former Trollers have now sunk to last place, with a rather unimpressive 0-2-2 record. EDC Burnaby got off to a great start and took an early 2-0 lead during the first 5 minutes of play. The first goal was scored at the 1st minute mark when Rizal Ganief—after having received a perfect pass from Ricardo Alvarado—was fouled inside the box by goalkeeper Marco Durante, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded to the visitors. Habil Otieno stepped up to the plate and easily converted the spot shot in brilliant fashion. Then—5 minutes later—Eric Ray gained possession of the ball in the West Van side of the field and proceeded to find a streaking Ylya Malek on the left flank. After controlling the ball, Malek fired it into the back of the net, for his team’s second goal. At about the 30th minute mark, West Van FC was reduced to 10 players when Leo Nash was sent off the field of play for having committed a serious foul play infraction. The  Chileans tried to take advantage of the situation and created a few chances to expand their lead but efforts by Eric Ray and Rizal Ganief went awry. As luck would have it—late in the first half—West Van FC narrowed the margin when Paul Dailly converted a penalty kick in his own inimitable manner. The spot shot was awarded when veteran central defender Narcisse Tchoumi handled the ball inside the penalty area. However, early in the second half, EDC Burnaby re-established its 2-goal lead with a fantastic goal by the VMSL’s leading goalscorer, Rizal Ganief. Ylya Malek, Gus Ramirez, and Admir Salihovic all participated in the play that eventually found an overlapping Ganief who had no difficulty in placing the ball into the empty net for his team’s third goal. Unbelievably, the short-handed West Van squad battled back tenaciously and succeeded in scoring two goals in rapid succession to knot the score. First—at the 55th minute mark—Paul Dailly and Bruno Teixiera combined to set up Jesse Fetterley who finished off the play with an unstoppable diving header. Then—at the 60th minute mark—West Van FC tied the score when Jesse Fetterley became the provider as he set up Ryan Glanville at the edge of the goal area. Glanville’s subsequent fully volley found the back of the net for the well-earned equalizer. A couple of minutes later, the Chileans retook the lead, once again on a brilliant goal by Rizal Ganief. On this occasion, Ganief finished off a three-way passing play—also involving Admir Salihovic and Chris Kyd—with an unstoppable close-range shot. Once again, however, West Van FC came storming back and tied things up at the 70th minute mark when young veteran Jeff Rogers headed home a patented Paul Dailly corner kick. EDC Burnaby re-established its lead at the 80th minute mark, once again of a goal by Rizal Ganief, this time set up by Gus Ramirez and Brian Dottin. A few minutes later, West Van FC was awarded a penalty kick when goalkeeper Michael Newton fouled Jesse Fetterley inside the Burnaby penalty area. Alan McIndoe stepped up to the plate—due to the fact that Paul Dailly had been substituted—and had his penalty kick well saved by goalkeeper Michael Newton, who thus made amends for his previous faux-pas. McIndoe and Fetterley both tried to pick up the rebound and—in so doing—got in each others’ way thus missing a golden opportunity to tie the score. Very late in the game, EDC Burnaby put the game out of West Van’s reach when Brian Dottin scored his team’s 6th goal as he finished off an amazing individual effort with a brilliant finish. The entire Burnaby team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of defender Gus Ramirez, midfielders Ylya Malek and Eric Ray, and forwards Rizal Ganief, Admir Salihovic, and Brian Dottin for their superb efforts. Despite playing short-handed for most of the match, West Van FC played admirably well, mostly due to the excellent performances of midfielder Paul Dailly as well as forwards Jesse Fetterley and Ryan Glanville. As mentioned earlier, the victory keeps EDC Burnaby tied for first place in the Premier Division standings, while West Van FC is now all alone in last place with only 2 points from 4 matches.

TEAMS OF THE WEEK: CROATIA SC and METRO-FORD WOLVES for their upset victories over CCBRT UNITED and ICST PEGASUS respectively. Croatia’s 4-2 victory over the former Rovers was the result of an amazing overall performance, while Metro-Ford defeated the heavily-favoured ICST Pegasus by an emphatic 4-1 margin. As a result of their victories, both Croatia SC and Metro-Ford climbed out of last place in the standings.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Westside FC’s attacking midfielder KYUNG GEE for his incredible performance in his team’s narrow 4-3 victory over Inter FC. Kyung Gee scored a brilliant goal and was also involved in two of the other Westside goals. Furthermore, he used his speed and skill to drive the Inter defenders to distraction throughout the contest. For his remarkable performance this past weekend, KYUNG GEE will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-10-17.

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2013-09-23

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 3

No huge upsets took place this past weekend as three teams (EDC Burnaby, Columbus FC, and Langley FC) remained undefeated and tied for first place as a result of their victories. At the bottom of the table, three other teams (West Van FC, Metro-Ford, and Croatia SC) are still winless and in desperate need of points. Two of the top teams (Langley FC and Columbus) will face each other this coming weekend in what promises to be a very entertaining and exciting match. The match is scheduled for Friday evening at McLeod Park Stadium in Langley.

CCBRT UNITED  -  WEST VAN FC  1-1:  On Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park in Surrey, two very talented teams—CCBRT United and West Van FC—settled for a 1-1 draw after a very competitive, and evenly-played, 90 minutes of non-stop action. The former Trollers got off to a great start and came close to opening the score in the early going on a couple of occasions. However, Ryan Glanville’s clever chip shot hit the crossbar, while Paul Dailly had one of his patented free-kicks brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Erman Ozkan. At the other end of the pitch, Sunny Bains was unable to convert Milad Rahmati’s excellent cross after Rahmati had made a brilliant run down the right flank. Midway through the first half, West Van FC was finally able to take the well-deserved lead when defender Leo Nash powerfully headed home a corner kick, taken by none other than Paul Dailly. The visitors dominated the remainder of the first half and came close to adding to their lead on chances by Jesse Fetterley, Ryan Glanville, Paul Dailly, and Kevin Crouch, but goalkeeper Erman Ozkan stood tall and pulled off some amazing saves to keep the score respectable till the halftime whistle. Early in the second half, the former Rovers knotted the score when newly-signed Avneet Shergill cleverly back-healed the ball to Gagan Josan who proceeded to beat 3 West Van defenders before cutting into the middle of the box and slamming an unstoppable shot into the back of the net for the equalizer. CCBRT United continued to press in search of what would have been the winning goal, but chances by Milad Rahmati, Gagan Josan, Avneet Shergill, and Joel Malouf were either brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Marco Durante or barely missed the target. However, very late in the match, it was West Van FC that came close to scoring what would have been the winning goal, but Mike Winter’s free header from the edge of the goal area sailed inches over the cross-bar. For West Van FC, goalkeeper Marco Durante turned in an excellent performance, while defenders Trevor Short, Leo Nash, Bruno Teixiera, and Max Baessato were rock-solid. Forwards Ryan Glanville and Kevin Crouch also deserved special mention for their superb efforts—particularly during the first half. For CCBRT United, goalkeeper Erman Ozkan, defenders Sam Gill and Derrick Bassi, midfielders Phil Lensky, Joel Malouf, and Gagan Josan—as well as forwards Avneet Shergill and Milad Rhamati performed admirably. The tie drops CCBRT United to 5th place in the Premier Division standings—with a record of 1-1-1, while West Van FC remains winless with a disappointing 0-2-1 record.

LANGLEY FC HURRICANES   -  NORVAN FC  3-1:  Also on Friday evening, at McLeod Park in Langley, the Hurricanes disposed of the visiting Norvan FC by a 3-1 margin.  The first half was a one-way affair as the home team controlled the play, mostly because of the brilliant performance by midfielder Oscar Jimenez. Midway through the first half, Langley FC took the well-deserved lead when playing-coach Steve Millar sent a penetrating ball onto the path of Steve Fronzo who quickly cut it back to Oscar Jimenez who proceeded to drive a long-range, unstoppable shot into the Norvan net. The Hurricanes continued to press and had several other goalscoring opportunities but efforts by Sujinda Dangvan, Steve Fronzo, and Daniel Badesha were brilliantly saved by Norvan’s goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino. Late in the first half, Langley FC doubled its lead when Niko Marcina sent Oscar Jimenez down the right flank with a clever through ball. Jimenez made a brilliant, diagonal run before delivering a low, hard cross onto the path of Harpreet Khakh who had no difficulty whatsoever in finishing the play from close range. The second half told a totally different story as the Norvan lads came out of the starting gate with fire in their bellies and took over the reins of the match. However, chances by Sebastian Crema, Blake Burgon, and Martin Nash went awry. Finally, midway through the second half, Norvan FC was able to narrow the margin when a well-taken free kick by former Whitecaps’ captain Martin Nash found a wide-open Graeme Tingey in the middle of the box. Tingey’s subsequent header sailed into the back of the net, thus reducing Langley’s lead to one goal. At this point, Langley FC inserted BJ Rockson and Pavi Dhillon into the line-up and their presence paid immediate dividends as they used their pace and work-ethic to full advantage. In fact, with about 10 minutes remaining in the contest, BJ Rockson played a brilliant through ball across the field to a streaking Pavi Dhillon who, without a moment’s hesitation, proceeded to hit a full-volley from well outside the penalty area into the back of the Norvan net. Very late in the game, the Hurricanes almost added their fourth goal when BJ Rockson nutmegged a Norvan defender at the top of the box, only to have his subsequent shot well-saved by Giancarlo Martino. Needless to say, Langley’s Oscar Jimenez was the man of the match as he controlled the middle of the park with poise, grit, and skill. Young veteran midfielder Niko Marcina also played very well for the home team, while defensively Steve Millar, Danny Badesha, Gurj Sandhu, and Jesse Dhami were rock-solid. Despite the loss, Norvan FC’s defensive quartet—composed of Tony Seddon, Nick Seddon, Graeme Tingey, and Kyle Bowman—played remarkably well. The hard-earned victory improves the Hurricanes’ record to 2-1-0, good for a first place tie in the Premier Division standings, while Norvan FC now sits in 5th place, with 4 points from 3 games.

EDC FC BURNABY  -  ICST PEGASUS  1-0:  The third Friday evening game was played at Burnaby Lake West and featured two of the strongest teams in the VMSL: the hosting EDC FC Burnaby and the visiting ICST Pegasus. Despite the narrow 1-0 scoreline, the Chileans fully deserved the victory as they controlled the majority of the play and created numerous goal-scoring opportunities. Very early in the game, Burnaby’s Habil Otieno’s header—off a cross by Ylya Malek—narrowly missed the target. Soon thereafter, it was Malek’s turn to miss the net, after having been set up by Rizal Ganief. At the other end of the pitch, Adam Costley, Paul Bahia, and Ryan Powell also missed the net with their headers—all of them on crosses by Diaz Kambere. Late in the first half, EDC Burnaby took the lead when the VMSL’s top goalscorer—Rizal Ganief—finished off an excellent cross by Habil Otieno into what proved to be the winning goal. It should be mentioned that Otieno was originally set up by Eric Ray as he flicked a well-taken goal-kick by Michael Newton in Otieno’s direction. The second half was even more one-sided as the home team exerted a lot of pressure on the Pegasus defence, without being able to capitalize. In fact, efforts by Rizal Genief, Chris Kyd, Noah Acosta, Brian Dottin, and Admir Salihovic all went wide of the Pegasus net. The entire Burnaby team played very well, but special mention should be made of central defender Narcisse Tchoumi who turned in a monster-like performance as he held the vaunted Pegasus forwards at bay. Also, forwards Rizal Ganief and Eric Ray were dangerous throughout the entire match, while midfielders Chris Kyd, Ricardo Alvarado, and Habil Otieno also performed admirably. Despite the disappointing loss, Pegasus’ second half substitutes Robbie Tice and Brendan Campbell worked very hard and played quite well in their wide-midfield roles. The important victory improves EDC’s record to 2-1-0, good for a first place tie with Columbus FC and Langley FC. On the other hand, ICST Pegasus slips to 5th place, with 4 points from 3 games.

COLUMBUS FC  -  CROATIA  SC  2-0:    On Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, Columbus FC remained tied for first place as a result of a 2-0 victory over Croatia SC in what could be described as the ‘Adriatic’ derby.  The visiting Croatians got off to a great start, dominated the first part of the game, and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. However, some excellent goalkeeping on the part of Columbus’ Thomas Lindley—on shots by Johnny Sulentic and Eddie Tsen—kept the game scoreless until late in the first half. At this point, Columbus opened the scoring when Cory Martinello’s shot bounced off a Croatian defender onto the path of Devon Smith who made no mistake in finding the back of the net from close range. Soon thereafter, Columbus almost doubled its lead when a Blair Robertson cross was headed towards the Croatian goal by Cory Martinello only to have the ball bounce off the cross-bar. To add insult to injury, Kazanori Kikuchi picked up the rebound but fired the ball wide of the net. Early in the second half, Croatia SC came very close to knotting the score when Johnny Sulentic and Matteo Serka combined to set up Eddie Tsen at the edge of the penalty area. Unfortunately for Tsen—and the rest of the Croatia clan—his subsequent shot was saved by Thomas Lindley. As luck would have it, Columbus FC doubled its lead soon thereafter when Devon Smith raced down the left flank and found a wide open Steve DeBlasio with a picture-perfect cross. DeBlasio proceeded to finish off the play with an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net. Midfielder Devon Smith turned in a superlative performance for Columbus FC, while goalkeeper Thomas Lindley kept the ‘Italians’ in the game with some excellent saves, particularly early in the contest. It should also be mentioned that Lindley has yet to concede a goal during the early part of this season as he recorded his third straight clean-sheet. For Croatia SC, veteran Johnny Sulentic and young Eddie Tsen turned in excellent performances in the midfield as they worked tirelessly against the heavily-favoured home team. The victory improves Columbus’ record to 2-1-0, good for a first-place tie with EDC Burnaby and Langley FC, while Croatia SC remains pointless at the bottom of the table with a dismal 0-0-3 record.

INTER FC  -  METRO-FORD WOLVES  1-0:  Also on Saturday, at Coquitlam Town Centre, two struggling teams—the visiting Inter FC and the hosting Metro-Ford Wolves—faced off in what could be called a premature ‘relegation-avoidance’ match. After 90 minutes of play, the visiting ‘Italians’ walked away with an all-important 1-0 victory.  The young Metro-Ford squad got off to a bright start and dominated most of the first half against the much more experienced visitors. However, some excellent goalkeeping on the part of Inter’s Karm Shergill prevented Metro-Ford from taking the lead. Late in the first half, Inter took the lead against the run of play when veteran Andrew Corazza clinically finished off a clever pass from Cristian Tropeano with a typical ‘Corazza’ fashion for what proved to be the match’s lone goal. Early in the second half, the Wolves almost knotted the score when a shot by Domenic Delli Santi bounced off the arm of defender Marco Visintin, thus resulting in a penalty kick being awarded. Young Adam Jones stepped up to the plate but had his shot brilliantly saved by Karm Shergill, thus keeping the score at 1-0 till the final whistle. Inter FC came close to doubling the score late in the game, once again on a shot by Andrew Corazza. On this occasion, Corazza’s long-range ‘wonder-strike’ rocketed off the bottom of the cross-bar, bounced off the goal-line and out of danger. Defensively, Marco Visintin and Matt Allard played extremely well for the winning team, as they helped goalkeeper Karm Shergill gather his first clean-sheet of the season. Midfielder Alex Marrello worked tirelessly as he dictated the pace of the match with his incredible work ethic. For Metro-Ford, defenders Matthew Besuschko and Anthony DiNicolo turned in excellent performances, while goalkeeper Mario Gerges, attacking midfielder Adam Jones, and forward Domenic Delli Santi also played remarkably well, albeit in a losing cause. The hard-earned victory improves Inter’s record to 1-0-2, while the Metro-Ford Wolves are in penultimate place, with only 1 point out of  3 games.

SURREY UNITED FIREIGHTERS  -  WESTSIDE FC  1-0:   The lone Sunday game was played at Hillcrest Park in Vancouver between the newly-promoted Westside FC and the defending Provincial Cup champions, Surrey United Firefighters. At the end of a hard-fought 90 minutes of action, the visiting Firemen went home with all 3 points after having beaten the hosting Westsiders by a narrow 1-0 margin. The first half was rather uneventful as both teams displayed a great deal of caution. The only clear-cut goalscoring chance in the first half occurred early in the match when Surrey United’s Vinnie Stewart—after having received a clever pass from Liam Miller—had his shot cleared by Westside’s defender Andy Peat. The second half was a much more spirited affair as both teams threw caution to the wind in search of the all-important 3 points. At about the 50th minute mark, Surrey’s Liam Miller was once again stymied by Rowan Anders as the goalkeeper pulled off a sensational save on a close-range shot. Shortly thereafter, the Firefighters were rewarded for their constant pressure with Liam Miller once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Miller received an impeccable pass from Ravi Jammu, beat a Westside defender at the edge of the penalty area, and finished off the play with a wicked drive into the top corner of the net, giving Rowan Anders no chance whatsoever. The Westsiders responded positively and started exerting some pressure of their own and, in so doing, created a few excellent goalscoring opportunities. At about the 75th minute mark, Westside’s Josh Miles made a determined run towards the Surrey United goal, but his final shot was spectacularly saved by goalkeeper Andrew Fink. Reece Branion picked up the rebound and deposited the ball into the back of the net but the goal was annulled since Branion was deemed to be in an offside position. Then, at the 80th minute mark, Westside FC once again came close to knotting the score on a sensational bicycle kick by Mike Bureee However, goalkeeper Andrew Fink once again rose to the occasion and pulled off a miraculous save, thus preserving his team’s narrow lead till the final whistle. Needless to say, Andrew Fink deserves special mention for his wonderful performance as he fully earned the clean-sheet. Also, Surrey United’s midfielders Vinnie Stewart and Steve Kindel played remarkably well, while defenders Scott McEachern and Stefan Leslie also performed admirably. For Westside FC, midfielder Andre` Herath performed extremely well as he played a key part in his team’s strong push to earn the equalizing goal. Needless to say, however, goalkeeper Rowan Anders was Westside’s top player as he made numerous outstanding saves throughout the contest. The victory—Surrey United’s first of the season—elevates the Provincial Cup champions to 4th place in the standings, with a 1-2-0 record while Westside FC slips to 5th place, with 4 points from 3 games.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: EDC FC BURNABY for its impressive performance in its 1-0 victory over the very powerful ICST Pegasus.  Led by Narcisse Tchoumi’s amazing defensive performance, as well as the goalscoring prowess of Rizal Ganief, the home team fully deserved the 3 points. The victory keeps EDC Burnaby tied for first place in the Premier Division standings—with Columbus FC and the Langley Hurricanes. Singh.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:  EDC Burnaby’s defender NARCISSE TCHOUMI and Langley FC Hurricanes’ midfielder OSCAR JIMENEZ for their outstanding performances in their teams’ important victories.  Tchoumi was able to keep the vaunted Pegasus attackers at bay throughout the contest with his physical and gritty effort, while Jimenez drove the Norvan team to distraction with his speed and enormous skill. For their amazing performances this past weekend, NARCISSE TCHOUMI and OSCAR JIMENEZ will each receive a prize of a pizza for two, complime

 

2013-09-16

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 2

Columbus FC and ICST Pegasus registered a couple of important—and somewhat emphatic—victories this past weekend as they disposed of West Van FC and CCBRT United by identical 3-0 scorelines. As a result, both winning teams climbed into first place in the standings, albeit tied with 4 other teams! At the bottom of the table, Croatia SC and Inter FC remained pointless as they each dropped their second consecutive games, to Langley FC and EdC Burnaby respectively.

LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  -  CROATIA SC  3-2:  On Friday evening, at South Memorial Park in Vancouver, the visiting Langley FC Hurricanes edged the luckless Croatia SC by a 3-2 margin after a hard-fought 90 minutes of non-stop action. Langley FC almost took the lead early in the game when Niko Marcina found a wide-open Oscar Jimenez at the edge of the penalty area with a picture-perfect pass. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, Jimenez’ subsequent, long-range shot bounced off the crossbar and out of danger. Soon thereafter—at about the 15th minute mark—Croatia SC took the lead when a patented Johnny Sulentic free-kick found Matteo Serka inside the penalty area. Serka rose above all the Langley defenders and clinically headed the ball home for the go-ahead goal. The Hurricanes responded positively and came close to knotting the score a few minutes later when Sujinda Dangvan’s header—on a cross from Gary Badesha—sailed just wide of the Croatia net. Finally—after some hard work and much patience—Langley FC was able to tie things up early in the second half when Oscar Jimenez raced down the left flank, cut in on goal, beat a couple of Croatian defenders and unleashed an unstoppable shot from outside the penalty area. Soon thereafter, the Hurricanes took the lead when newly-signed BJ Rockson finished off a brilliant individual effort by neatly tucking the ball into the bottom corner of the Croatia net. To their credit, the Croatians bounced back tenaciously and almost tied things up at the 65th minute mark when Kresimir Ukalovic’s shot—after a clever passing play involving Johnny Sulentic and Daniel Rogic—bounced off the inside of the post and into the hands of the Langley goalkeeper. A few minutes later, Johnny Sulentic’s impeccable corner kick found David Zaharija at the top of the 18-yard box. Zaharija proceeded to volley the ball towards the back post where Kresimir Ukalovic was able to slot it home from close range. However, the Langley Hurricanes were able to secure all 3 points as they scored the winning goal late in the match when Oscar Jimenez repeated his previous effort by blasting the ball into the Croatia net from long range. Langley’s Oscar Jimenez not only scored two brilliant goals, but he was also a constant threat to the Croatian backline and deserves special mention for his amazing performance. For the losing Croatia SC, Johnny Sulentic was his usual self as he dictated the pace of the match from his central midfield position. Young striker Matteo Serka also deserves special mention as he turned in a commendable performance, albeit in a losing effort.  The victory places Langley FC in a first-place tie with 5 other teams, while Croatia SC remains pointless at the bottom of the table.

COLUMBUS FC  -  WEST VAN FC  3-0:  Also on Friday evening, at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, the visiting Columbus FC defeated the hosting West Van FC by a rather elaborate 3-0 margin. The ‘Italians’ took control of the match from the opening whistle and dominated virtually the entire 90 minutes of play. Columbus FC took the lead at about the 25th minute mark when Steve DeBlasio unleashed a perfectly-placed free-kick—from well outside the penalty area—into the back of the net. The free-kick was awarded when Columbus’ forward Kazanori Kikuchi was fouled. Soon thereafter, the very dangerous Kikuchi was once again fouled by a West Van defender, this time inside the penalty area, resulting in a penalty kick being awarded Columbus FC. Once again, Steve DeBlasio stepped up to the plate and calmly deposited the ball into the West Van net for the insurance marker. The former Trollers replied tenaciously and created a few chances of their own, but efforts by Cathal O’Connor, Alan McIndoe, and Jesse Fetterley barely missed the target. Midway through the second half, Columbus FC put the home team out of its misery by scoring the clinching goal in an amazing fashion as Steve DeBlasio completed his hat-trick with a shot from his own side of the centre-line, a shot that totally caught goalkeeper Garth Lagasse off guard. Needless to say, forwards Steve DeBlasio and Kazanori Kikuchi were going concerns throughout the contest as they led Columbus FC to the very important victory. Young Cory Martinello also turned in an outstanding performance in his midfield role, while defenders Blair Robertson, Devon Greenside, Stefano Bortolussi, and Luca Bellisomo limited West Van’s goascoring opportunities to a minimum, thus making life relative easy for goalkeeper Giordano DiPalma as he recorded his first clean sheet of the season. For West Van FC, midfielder Alan McIndoe worked tirelessly throughout the contest, while defender Max Baessato was his usual rock-solid self. The victory improves Columbus’ record to 1-1-0, good for a first-place tie, while West Van FC drops to 9th place in the standings, with a 0-1-1 record.

ICST PEGASUS  -  CCBRT UNITED  3-0:  The third Friday evening game was played at Newton Athletic Park between the hosting ICST Pegasus and the visiting CCBRT United. A large crowd was in attendance, probably due to the fact the Newton Athletic Park is the home field for both teams. Despite the rather emphatic scoreline, the match was very evenly played with the visitors having their fair share of the play and scoring chances.  Early in the match, Pegasus’ Gurjit Dhaliwal came close to scoring on a couple of occasions but had his initial header brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Erman Ozkan and barely missed the net on his second attempt. At the other end of the pitch, Gagan Josan almost gave CCBRT United the lead when he was sent on a breakaway by Bobby Jhutty’s great through ball. However, Pegasus’ goalkeeper Andy Singh stood tall and pulled off an amazing save to keep the match scoreless. Shortly thereafter—at about the 25th minute mark—ICST Pegasus took the lead when Omari Aldridge streaked down the right wing before crossing the ball onto the path of Brendan Campbell who had no difficulty in scoring from close range. Ten minutes later, ICST Pegasus added a second goal when Diaz Kambere unleashed a wicked, curling free-kick—from well outside the 18-yard box—into the top corner of the CCBRT net. Early in the second half, CCBRT United came close the narrowing the margin when Gagan Josan was fouled inside the penalty area. However, on the ensuing penalty kick, goalkeeper Andy Singh pulled off a miraculous save on Milad Rahmati’s shot to keep the score at 2-0 in Pegasus’ favour. The visitors kept pressing and came close to scoring on several other occasions, but efforts by Phil Lensky, Milad Rahmati, and Gagan Josan were either saved by Andy Singh, or barely missed the target. As luck would have it, however, it was ICST Pegasus that managed to score the last goal of the match when Omari Aldridge sent 18-year old Otis Sandhu towards the CCBRT net with an excellent pass. Sandhu proceeded to beat a couple of defenders before curling the ball into the net with a magnificent left-foot shot from well outside the penalty area. It should be mentioned that it was Otis Sandhu’s first goal in the VMSL! The entire Pegasus team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of goalkeeper Andy Singh for his superlative performance. Also, midfielders Adam Costley, Diaz Kambere, and Paul Bahia guided and inspired their young teammates. For the losing team, midfielders Gagan Josan and Sidd Athchkin worked tirelessly during the entire match, while defenders Deep Toor and Sam Gill turned in rock-solid performances. The victory elevates ICST Pegasus to a first place tie with 5 other teams—with a 1-1-0 record, while CCBRT United drops to 7th place with 3 points from 2 matches.

SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  -  METRO-FORD WOLVES  1-1:  On Saturday, at Cloverdale Athletic Park in Surrey, the defending Provincial Cup champions—Surrey United—had to settle for a disappointing 1-1 tie against the visiting Metro-Ford Wolves.  The match was a rather lacklustre and evenly-played affair with neither team displaying an enormous desire to gain all 3 points. The Firefighters had the best goalscoring opportunity in the early going when Liam Miller received a great pass from Kyle Sohi, but his subsequent shot was well-saved by Metro-Ford’s goalkeeper Mat Bird. At this point the Wolves started to apply a lot of pressure on the Surrey United defence and—led by Alfredo Valente and Sang Hwang—created numerous scoring opportunities. Midway through the first half, the Wolves were able to gain the all-important lead when Vito Iacobellis received a great pass from Sang Hwang and—without a moment’s hesitation—placed the ball into the back of the Surrey United net. In the second half, the Firefighters came to life and took over the reins of the match, mostly due to the insertion of forward Reece Miles who worked tirelessly in an effort to score the equalizer. Miles came close to achieving his goal at the 70th minute mark when he received an excellent cross from Tommy Lowndes but watched agonizingly as his excellent header was brilliantly saved by Mat Bird. At the 75th minute mark, the Firefighters finally equalized when Tommy Lowndes—after having received a great ball from veteran Steven Kindel—blasted a long-range shot into the back of the Metro-Ford net, past the outstretched hands of goalkeeper Mathew Bird. Very late in the game, Surrey United almost claimed all 3 points when Vince Stewart set up Ryan Reynolds, whose subsequent shot sailed over the net. For Surrey United, second-half substitute Reece Miles contributed enormously, while midfielders Vinnie Stewart and Kyle Sohi worked tirelessly during the entire match. For Metro-Ford, central defenders Matt Besuschko and Anthony DiNicolo turned in rock-solid performances while Alfredo Valente and Sang Hwang played very well in their midfield/forward roles. The Firefighters’ record is now 0-2-0, good for 2 points and 8th place, while the Wolves are in 9th place with a 0-1-1 record.

NORVAN FC  -  WESTSIDE FC  0-0:  Also on Saturday, at Confederation Park in North Vancouver, Norvan FC and Westside FC settled for a scoreless draw, and thus remained unbeaten and tied for first place in the Premier Division standings! The home team carried the majority of the play in the early going and came close to opening the scoring on a couple of occasions. At about the 8th minute mark, a well-taken corner kick by Norvan’s Sebastian Crema was fumbled by goalkeeper Rowan Anders, but cleared off the line by Westside’s Jacob Quail. A few minutes later, Sebastian Crema’s shot from the edge of the penalty area hit the crossbar and sailed out of danger. Then, at the 25th minute mark, Norvan again came close to taking the lead when Mike Carroll got behind the Westside defence, raced in on goal only to have goalkeeper Rowan Anders brilliantly save his chip shot. At this point, the Westsiders seemed to get their bearings and started attacking and creating chances of their own. At the 35th minute mark, Andre` Clerc—after having beaten a few Norvan defenders—took a shot from well inside the 18-yard box, a shot that barely missed the net. Near the end of the first half, Westside’s Reece Branion was fouled outside the penalty area by goalkeeper Giancarlo Martino. The referee did think that the offence was a denial of an obvious goalscoring opportunity and therefore only cautioned Martino for the infranction. Early in the second half, Norvan’s Blake Burgon made a great run down the middle of the park but was unable to finish the play. Late in the game both teams exchanged great goalscoring opportunities, but Norvan’s Mike Carroll and Westside’s Jamie Davies both missed the net on their efforts. As mentioned earlier, both teams remain unbeaten and tied at the top of the table.

EdC BURNABY  -  INTER FC  5-1:   The third Saturday game was played at Trillium Park in Vancouver between the hosting Inter FC and the visiting EdC Burnaby. As the 5-1 score would indicate, EdC Burnaby controlled the vast majority of the play and fully deserved the elaborate margin of victory. The former Estrella de Chile almost took the lead very early in the game, when Eric Ray—after having stripped the ball from an Inter player in the middle of the park—raced in on goal on a breakaway but missed the net with his final shot.  Soon thereafter—at about the 10th minute mark—Ricardo Alvarado also came close to opening the score for EdC Burnaby, but his wicked shot hit the crossbar. At the 15th minute mark, EdC Burnaby finally took the lead when Habil Otieno sent a through ball to Eric Ray who quickly back-healed it onto the path of Rizal Ganief who proceeded to race in on goal and finish off the play with an unstoppable shot from inside the goal area. To their credit, the ‘Italians’ bounced back and quickly knotted the score when Alex Marrello pounced on a loose ball at the edge of the penalty area and finished off the play with a wicked shot. After the Inter goal the game became very one-sided as EdC Burnaby exerted a lot of pressure on the home team and was able to score 4 more goals. At the 25th minute mark, Eric Ray chipped the ball over the heads of the Inter defenders onto the path of a streaking Rizal Ganief who calmly deposited it into the back of the net for what proved to be the winning goal. Then, near the end of the first half, Ganief finished off his hat-trick with another brilliant goal, once again set up by Eric Ray. Ganief continued his impressive performance in the second half as he added his (and his team’s) fourth goal by heading home a fine cross from Gus Ramirez at about the 55th minute mark. At the 70th minute mark, Admir Salihovic and Chris Kyd combined to set up none other than Rizal Ganief who had no difficulty whatsoever in scoring his 5th goal of the match from close range. The final score could have been even more emphatic but EdC Burnaby missed several other glorious goalscoring opportunities, particularly on efforts by Ricardo Alvarado, Habil Otieno, Chris Kyd, Eric Ray, Admir Salihovic, and Brian Dottin, efforts that all went awry. The entire Chilean team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of forward Rizal Ganief and midfielders Eric Ray, Chris Kyd, and Ricardo Alvarado for their superlative performances. Despite the embarrassing loss, Inter’s midfielder Alex Marrello played very well as he worked extremely hard throughout the contest. The victory improves EdC Burnaby’s record to 1-1-0, good for first place. On the other hand, Inter FC remains pointless at the bottom of the table.

TEAMS OF THE WEEK: COLUMBUS FC and ICST PEGASUS for their impressive 3-0 victories over West Van FC and CCBRT United respectively. Led by the goalscoring prowess of Steve DeBlasio, Columbus FC fully deserved its elaborate margin of victory over the highly-rated West Van team. On the other hand ICST Pegasus had to work extremely hard to defeat the very talented CCBRT United and managed to do so, mostly due to some brilliant goalkeeping on the part of Andy Singh.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  EdC Burnaby’s forward RIZAL GANIEF for his unbelievable 5-goal performance in his team’s 5-1 victory over Inter FC. All five of Ganief’s goals were things of beauty as he displayed an incredible ability to slot the ball into the net. For his amazing performance this past weekend, RIZAL GANIEF will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-10-03.

 

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2013-09-10

PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 1

All six Premier Cup games were played at Newton Athletic on Saturday as the 2013-14 VMSL season kicked off with a bang. Three of the 6 matches ended in ties while CCBRT United, Westside FC, and Norvan FC got off to flying starts with their impressive victories over Inter FC, Metro-Ford Wolves, and Croatia SC respectively.

EDC BURNABY - SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS  1-1:  Two very talented teams, the former Estrella de Chile—now known as EdC Burnaby—and Surrey United, settled for a 1-1 tie after a very hard-fought and evenly-played 90 minutes of non-stop action. EdC Burnaby had a couple of glorious opportunities to open the scoring early in the match, but Admir Salihovic hit the cross-bar with his wicked, long-range shot, while Ylya Malek missed the net from close range, after having been set up by Habil Otieno. As luck would have it, midway through the first half, Surrey United took the lead when Tom Lowndes scored directly from a corner-kick! Just before the halftime whistle, Rizal Ganief tied things up as he scored Burnaby’s lone goal on a fine individual effort. Early in the second half, the Chileans created a few excellent goalscoring opportunities, but efforts by Brian Dottin, Rizal Ganief, and Chris Kyd were either saved by goalkeeper Andrew Fink or barely missed the target. At the other end of the pitch, at about the 75th minute mark, Ryan Reynolds took advantage of a goalmouth scramble but had his shot cleared off the line by Burnaby’s Narcisse Tchoumi. Forward Rizal Ganief, midfielders Habil Otieno and Chris Kyd, as well as defenders Narcisse Tchoumi and Noah Acosta played extremely well for EdC Burnaby. For Surrey United, defenders Steve Kindel, Ravi Jammu, Matt Rosenlund, and Stefan Leslie kept the vaunted Chilean attackers at bay for most of the match.

WESTSIDE FC  - METRO-FORD WOLVES  2-0:  The newly-promoted Westside FC pulled off what might be considered an upset by defeating the Metro-Ford Wolves by a 2-0 margin. The Westsiders took the lead midway through the first half when a free-kick by Jay Kent-Hume was saved by Metro-Ford’s goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato. However, Brian Reems pounced on the rebound and deposited the ball into the back of the net from close range. The young Wolves bounced back tenaciously and created a few chances of their own but were unable to put the all-important finishing touch on any of them. In particular, a brilliantly-taken free kick by Adam Jones seemed destined for the back of the net, but bounced off the cross-bar and out of danger late in the first half. The Wolves continued to press in search of the equalizer during the second half but once again were unable to find the back of the Westside net, mostly due to some outstanding goalkeeping on the part of Westside’s Simon Eaddy. In particular, efforts by Alfredo Valente, Luigi Pantusa, and Sang Hwang were miraculously saved by Eaddy. Late in the game, Westside FC was awarded a penalty kick when Paddy Smyth’s shot bounced off the post and struck the arm of a Metro-Ford defender. Hansol Kim stepped up to the plate but his well-taken penalty kick was brilliantly saved by Dillan Fogliato. Just before the final whistle, Westside FC was able to put the last nail in Metro-Ford’s coffin when Reece Branion chipped a clever shot from just inside the penalty area over Fogliato’s outstretched hands. The play started when Paddy Smyth’s cross found Jamie Davies at the top of the box. Davies controlled the ball with composure and laid a brilliant pass onto the path of Reece Branion who then proceeded to score the insurance marker. Both goalkeepers—Westside’s veteran Simon Eaddy and Metro-Ford’s young Dillan Fogliato—played  extremely well during the entire contest, while Westside’s midfielder Josh Miles also turned in an impressive performance in a winning cause.

NORVAN FC  -  CROATIA SC  3-1:   Norvan FC defeated Croatia SC by a 3-1 scoreline and, as the score indicates, fully earned the margin of victory. The first part of the contest was evenly played, but midway through the first half the North Shore team took over the reins of the match. The first Norvan goal came at the 25th minute mark when Nick Seddon’s fine cross was finished off by Sebastian Crema from close range. Shortly thereafter, Blake Burgon scored what proved to be the Norvan winning goal as he capitalized on a clever through ball from Nathan Harte. Burgon raced in on goal, had his initial shot saved by goalkeeper Christian Zimmerman, but chipped the ball over the goalkeeper to lay claim to the victory. To their credit, the Croatians fought back tenaciously and narrowed the margin just before the half-time whistle when Tomislav Tomic set up Matteo Serka, who proceeded to beat a Norvan defender before blasting the ball into the back of the net from well outside the penalty area. However, early in the second half, Norvan FC scored the insurance marker when Sebastian Crema skillfully chested down a fine cross from Nick Seddon before volleying the ball into the net from close range. Norvan could easily have added a few more goals to its lead, but efforts by Blake Burgon, Taku Bradshaw, and Kyle Guay all went awry. Late in the match, the Croatians had an opportunity to narrow the margin, but Matteo Serka’s header—on a cross from Kresimir Ukalovic—sailed just over the crossbar. Needless to say, Norvan’s Sebastian Crema turned in a superlative performance as he scored two excellent goals and continuously drove the Croatian defenders to distraction with his speed and skill. Also, newly-signed Taku Bradshaw and Kyle Bowman performed remarkably well. Despite the loss, Croatia’s midfielder David Zaharija and forward Matteo Serka played very well throughout the entire match.

CCBRT UNITED  -  INTER FC  4-1:  The heavily-favoured CCBRT United easily disposed of the newly-promoted Inter FC by defeating the ‘Italians’ by a clear-cut 4-1 scoreline. _Surprisingly, it was Inter FC that took the early lead when young veteran Brian Van Schagen took advantage of a bizarre goalmouth scramble and drove the ball home from close range. The former Rovers responded in kind and came close to tying things up shortly thereafter on a couple of occasions but efforts by Sidd Achtucin and Milad Rahmati went awry. CCBRT United tied the score at the 15th minute mark when Bobby Jhutty’s cross was flicked onto the path of Milad Rahmati by Phil Lensky. Rahmati proceeded to beat an Inter defender before slotting the ball into the back of the net. The second half was more or less a one-way affair as CCBRT United exerted a lot of pressure on the Inter defence and managed to score 3 goals to claim the victory. The go-ahead goal was scored at the 55th minute mark when Gagan Josan beat 3 Inter defenders on his way to the goal before slotting the ball into the bottom right-hand corner. Then, at the 63rd minute mark, it was Milad Rahmati’s turn to score as he converted a great pass from Gagan Josan with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area. Fifteen minutes later—at about the 78th minute mark—it was Gagan Josan’s turn to score as he finished off a 3-way passing play—also involving Bobby Jhutty and Milad Rahmati—with a blast from just outside the 18-yard box. At the other end of the pitch, Joseph Marrello and Sheldon Maistry came close to narrowing the margin, but their shots missed the target. Defensively, Joel Malouf, Deep Toor, and Brinder Kang turned in rock-solid performances for CCBRT United, while midfielders Bobby Jhutty, Sidd Achtucin, and Gagan Josan controlled the middle of the park with skill and tenacity. Needless to say, Milad Rahmati also turned in an excellent performance as he scored 2 great goals and also drove the Inter defenders to distraction with his pace and skill. For Inter FC, midfielder Alex Marrello played extremely well, albeit in a losing cause.

LANGLEY FC HURRICANES  -  WEST VAN FC  1-1:  Two of the most highly-regarded teams in the VMSL’s Premier Division—Langley FC Hurricanes and West Van FC—settled for a 1-1 tie after a hard-fought 90 minutes of action. Both teams had excellent chances to open the scoring during the first half but efforts by West Van’s Alan McIndoe, Jesse Fetterley, Desmond Tachie, and Stefan Crameri were either brilliantly saved by veteran goalkeeper Drew Smiley or missed the net. At the other end of the pitch, the former Delta Hurricanes also came close to taking the lead but newly-signed Niko Marcina, Sujinda Jin, and Amar Mander were unable to convert golden opportunities. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first with both teams trying hard to take the all-important lead. The former Trollers were finally able to score the opening goal at the 65th minute mark when Cathal O’Connor and Leo Nash combined to set up Max Baessatto who made no mistake in slotting the ball into the back of the net from close range. The Hurricanes battled back tenaciously in search of the equalizer and eventually succeeded when—near the end of the match—Niko Marcina sent Gary Badesha towards the West Van goal with an exquisite pass. Badesha proceeded to beat a couple of defenders before slotting the ball into the bottom corner of the net for the equalizer. For West Van FC, defenders Max Baessatto, Trevor Short, and Leo Nash were rock-solid all game long, while midfielders Jesse Fetterley, Desmond Tachie, and Stefan Crameri also turned in excellent performances. For Langley FC, midfielder Niko Marcina and goalkeeper Drew Smiley deserve special mention for their superlative performances.

COLUMBUS FC  -  ICST PEGASUS  0-0:   Two of the VMSL’s most talented teams—Columbus FC and ICST Pegasus—settled for a scoreless draw after a rather boring—and disappointing—90 minutes of play. The only real scoring chance in the first half occurred at about the 30th minute mark when Pegasus’ Diaz Kambere’s shot from outside the penalty area barely missed the target. In the second half, Columbus FC had a couple of goalscoring opportunities but Pegasus’ goalkeeper—Andy Singh—rose to the occasion and made two fine saves, thus denying Luca Bellisomo and Kazanori Kikuchi their chances to give their team the lead. The game opened up a bit in the late stages with ICST Pegasus trying hard to gain all 3 points. However, efforts by Omari Aldridge and Ryan Powell went awry. Very late in the game, Columbus’ defender Jonathan Poli was sent off the field of play for having committed a serious foul play infraction. Young Cory Martinello had a strong game in the Columbus midfield, while the backline of Blair Robertson, Jonathan Poli, Luca Bellisomo, and Stefano Pannu made life rather easy for goalkeeper Thomas Lindley as he recorded his first shutout of the season. For ICST Pegasus, defenders David Samra and Jag Sajjan—as well as midfielder Diaz Kambere—played extremely well during the entire match, while Andy Singh made a couple of excellent late save to fully earn his clean sheet.

TEAM OF THE WEEK: CCBRT UNITED for its emphatic 4-1 victory over the hard-working Inter FC. Led by the goalscoring prowess of Milad Rahmati and Gagan Josan, as well as some rock-solid defending on the part of Joel Malouf, Deep Toor, and Brinder Kang, the former Rovers fully deserved the elaborate margin of victory.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:  Westside FC’s veteran goalkeeper SIMON EADDY for his remarkable performance in his team’s 2-0 victory over the Coquitlam Metro-Ford Wolves. Midway through the second half—with Westside leading by a narrow 1-0 margin—Eaddy pulled off several outstanding saves in rapid succession to keep his team in the lead! For his magnificent performance this past weekend, SIMON EADDY will receive a prize of a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2013-09-26.