PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 2
No major upsets took place this past weekend, as West Van FC and ICST Pegasus won their second consecutive games and thus climbed into first place in the standings. At the bottom of the table, things are getting very crowded as 5 teams share last place with only 1 point each.
WEST VAN FC - CROATIA SC 3-1: On Friday evening, at South Memorial Park in Vancouver, West Van FC won its second game in a row by defeating the defending Provincial Cup champions—Croatia SC—by a clear-cut 3-1 margin after a very hard-fought and physical 90 minutes of non-stop action. After controlling the play in the initial stages of the match, West Van FC finally took the lead at the 25th minute mark when Cathal O’Connor finished off an excellent cross from Jacob Lensky in clinical fashion. It should be mentioned that Lensky was initially sent down the right flank by Colin Phillips. Ten minutes later, West Van FC scored what proved to be the winning goal when Desmond Tachie’s perfectly executed low cross was finished off by Dave O’Connor as he back-heeled the ball into the back of the net from close range. In their usual fashion, the Croatians refused to give up and narrowed the margin at the 40th minute mark when Ryan Zaharija sent Andre` Perez flying towards the West Van goal on a breakaway. Perez proceeded to outpace a number of West Van defenders before slotting a low shot into the back of the net. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first as West Van FC continued to press while the Croatians relied mostly on counter-attacks in an effort to get back into the match. At the 65th minute mark, West Van FC clinched the victory when defender Max Baessato headed home Cathal O’Connor’s corner kick from close range. West Van’s midfielders Jacob Lensky and Cathal O’Connor controlled the middle of the park with skill and poise during the entire match, while forwards Dave O’Connor, Desmond Tachie, and Jesse Fetterley were very dangerous as they created numerous goalscoring chances. Special mention should also be made of goalkeeper Adam Guthridge as he turned in a solid performance in his Premier Division debut. For Croatia SC, central midfielder Goran Vitic turned in a brilliant performance as he created several goalscoring opportunities for his teammates, while midfielder David Malmura and forward Johnny Sulentic also performed admirably, albeit in a losing cause. As a result of the victory, West Van FC climbs into a first-place tie with ICST Pegasus with a perfect 2-0-0 record. On the other hand, Croatia SC slips into a 5-team last place tie, with only one point from 2 matches.
CCBRT UNITED - COLUMBUS FC 1-1: Also on Friday evening, at Newton Athletic Park, CCBRT United bounced back from last weekend’s embarrassing loss to the Metro-Ford Wolves by holding the powerful Columbus FC to a 1-1 tie. Despite the fact that the visitors created numerous goalscoring chances during the first 45 minutes of play, the game remained scoreless until the halftime whistle. In particular—midway through the first half—Kazunori Kikuchi tested the CCBRT United goalkeeper—Chris Beck—with a thundering long-range shot, but Beck rose to the occasion and pulled off a sensational save. Shortly thereafter, Kikuchi was once again thwarted by Beck this time when Cory Martinello’s cross was headed towards the CCBRT United net by Kikuchi. At the other end of the pitch, CCBRT United also came close to scoring the opening goal when Yassin Essa blasted a long-range shot/cross towards the Columbus net. However, his speculative shot bounced off the crossbar and out of danger. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first, except for the fact that both teams were able to score a goal apiece! CCBRT United took the lead at about the 65th minute mark when Yassin Essa intercepted a rare errant pass by Luca Bellisomo and raced in on goal on a breakaway before slotting the ball into the back of the net for the game’s opening goal. Much to Columbus’ chagrin, CCBRT United continued pressing and came close to doubling its lead on a couple of occasions. However, goalkeeper Giordan DiPalma stood tall and pulled off a couple of great saves on shots by Taku Bradshaw. However, it was Columbus FC that was able to knot the score—at about the 75th minute mark—when Devon Smith picked up a loose ball at the edge of the penalty area and quickly unleashed a wicked shot toward the CCBRT United goal, giving goalkeeper Chris Beck no chance whatsoever. The ‘Italians’ continued to press but some rock-solid defending on the part of CCBRT United’s Derrick Bassi, Kyle Knees, Danny Chahal, and Avin Sidhu kept the score at 1-1 till the final whistle. Midfielders Jai Dhillon and Ranja Basi—both 17-year old youth call-ups—also played extremely well for CCBRT United, while goalkeeper Chris Beck and forward Yassin Essa were instrumental in gaining their team the draw. For Columbus FC, midfielders Gordon Chin and Cory Martinello played remarkably well throughout the contest, while central defender Jonathan Poli was his usual rock-solid self. The result helps neither team, as Columbus FC now has a 0-2-0 record, while CCBRT United remains in last place, with only 1 point out of two matches.
ICST PEGASUS – METRO-FORD WOLVES 2-0: On Saturday, at Town Centre Park in Coquitlam, ICST Pegasus won its second consecutive match, this time against the hosting Metro-Ford Wolves, by a clear-cut 2-0 margin. Early in the match, the Wolves had a great goalscoring opportunity to open the scoring when Carlo Basso intercepted a poor clearance and raced in on goal on a semi-breakaway. However, some excellent goalkeeping on the part of Pegasus’ Andy Singh kept the Wolves off the scoresheet. The visitors replied in kind and also came close to scoring when CJ Jhooty beat a couple of Metro-Ford defenders before unleashing what appeared to be an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area. Unfortunately for the Pegasus clan, however, Jhooty’s low shot barely missed the target. At about the 35th minute mark, ICST Pegasus took the lead on a penalty kick after Sahil Sandhu was fouled inside the Metro-Ford penalty area by Sang Hwang. Sandhu himself stepped up to the plate and calmly deposited the ball into the back of the Wolves’ net. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first as the young Wolves controlled most of the play but were unable to create any real goalscoring chances. The more experienced ICST Pegasus, on the other hand, defended very well and counter-attacked dangerously. Midway through the second half, Pegasus’ Javid Khan found himself all alone inside the Metro-Ford penalty area and quickly fired the ball towards the net. However, goalkeeper Dillan Fogliato stood tall and pulled off a great save. Soon thereafter, Pegasus put the Wolves out of their misery when CJ Jhooty found a streaking Sahil Sandhu down the right flank. Sandhu proceeded to shoot the ball towards the Metro-Ford net where defender Anthony DiNicolo inadvertently deflected it into his own net. The visitors continued to press and came close to adding to their margin late in the match when Diaz Kambere’s wicked shot was well saved by Dillan Fogliato. The entire Pegasus team played very well throughout the contest, but special mention should be made of defenders Diaz Kambere and Brendan Campbell for their rock-solid performances, as well as forwards CJ Jhooty and Sahil Sandhu for their dangerous counter-attacks. The well-earned victory placed ICST Pegasus in a first place tie with West Van FC, with a 2-0-0 record, while the Wolves drop to the middle of the table with 3 points out of 2 games.
SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS - RICHMOND FC HIBERNIANS 5-1: On Saturday, at Minoru Park in Richmond, the powerful Surrey United Firefighters easily defeated the newly-promoted Richmond Hibernians by an elaborate 5-1 margin. The Firefighters almost took the lead early in the match when Angus Burke received a great pass from Raki Hmije and drilled a shot towards the Richmond net. Unfortunately for Burke—and the rest of the Surrey United contingent—the ball bounced off the cross-bar and out of danger. After that, the game was quite evenly played as neither team seemed willing to take any chances. However, things changed dramatically at the 25th minute mark when the Firefighters took the lead on a well-executed goal by Connor Prentice. Angus Burke initiated the play with an excellent pass to young Connor Hildebrandt who proceeded to beat a few Richmond defenders before sending an impeccable cross onto the path of Connor Prentice whose final chip shot sailed over the head of young goalkeeper Jason Roberts. The Hibernians responded positively and came close to knotting the score on a couple of occasions, but headers by Marcus Brougham and Garret Kusch sailed over the crossbar. Also, Brad Caldwell—as a result of a goal-mouth scramble—had his shot cleared off the line by Surrey United’s defender Stefan Leslie. As luck would have it—just before the halftime whistle—the Firefighters doubled their lead with Connor Hildebrandt once again involved in the play. On this occasion, the youngster displayed an enormous amount of skill at the edge of the Richmond penalty area as he beat a few defenders before cleverly chipping the ball into the back of the net, for what proved to be the winning goal. To their credit, the Hibernians once again refused to give up and battled tenaciously during the first part of the second half in an attempt to get back in the game. They were rewarded at about the 60th minute mark when a pin-point cross by left-back Alan Chivers found a wide-open Lucas Barrett inside the Surrey United penalty area. Without a moment’s hesitation, Barrett buried the ball into the back of the Firefighters’ net, thus reducing their lead to 2-1. Immediately thereafter, Surrey United re-established its 2-goal lead on a lethal counter-attack as Connor Prentice—after having received an excellent pass from David Adams—fired a wicked shot into the back of the Richmond net. The Hibernians refused to give up and once again pushed forward relentlessly but were punished a couple of more times on fatal counter-attacks. On the first occasion—at the 75th minute mark—Connor Hildebrandt beat a Richmond defender before making a brilliant pass to a wide-open Angus Burke, who had no difficulty whatsoever in finishing off the play with a shot into a wide-open net. Ten minutes later, Angus Burke repeated his previous feat, this time after having received a pass from Karn Phagura. Needless to say, young Connor Hildebrandt was a going concern for the Surrey United Firefighters as he created several goalscoring opportunities and also scored a phenomenal goal. Defensively, Stefan Leslie deserves special mention as he kept the Richmond scoring chances to a minimum with his rock-solid performance. Despite the humiliating loss, Richmond’s centre-back Mike Revell and midfielder Lucas Barrett played remarkably well. The victory improves Surrey United’s record to 1-1-0, good for third place in the standings, while the Richmond Hibernians slip to 4th place, with 3 points out of 2 matches.
INTER FC - VANCOUVER OLYMPICS 2-2: Also on Saturday, at Trillium Park in Vancouver, Inter FC and the Vancouver Olympics settled for a 2-2 tie after a hard-fought and evenly-contested 90 minutes of play. Inter FC controlled proceedings during the early stages of the match and came close to opening the scoring when Joseph Marrello’s well-placed corner-kick was headed over the cross-bar by Marco Visintin. Despite the fact that Inter FC kept pressing in search of the opening goal, it was the Olympics that scored first—at about the 12th minute mark—as Gianluca Zavarise blasted an unstoppable shot into the back of the Inter net from well outside the penalty area. Inter FC responded positively and came close to tying things up midway through the first half when Liam Miller’s shot bounced off the goalpost and out of danger. Soon thereafter, Liam Miller made amends for his previous missed opportunity when he calmly converted a great through ball from Joseph Marrello as he side-footed the ball into the bottom right corner of the Olympics’ net. Early in the second half, the Vancouver Olympics regained the lead when Saraj Bains took advantage of an Inter faux-pas, beat a couple of defenders on his way towards the ‘Italians’ goal and then proceeded to place the ball into the net, past an onrushing Inter goalkeeper, Erman Ozkan. Midway through the second half, Inter FC was able to knot the score when ‘super-sub’ Reece Miles took advantage of a goalmouth scramble and was able to find the back of the net from close range. For Inter FC, Liam Miller and Alex Marrello played remarkably well in their midfield roles, while forwards Reece Miles and Kam Amini had a major impact on the final result when they came off the bench midway through the second half. For the Olympics, goalkeeper Amraj Lally made a couple of spectacular saves in the early going, while midfielder Gianluca Zavarise was a going concern throughout the match. The result leaves both teams at the bottom of the table, each with one point from 2 games.
LANGLEY FC HURRICANES - EDC BURNABY 2-2: The last Premier Division game of the week was played on Sunday at Willoughby Park in Langley between the hosting Langley Hurricanes and the visiting EDC Burnaby. At the end of the day, the two squads had to settle for a 2-2 tie, a result that does neither team a favour! The Chileans took the lead at the 20th minute mark when Ducivan DeSouza converted a penalty kick in clinical fashion. The spot shot was awarded when Langley defender Danny Badesha fouled Tarek Yassin inside the penalty area. The play originated with Chris Kyd taking a wicked shot from the edge of the box towards the Langley net. The ball bounced off the cross-bar and onto the path of Tarek Yassin who was then fouled while trying to head it into the net. The Hurricanes bounced back tenaciously in an attempt to knot the score, but chances by Harp Khakh and Manvir Brar barely missed the net. The home team was finally able to tie things up at about the 30th minute mark when Arjan Grewal raced down the left flank before crossing the ball into the EDC Burnaby penalty area. Cam Hundal proceeded to skillfully control the ball and lay it off to Joti Thind who quickly first-timed it into the back of the net for the equalizer. Late in the first half—at about the 44th minute mark—Danny Badesha almost redeemed himself for his previous faux-pas, but his blistering shot rang off the EDC Burnaby goalpost and out of danger. Just before the halftime whistle, Langley FC took the well-deserved lead when Nick Soolsma took advantage of a Chilean defensive blunder, stripped the ball from a defender, raced in on goal all by himself, and finally deposited the ball into the back of the net for the go-ahead goal. The second half told a totally different story as EDC
Burnaby came out of the starting gates with passion and desire. In so doing, the Chileans created numerous goalscoring chances, particularly on efforts by Chris Kyd, Eric Ray, Tarek Yassin, Rizal Ganief, and Vladimir Vukovic. Unfortunately for the Chileans, all the aforementioned opportunities went awry, thus leaving Langley FC in the lead till the 80th minute mark. At this point, newly-signed and Premier Division debutant Joe Agiba picked up a rebound—from an Eric Ray shot—and quickly deposited the ball into the back of the net with an amazingly unstoppable shot. Very late in the match, Joe Agiba almost became a ‘super-hero’, but his close-range shot—after having been set up by Eric Ray—inexplicably missed the target. For EDC Burnaby, midfielders Ducivan DeSouza, Tarek Yassin, Eric Ray, and Chris Kyd played remarkably well, particularly during the second half, while goalkeeper Hugo Vasquez and defender Gus Ramirez also turned in commendable performances, particularly during the first half. For the Langley Hurricanes, Nick Soolsma and Harp Khakh were very dangerous in their attacking roles, particularly during the first half, while midfielders Manvir Brar and Amar Mander also played very well. The result leaves the Langley Hurricanes undefeated, with a 0-2-0 record, while EDC Burnaby now has one point out of 2 games.
TEAM OF THE WEEK: WEST VAN FC for its clinical 3-1 victory over the defending Provincial Cup champions—Croatia SC. Led by the superb performances of midfielders Jacob Lensky and Cathal O’Connor, West Van FC fully deserved the hard-fought victory, a result that leaves last season’s Premier Division champions undefeated and in first place!
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: ICST Pegasus’ forward SAHIL SANDHU for his brilliant performance in his team’s 2-0 victory over the Metro-Ford Wolves. Not only did Sandhu score a brilliant goal, but he also drove the Metro-Ford defenders to distraction with his pace and skill. For his excellent performance this past week-end, SAHIL SANDHU will receive a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2014-10-05.
PREMIER DIVISION – DAY 1
All six Premier Division games were played on Saturday at Cloverdale Athletic Park in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd. Most of the matches were highly contested and evenly played. The one big exception was the opening match between two of the top teams from last season’s standings: CCBRT United and the Metro-Ford Wolves. The young Wolves totally dominated the one-sided match and walked away with an unprecedented 9-2 victory.
COQUITLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES – CCBRT UNITED 9-2: The first Premier Division match of the season was played between last season’s runners-up—CCBRT United—and the third-place finishers—Metro-Ford Wolves. At the end of 90 minutes of one-sided play the young and inexperienced Wolves claimed all 3 points as a result of a rather embarrassing 9-2 victory. The Coquitlam team took the early lead—at about the 5th minute mark—when newcomer Titouan Chopin raced in on goal on a breakaway after Carlo Basso and Sang Hwang had played a clever one-two in the middle of the park. Chopin raced in on goal and calmly deposited the ball into the back of the CCBRT net. Ten minutes later, Sang Hwang became the finisher as he took advantage of a brilliant build-up by Carlo Basso and Lucas Krivak before blasting an unstoppable shot from the edge of the penalty area into the CCBRT net. Then, at about the 23rd minute mark, Carlo Basso scored his first of 3 goals as he easily tapped the ball into the CCBRT net from close range after Sang Hwang and Titouan Chopin had created havoc to the CCBRT backline with their clever passing. Ten minutes before the halftime whistle, Titouan Chopin added Metro-Ford’s fourth goal when he was set free with an exquisite through ball from Lucas Krivak. Chopin once again raced in a goal on a breakaway and once again clinically placed the ball into the back of the CCBRT net. Early in the second half, the Wolves scored their fifth goal, once again on a breakaway. On this occasion, Lucas Krivak won the ball in the middle of the park and proceeded to set up Carlo Basso with an immaculate through ball. Basso made no mistake on his final touch and easily scored his second goal of the match. CCBRT responded positively and almost narrowed the margin soon thereafter, when Yassin Essa raced in on goal on a breakaway, rounded the Metro-Ford goalkeeper but inexplicably missed the net with his final shot. At the 60th minute mark, CCBRT United narrowed the margin on a well-executed goal when Yassin Essa’s fine cross was headed back by David Hill, onto the path of Derrick Bassi, whose subsequent volley found the back of the Wolves’ net. A couple of minutes later, Metro-Ford re-established its 5 goal lead when Vito Iacobellis and Sang Hwang played a brilliant one-two that resulted in Hwang finishing off the play with his second goal of the contest. Once again, however, CCBRT bounced back and managed to narrow the margin—at the 70th minute mark—when Ruben Castelblanco sent David Hill on a breakaway. Hill made no mistake as he rounded the Metro-Ford goalkeeper an easily slotted the ball into the empty net. Soon thereafter, Titouan Chopin and Sang Hwang once again combined to set up Carlo Basso, whose brilliant curling shot—from the edge of the penalty area—found the back of the CCBRT net, thus completing his amazing hat-trick. Late in the game, the Wolves added two more goals to their impressive margin of victory as James Kim—an Under 21 call-up—picked up a rebound—after Sang Hwang’s shot had hit the goalpost—and easily scored his first Premier Division goal. Then, just before the full-time whistle, Titouan Chopin and Sang Hwang combined to set up Juan Sanchez who calmly proceeded to place the ball into the back of the net. The entire Metro-Ford team played remarkably well, but special mention should be made of Carlo Basso, Hwang Sang, and Titouan Chopin for their amazing goalscoring prowess and remarkable passing skills. Despite the embarrassing loss, CCBRT’s defenders Kyle Knees and Danny Chahal played remarkably well, while midfielders David Hill and Jorge Angel-Mira also deserved special mention for their hard work. It should be mentioned that CCBRT United played the game without several of its regular starters.
WEST VAN FC – INTER FC 2-0: Last season’s Premier Division champions—West Van FC—disposed of Inter FC by a hard-fought 2-0 margin after a rather evenly-played 90 minutes of action. The defending champions controlled most of the play during the first half as they had most of the possession in the middle of the park, mostly due to the outstanding play of midfielders Cathal O’Connor and Farzad Balandari, who was making his Premier Division debut. Midway through the first half, West Van FC took the well-deserved lead when veteran Jesse Fetterley headed home a great free-kick by Cathal O’Connor. West Van FC continued to press and came close to doubling its lead on a few occasions, but efforts by Jesse Fetterley, Desmond Tachie, and Jacob Lensky went awry. Inter FC bounced back tenaciously and nearly tied things up late in the first half when Liam Miller—after having controlled a great pass from Andrew Lipton—blasted the ball towards the West Van net. However, goalkeeper Steve Welle—making his Premier Division debut—rose to the occasion and pulled off a semi-miraculous save. The second half was more or less a repeat of the first as West Van FC did most of the attacking, while Inter FC defended well and counter-attacked dangerously. At the 60th minute mark, West Van FC scored the insurance marker, with Jesse Fetterley once again involved in the play. On this occasion, Fetterley played a brilliant one-two with Dave O’Connor and finished off the play with a wicked left-foot shot from just inside the 18-yard box. Inter FC refused to give up and came close to narrowing the margin late in the game when newcomer Cesar Mylan blasted a long-range shot barely over the cross-bar. Defensively, Colin Phillips, Max Baessato, Leo Nash, and Mike Winter were rock-solid for West Van FC as they kept the Inter attackers at bay for most of the match. Needless to say, forward Jesse Fetterley turned in a remarkable performance as he scored two excellent goals and drove the Inter defenders to distraction during the entire match. For Inter FC, forwards Liam Miller and Cesar Mylan worked extremely hard, while midfielder Andrew Lipton and defender Jordan Michael also played remarkably well, albeit in a losing cause.
ICST PEGASUS – VANCOUVER OLYMPICS 1-0: The very talented ICST Pegasus narrowly defeated the newly-promoted Vancouver Olympics by a 1-0 margin after a very interesting 90 minutes of non-stop action. The first half was very evenly played with both teams taking turns attacking and defending. Early in the match, the Olympics had their best chance to open the scoring when Gianluca Zavarise’s effort was cleared off the line by Pegasus’ defender Brendan Campbell. ICST Pegasus replied in kind and came close to scoring on a few occasions, but efforts by Azad Palani, Javid Khan, and Chetan Jhooty were well saved by goalkeeper Amraj Lally. At the other end of the pitch, Pegasus’ goalkeeper Andy Singh pulled off a miraculous save to deny Frank Randazzo a golden goalscoring opportunity. However, the Pegasus lads kept pressing and created a couple more scoring chances but, once again, were unable to find the back of the net on shots by Diaz Kambere and Adam Costley. Also—at about the 35th minute mark—Pegasus’ Omari Aldridge found himself all alone in front of the Olympics’ net, but his final shot was once again brilliantly saved by Amraj Lally. Late in the first half, the Vancouver Olympics created yet another golden opportunity to open the scoring when Gianluca Zavarise’s wicked shot was brilliantly saved by Andy Singh. Just before the half-time whistle, it was Pegasus’ turn to miss the opportunity to open the scoring, when the Olympics’goalkeeper Amraj Lally made a wonderful save on a shot by Javid Khan. The second half was mostly controlled by ICST Pegasus, but the scoring chances were kept to a minimum, mostly due to the fact that the Vancouver Olympics defended tenaciously. However, Pegasus was finally compensated at the 65th minute mark when Brendan Campbell made an excellent run down the left flank before crossing the ball into the Olympics’ 18-yard box. Sahil Sandhu was then able to flick the ball into the top corner of the net for what proved to be the winning goal of the match. The entire ICST Pegasus team played extremely well, but special mention should be made of left back Brendan Campbell for his outstanding defensive and attacking work. For the Vancouver Olympics, goalkeeper Amraj Lally deserves special mention for his incredible performance as he kept the scoreline respectable with some excellent saves. Also, defender Carmine Pannozzo and midfielder Carlo Graziano turned in rock-solid performances.
COLUMBUS FC – LANGLEY FC HURRICANES 1-1: The highly-favoured Columbus FC had to settle for a 1-1 tie against the Langley FC underdogs. In fact, the ‘Italians’ could consider themselves somewhat lucky since the Hurricanes created the majority of goalscoring chances, especiallyin the first half. In particular, former Toronto FC player Nick Soolsma drove the Columbus defenders to distraction with his speed and skill. Very early in the match, Soolsma beat 2 Columbus defenders before driving what appeared to be an unstoppable shot towards the net. However, goalkeeper Giordan DiPalma rose to the occasion and pulled off a phenomenal save. As luck would have it, it was Columbus FC that took the early lead when defender Stefano Bortolussi made a great run down the left flank before crossing a dangerous ball into the Langley penalty area. Kazunori Kikuchi then proceeded to head the ball into the net from close range, thus giving his team the early lead. Moments later, Columbus FC almost doubled its lead when Steve DeBlasio sent Kikuchi racing towards the Langley net on a semi-breakaway. However, goalkeeper Pratap Sandhu came up with a brilliant save thus keeping the score at 1-0 in Columbus’ favour. The Hurricanes responded in kind and almost tied things up at the 30th minute mark, once again on a shot by Nick Soolsma, a shot that was once again brilliantly saved by Giordan DiPalma. Late in the first half, Langley FC was finally able to knot the score on a sensational individual effort on the part of Manvir Brar, who raced in on goal from the middle of the park, beat a few Columbus defenders, and calmly deposited the ball into the net, giving DiPalma no chance whatsoever. The second half was almost totally dominated by the Hurricanes as they created numerous goalscoring chances. However, efforts by Harp Khakh and Pavi Dhillon missed the target, while Manvir Brar was denied a glorious goalscoring opportunity by goalkeeper Giordan DiPalma as he pulled off another miraculous save. Very late in the match, Columbus FC almost added insult to Langley’s injury when young Renato Curak picked up a loose ball in the Hurricanes’ penalty area and proceeded to blast the ball over the cross-bar from close range. The entire Langley FC team played remarkably well but special mention should be made of midfielders Manvir Brar and Amar Mander—as well as forwards Nick Soolsma and Harp Khakh—for their superlative efforts. For Columbus FC, forward Kazunori Kikuchi, midfielder Gordon Chin, and goalkeeper Giordan DiPalma played extremely well throughout the contest.
CROATIA SC – SURREY UNITED FIREFIGHTERS 1-1: Two of the top teams in the VMSL’s Premier Division—Croatia SC and Surrey United—settled for a 1-1 draw after a hard-fought and very exciting 90 minutes of non-stop action. Surrey United almost took the early lead at the 10th minute mark when Angus Burke raced in on the Croatian goal on a semi-breakaway. However, goalkeeper Simon Cohen stood tall and was able to thwart Burke’s opportunity with a fine save. Shortly thereafter—at about the 15th minute mark—it was Croatia SC’s turn to almost take the lead when Eddie Tsen’s fine cross was headed just wide of the Surrey United net by David Malmura. Ten minutes later, Malmura once again came close to scoring the opening goal when he was sent on a breakaway by Goran Vitic. On this occasion, Malmura’s excellent, low shot was brilliantly saved by veteran goalkeeper Paul Shepherd. Soon thereafter—at about the 30th minute mark—Surrey United opened the scoring when fullback Andrew Reed and newcomer Dylan Sheehan combined to set up Tommy Lowndes at the edge of the penalty area. Lowndes proceeded to beat a Croatian defender before cleverly curling the ball into the top corner of the net for the game’s opening goal. Croatia SC responded positively and almost tied things up near the end of the first half when young veteran Johnny Sulentic received a splendid pass from Eddie Tsen. However, Sulentic’s final shot bounced off the goalpost and out of danger, with goalkeeper Paul Shepherd well-beaten. Croatia SC continued to press tenaciously during the entire second half in search of the equalizer. However, some excellent goalkeeping on the part of Paul Shepherd—particularly on shots by John Stonehocker and David Malmura—kept the Firefighters in the lead till late in the game. At about the 85th minute mark, Croatia SC was finally able to knot the score when a Johnny Sultentic corner kick found a wide open Dan Davidson at the top of the 18-yard box. Without a moment’s hesitation, Davidson fired an unstoppable, low shot into the bottom corner of the Croatia net for the equalizer. Just before the final whistle, Croatia SC almost scored the winning goal but goalkeeper Paul Shepherd once again rose to the occasion as he denied David Malmura yet another excellent goalscoring opportunity with a fine save. For Croatia SC, centre-back Moh Xiderbagi, as well as central midfielders John Stonehocker and Goran Vitic turned in excellent performances. Needless to say, however, Surrey United’s goalkeeper Paul Shepherd deserves ‘Player of the Match’ honours for his incredible performance as he kept his team in the game with numerous fantastic saves.
RICHMOND FC HIBERNIANS – EDC BURNABY 3-1: The newly-promoted Richmond Hibernians got off to a flying start to the 2014-15 season with a clear-cut 3-1 victory over EDC Burnaby. The heavily-favoured Burnaby team took the early lead—at about the 10th minute mark—when Rizal Ganief converted a well-taken corner kick by Ylya Malek with an unstoppable header. The Hibernians almost equalized a few minutes later when Erik Olsen’s fine cross was headed towards the Burnaby net by Garret Kusch, only to have goalkeeper Hugo Vasquez pull off a fantastic save. Soon thereafter—at the 25th minute mark—Richmond FC knotted the score when Lucas Barrett finished off a brilliant play between Erik Olsen and Garret Kusch with an easy tap-in from close range. The Hibernians then took the lead at the 35th minute mark when Erik Olsen converted a penalty kick in fine fashion. The PK was awarded when Lucas Barrett was fouled by Gustavo Ramirez inside the penalty area. The Chileans responded positively and came very close to equalizing near the end of the first half, but Rizal Ganief’s blistering shot hit the goalpost and sailed out of danger. Early in the second half, EDC Burnaby was reduced to 10 men when Ylya Malek was sent off for having committed a serious foul play infraction. Richmond FC took advantage of the situation and scored what proved to be the insurance marker when Peter Chivers unleashed an unstoppable shot from well outside the penalty area into the far, bottom corner of the EDC net. To make matters even worse, EDC Burnaby’s Vanja Vukovic was sent off at the 65th minute mark for having committed a violent conduct infraction, thus reducing his team to only 9 players. Needless to say, the Hibernians continued to press and came close to adding to their lead on a couple of occasions, but efforts by Erik Olsen and Peter Chivers barely missed the target. To their credit, the Chileans didn’t give up and created a few goalscoring chances of their own, but efforts by Habib Mohammed, Vladimir Vukovic, and Chris Kyd were well-saved by goalkeeper Jason Roberts. The entire Richmond team played quite well during the entire match, but special mention should be made of the midfield quartet, composed of Peter Chivers, Mike Miller, Lucas Barrett, and Erik Olsen, as they controlled the middle of the park with poise, skill, and composure. Despite the loss, EDC’s midfielders Vladimir Vukovic and Ducivan DeSouza played remarkably well, while forwards Rizal Ganief and Habib Mohammed also performed admirably, albeit in a losing cause.
TEAM OF THE WEEK: COQUITTLAM METRO-FORD WOLVES for their incredible 9-2 victory over CCBRT United. Led by the goalscoring prowess of Carlo Basso, Sang Hwang, and Titouan Chopin, the Metro-Ford Wolves recorded the most lop-sided victory in the history of the VMSL’s Premier Division!
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Surrey United’s veteran goalkeeper Paul Shepherd for his incredible performance in his team’s 1-1 tie against Croatia SC. Time after time, Shepherd denied the vaunted Croatian strikers glorious goalscoring opportunities, thus enabling his team to capture a 1-1 tie. For his amazing performance this past week-end, PAUL SHEPHERD will receive a pizza for two, compliments of THE GOLDEN BOOT CAFFE`. The prize is available up to 2014-09-28.