Last weekend’s four first round ties produced 13 goals and wins from VMSL teams Pacific United and West Van FC, FVSL’s Westcoast FC Juventus, and VISL side Gorge FC.
With the four seeded teams now entering the competition at the quarter-final stage, what does the last eight match-ups hold in store this weekend?
Canucks4Ever takes a look…
Estrella de Chile (VMSL) v West Van (VMSL)
[Burnaby Lake West Field 3 – Friday April 28 – 8pm kick off]
It’s a VMSL battle in this match up as first placed Chile host second placed West Van. The North Shore boys had little trouble seeing off a challenge from the FVSL’s Port Moody Gunners in their opener, emerging as comfortable 6-2 winners. Chile won the league by three points and, though it surely did not seem that way at the time, an early season 4-2 victory in November at Ambleside made the difference. The return leg was a 2-2 draw. In terms of an entertainment factor, this game boasts four of the league’s seven top scorers including, as mentioned last week, West Van’s Adrian Sahagun, the league’s Golden Boot winner. West Van also has Chase Taylor-Robins, who potted 10 on the year to finish third on the league scoring charts, while EDC counter with scoring title runner-up Joel Padmore, who had 13 goals, and Daniel Pervan, who scored seven times. This one is a coin toss and this time I will bet against the season series and take West Van to win.
Mid-Island Mariners (VISL) v Gorge FC (VISL)
[Merle Logan Turf, Nanaimo – Saturday April 29 – 2pm kick off]
A domestic, all VISL encounter takes place on Saturday, as Mid-Island play Gorge for the fifth time this season. These teams finished one and two in the table with the 11 point gap due in large part to Mid-Island’s 3-1 record against their southern rivals. Top goal scorers Emil Rhak, who won the Golden Boot with 10 goals for Gorge, and Billy Bagiopoulos, who had nine of his own for Mid-Island, will no doubt have become well acquainted with each other after so many encounters this season. Mid-Island’s secret, or, I suppose, not so secret, weapon might be Daniel Doukakis. He chipped in with eight goals to ease the burden on Bagiopoulos, while Rhak was a solo act for Gorge. It’s tough to bet against that season series, look for Mid-Island to advance to the semi-finals.
CCB Guildford (VMSL) v Westcoast FC (FVSL)
[Hjorth Turf Field, Surrey – Saturday April 29 – 2pm kick off]
While they finished a disappointing fifth in the VMSL’s U21 Division, Guildford defended their League Cup Championship and earned a seed in the Provincial draw. Guildford are the current holders of this trophy as well and will be keen to mount a vigorous title defense, no doubt. Westcoast eked past North Delta in the first round, who were well off the pace of CCB, never mind the cream of the crop, in the VMSL. CCB have no-one who jumps of the page in terms of scoring their goals, as Gurinder Pannu led the way with only four tallies on the season. However, they do boast the league third best defensive record. This one should be a slam dunk for the Surrey boys.
FC Barca (FVSL) v Pacific United (VMSL)
[Newton Athletic Park, Surrey – Saturday April 29 – 7pm kick off]
Match of the Round here as, while the first two ties might have more on field substance, they are intra-league encounters and the Provincials are all about pitting the leagues against each other. FC Barca took the Fraser Valley “Graduates” division by storm, romping to a League and Cup double. That earned them a seed in the Provincial draw and they will now face VMSL’s Pacific United. Any chance to resume the FVSL/VMSL debate is always fun and, after Westcoast from the FVSL held off VMSL U21 also-rans North Delta in the first round, we will now get to see how the Valley’s Champions fair. They scored 48 goals and only conceded eight times on the season en route to their FVSL title, while Pacific were a distant third in the VMSL. Surely Barca should be the favourite here. Pacific, though, travelled to the Island in the first round and emerged victorious, so that has to speak to their pedigree. This one is very intriguing and as much as I want to take the new kids on the block, history indicates that this one will likely shade the way of the VMSL. Coin toss; I’ll take Barca.