A much more straight forward bracket now that the competition has been condensed to just 12 teams. We’re onto the quarter finals already, though perhaps fewer games is better at this age!
So let’s kick off this week’s Completely Baseless Predictions with a look at the four quarter-finals in the Deryl Hughes BC Provincial Masters A Cup.
For those not familiar with my column, I am largely just pulling this stuff out of thin air. I try to find whatever information is readily available online, but ultimately I am just trying to generate some interest in local soccer in BC. If I have omitted or overlooked facts that you consider relevant to your team or league, it’s not done intentionally…get over it!
Port Moody Rangers (FVSL) v Temple Utd (FVSL)
[Friday April 27 – Trasolini Turf, Port Moody – Kick off 8.00pm]
This clash ensures that there will be a FVSL representative in this season’s semi-finals. Temple were made to work for it against a Gorge side visiting from the Island last week and only emerged narrow victors by a 3-2 margin. Now they must face an opponent they know well in Port Moody who were the FVSL Masters Champions.
Port Moody have not been beyond the quarter-finals of the last three tournaments, bowing out at this stage last season. They have now reached the quarter-finals in back to back seasons, though this year of course thanks to a bye and a diminished field, and will be surely keen on taking the next step. They will be relying on Golden Boot runner-up Venny Atwell and his 17 goals on the season to lead them past Temple and their pair of FVSL Masters All-Stars, David Morris and Bob Atwal.
Port Moody won all three league meetings between these two sides and, had Temple been able to edge any one of those three, the teams would have finished the season level on 39 points. Instead PoMo won the league on 42 while Temple were third with 36. The Surrey boys did get the better of the Rangers in the cup semi-final, however, edging them 2-1 before ultimately losing on penalties in the final to North Delta. These internal league battles can always go either way, but I will follow the league standings and take Port Moody in this one.
EDC Burnaby (VMSL) v UVic Alumni (VISL)
[Saturday April 28 – Burnaby Lake West Field 2 – Kick off 1.30pm]
UVic Alumni were not given much of a test in their opener as they waltzed past Surrey United at home on the UVic campus. Now it is off to the mainland to face the VMSL’s Masters Cup winners, EDC. The Chileans are known for being a youthful side with many wondering if all of their regular squad will be eligible for this competition, given that BC Soccer clamps down on the age restrictions come Provincial Cup season.
In the Burnaby side’s first year with a team at this level, they got their feet under themselves, finishing at .500 with a respectable 8-2-8 record and were never in any serious relegation danger. Their record wobbled through the winter months which was perhaps to be expected given Chile’s reputation as a warm weather team. That should not be an issue this week, with the forecast looking much more summery. EDC also seem to have a bit of a chip on their shoulder being the new boys and “young guns” at this level. They have not been welcomed at all by the stalwarts of the division and take great pride in telling them where they can stick it.
UVic had best not be hoping for a warm welcome as a determined Chile side will be out with a point to prove and their full bag of “antics” ready, if necessary, to help them try and see off the VISL’s runners up. UVic are likely slight favourites on paper given their history and experience, plus given the fact they had a good league campaign. However, I think Chile will be extremely motivated in this one and when you add in the travel factor and the Burnaby boys having been rested, I like there odds here.
West Van FC (VMSL) v Coquitlam Metro Ford (VMSL)
[Saturday April 28 – Ambleside D, West Vancouver – Kick off 7.30pm]
This one is the Match of the Round as first plays second from the VMSL. West Van were the class of the O35 league this season, winning it at a canter by a solid nine point margin over the Tri-Cities boys. The two league meetings were close affairs with a 0-0 at Ambleside before West Van won the reverse fixture 3-2 at Town Centre to take a stranglehold on first place with five games remaining.
Coquitlam are two time defending Provincial Cup Champions, so they certainly know how to get the job done this time of year. That being said, they were pushed to the brink by a PCOV side that finished well down the table this season, needing penalties to eek past them after spotting the Portuguese an early lead. They also sustained plenty of knocks in that match and that is the last thing they need as they come up against a well rested West Van team.
Coquitlam of course boast a game breaker in Tiarnan King and his league best 27 goals on the season. West Van can put the ball in the back of the net as well though, scoring 52 goals as a team led by Jesse Fetterley and Paul Dailly, who had 13 and 10 respectively. Sure, it’s no 27, but the North Shore boys proved this season that the size of the goals scored doesn’t necessary matter and it is, in fact, how, as well as evidently when, you use it that counts.
I think CMF will give as good an effort as possible in this one, but battered and bruised against a top caliber opponent looking to win the title for the first time since 2011, I think the bid for the three-peat ends at Ambleside this week.
Cowichan 49ers (VISL) v Westside FC (VMSL)
[Sunday April 29 – Sherman Road Turf, Duncan – Kick off Noon]
Well true to form Westside won their minimum one game in this tournament overturning a good North Delta side 2-1 in their opener, despite some evidently alleged dodgy refereeing. It came at quite the cost however, as stalwart goalkeeper Mike Wiken was injured and, by all accounts, is likely out for the trip to the Island this weekend.
Westside, by the sounds of it, also racked up a few further knocks along the way and will be travelling with what would appear to be less than their best side. Not a great time then to draw the VISL’s top side in Cowichan.
The 49ers were semi-finalists last season and are likely on a mission to better that result as they lost to eventual champions, Coquitlam Metro Ford. A good draw for them at the top of the bottom half of the bracket means that a win would earn them another home tie and it will be against FVSL opposition, with Westside being the only VMSL side in the bottom half.
The Islanders have 14 goal scorer Stuart Barker leading the line, but they also boast the best defence in the league. Goalkeeper Preston Johnny had eight clean sheets, which is equal to the number of goals that Cowichan gave up for the entire campaign. In fact, the 49ers only conceded more than a single goal in a match on two occasions, posting a league record of 15-1-1 while also winning the Tony Grover Cup to complete the double.
This team is a powerhouse and a title contender. While you have to respect Westside’s experience and record in this competition (you don’t become three time Provincial Champions by accident), this would be an extraordinary performance for Dancin’ Bear and co. were they to win this one. Could it happen? Of course; Westside have long proven they can beat anybody on any day. It just seems incredibly unlikely this time given the pedigree of their opponent and their injury list; Cowichan to advance.
[You can find all of this weekend’s fixtures in all the cup competitions on the BC Soccer website]
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