Former TFC striker Nick Soolsma became a one man wrecking crew in the Vancouver Metro Soccer League this past weekend, hitting 14 goals (yes FOURTEEN, and yes in one match) in a performance for the ages, and certainly one he’ll be telling the grandkids about in years to come.
There were so many questions and talking points to come out of the Week 11 VMSL action, as controversy swirled both on and off the pitch.
In a week that ended with three teams tied for first place in the VMSL Premier, and the top eight teams separated by just four points as the season reached the halfway point, all that was perhaps overshadowed by one burning question – just how can a Premier team concede 17 goals in a match?
I’m pretty sure that’s what bottom side Campo Atletico have spent the week asking themselves. After 11 matches, the still pointless Campo lads have conceded 72 goals. What the future holds in store for the team that avoided relegation with a win in their last game of last season remains unclear after they forfeited this weekend’s match at home to Coquitlam Metro-Ford Wolves on Saturday. If they were to fold, Soolsma’s goals will likely then be stricken from the records books, at least in terms of the league’s Golden Boot.
It’s been a swift fallout after their 17-1 drubbing by defending champs BCT Rovers Tigers United at Newton on Friday night (yes SEVENTEEN, and yes in one match).
Dutch master Soolsma ran rampant, grabbing a hat-trick in the first 12 minutes of the match. Eight minutes later and he had a double hat-trick, before Jeevi Rai made it 7-0 and that was how things stayed until half time.
If Campo were shell-shocked by that first half performance, another three goals from Soolsma in the first seven minutes of the second half, to make the time ten past them, won’t have done much to ease their pain. Joey Brar got into the goalscoring act before Soolsma hit another four. Rai grabbed his second of the game and Soolsma rounded off his own scoring record with his 14th five minutes before the end.
Credit to Campo, if that’s an apt word, they kept fighting till the end, didn’t lose their heads and pick up any bookings, and actually got themselves onto the scoresheet in the 87th minute through Shayan Eftekhari.
Just where did it all go wrong for Campo? Well according to reports, continuing to play three at the back wasn’t perhaps the wisest move. Some have also criticised Rovers Tigers for running up the score, and Soolsma for not taking himself off, but come on. This is the top tier amateur league in BC. You play what’s in front of you and you bang the goals in when you can. Humiliate the opposition as much as you can. This isn’t kiddie’s football. If that was my team or player out there I’d be telling them to go for the jugular till the last second. Make a statement to the rest of the league and for yourselves. Rovers Tigers and Soolsma did just that.
We’ve also been unable to confirm reports that the referee in the match may have to file a claim with Worksafe BC for repetitive strain injury in writing all those goals in his notebook. Campo do owe him a new pencil though.
The win only keeps Rovers Tigers midtable, but does move them to within three points of top spot with two games in hand. That’s just how tight things are in the Premier this season.
The (competitive) match of the week took place at Burnaby Lake on Friday night and it was a battle between first and third as Croatia SC hosted leaders Rino’s Tigers in a proverbial game of two halfs.
Rino’s pummelled the Croatians in the first half, creating, and wasting, chance after chance and should have been out of sight and a few goals up by half time. Instead, they only had Tetsuya Yoshinaga’s 26th minute strike to show for all their efforts, giving them a narrow lead at the break and affording Croatia hope that they could get themselves back into proceedings.
And the home side certainly did that in the second half, as Rino’s subbed out their best players over the course of the half and seemed to take away all their attacking flair in the process.
In a complete reverse of the first half action, Croatia made most of the running and they got their reward in the 51st minute when Johnny Sulentic pounced on some horribly slack Tigers defending to win the ball and fire home the equaliser.
David Malamura then put Croatia ahead five minutes later with a nice finish and that was to prove to be enough to secure all three points, as Rino’s seemingly ran out of ideas and couldn’t raise any threat to a resolute Croatian side that could have added a couple more themselves in the remainder of the game.
You can see all the goals, and some other highlights from the match, in our video below.
The victory snapped a three match winless streak for Croatia and moved them to within a point of Rino’s at the top of the standings.
Friday night’s other action saw a couple of big wins for the chasing pack against teams at the bottom end of the table.
CCB LFC United ran out 4-1 winners in the Surrey derby with Pegasus SFC at Newton. A first half brace from an inspired Victor Blasco had CCB 2-0 up at half time, before Yassin Essa made it a three goal lead midway through the second half, and Milad Mehrabi added a fourth ten minutes later.
Javid Khan saw a red card in the 77th minute for Pegasus to make their night seemingly worse, but the Horsemen actually reduced the deficit a minute later with a consolation goal from Navkaran Bains.
CCB moved to within two points of the top with the win, while Pegasus keep looking over their shoulders in their relegation battle with Richmond FC Hibernian.
And the Richmond side could have moved out of the relegation places if they’d made full use of their home field advantage against Club Inter EDC Burnaby. Instead they fell to another heavy defeat, 5-1 this time. The Hibs actually took the lead nine minutes before half time through Emmanuel Ekeh, before Inter went nap in the second half thanks to a brace from leading scorer Mohammed Habib, and goals from Rizal Ganief, Brendan Shaw, and Liam Miller.
Croatia and Rino’s draw gave West Van another chance to take over the top spot, but for the third week running the Amblesiders could only muster a 1-1 draw. Norvan FC were the spoilers this time around, and they actually took the lead in the 35th minute from Gavin Barrett. Keith Jackson tied things up ten minutes into the second half, but that was to be all the goals for the afternoon, frustrating both teams’ title aspirations.
West Van did move into a share of top spot, however, with the point, while Norvan drop to eighth but move to within four points of the lead.
The final match of the weekend saw Coquitlam Metro-Ford Wolves eke out a 1-0 win at Guildford FC thanks to a Carlo Basso goal eight minutes from time.
And with Campo’s forfeit of this week’s game with the Wolves, Metro-Ford have moved into a threeway share of the lead at the top of the VMSL standings, which now look as follows after all those matches.
It’s certainly shaping up to be an exciting second half of the season, and that gets underway this weekend with some cracking match ups, the pick of them taking place at Ambleside on Saturday afternoon as West Van FC take on BCT Rovers Tigers United. Kick off is 4pm.
Here’s the full slate of Premier fixtures this weekend.
And it’s not just the Premier that’s looking tight right now at the midway mark. Division 1 is shaping up to be a right battle once again, with three points separating the top four teams.
ICSF Columbus and Burnaby Selects White Eagles lead the way on 24 points, with GN Sporting Club two behind in third, and newly promoted Coquitlam Metro-Ford Lupi a point further back in fourth.
Columbus won the big battle of the weekend, seeing off the Metro-Ford Lupi 3-0 at Burnaby Lake on Friday night after a strong second half performance produced goals from Tino Cucca, Naoya Inoue, and Adriano Negri to secure the three points.