Seeded teams enter the competition this weekend after the eight preliminary matches, so we should be getting down to brass tacks in short order.
Canucks4Ever takes a look at this weekend’s first round ties.
Fraser Valley Blue Devils (FVSL) v Burnaby Selects White Eagles (VMSL)
[MRC Complex Field 4, Abbotsford – Friday April 28 – 8pm kick off]
Despite not being seeded, the VMSL 2B winners must fancy their chances being placed in the bottom of the draw, away from the majority of the seeded teams. After overcoming a tough test at home to the VISL Davison 3A winners, Juan de Fuca, by a narrow 4-3 margin, the Burnaby boys now go on the road to the Valley to play FVSL President’s Cup Champions Fraser Valley Blue Devils. Burnaby will be liking their odds in this one as, due respect to their cup title, the Blue Devils are a Division 3 side. True they will be coming up to Division 2 in the FVSL next season, but Burnaby are off to Division 1 in the VMSL in the fall and this tie looks a complete mismatch. Hopefully Blue Devils can maybe note a few pointers to help them stepping up a level next year.
Burnaby Metro Athletic (VMSL) v Bacardi FC (BMSL)
Forfeited by Bacardi. Burnaby Metro Athletic advance.
This match was scheduled to take place on Saturday on the Point Grey turf. Unfortunately due to a player’s wedding, and an inflexibility to change the tie by the home side, Bacardi have had to forfeit. You fancied the Division 2A champions to advance anyway, but it’s a little tainted by it happening this way.
Mid-Isle Mariners (VISL) v FC Serbia United (VMSL)
[Forrest Field, Ladysmith – Sunday April 30 – 2pm kick off]
Match of the Round here in this one as the red-hot Serbians journey up island to face the lone remaining Vancouver Island Soccer League representative in the competition. Yes, all three VISL teams participating in the first round lost, but fortunately Mid-Isle were awarded a bye on the basis of an undefeated season that netted them the Division 3B title. Ben Robson is the man who does the business for the Island lads, scoring 7 league goals during their Championship campaign. Serbia though have already seen off a pseudo-league-champion in the Richmond All Blacks, who tied atop the RASA standings, in the preliminary round. This adds to an impressive list of wins over the last two months, as highlighted in last week’s previews. A new test for Serbia will be the travel factor, though this season Mainland teams have been bucking the trend of losing on Vancouver Island. It sets up as a cracker given that the Serbians clearly have no fear of anyone in this competition, while Mid-Isle certainly won’t want to see the VISL flame snuffed out before the Quarter-Final stage. Perhaps I should have learned after picking against Serbia last time out, however, I have to go with an undefeated League Champion at home on the Island in this one.
NVFC NorVan Storm (VMSL) v West Coast FC (RASA)
[Windsor Secondary School, North Vancouver – Sunday April 30 – 4pm kick off]
It was a comprehensive performance from West Coast, absolutely thrashing the FVSL Division 2 runners-up, Langley Sparta, to the tune of 7-2 last weekend. It was a great advert for the RASA, with the Richmond boys ensuring that the league would not be shutout in the preliminary round, as their compatriots, All Blacks and Jugadores, lost out in their openers. A new can of worms awaits crew from below sea level in the VMSL’s Division 2 Cup winners NorVan. Despite a great cup run potentially costing NorVan their chance at a league title, and the promotion that they have been chasing for years, this team has shown their pedigree all season long. Perhaps their most impressive accomplishment, even more so than winning the Cup, was their Semi-Final victory that came playing with 10 men after an early sending off. It’s a tight, experienced group that will welcome West Coast to the North Shore and the VMSL 2B runners up will be favourite in this one.
Poco Royals (FVSL) v Langley Utd Dynamo (FVSL)
[Gates Turf, Port Coquitlam – Sunday April 30 – 4pm kick off]
A domestic grudge match between two FVSL rivals headlines this round’s match ups. If you are looking for fireworks (and quality banter), consider taking this one in this weekend. There is no love lost between these two teams and no doubt both sides will be charged up to cement bragging rights for the summer. Despite allegations that they would perhaps have preferred not to win the title, Poco Royals were the FVSL’s Division 2 Champions and will be off to Division 1 next season (or maybe they will be able to stay in Division 2, you never know sometimes with promotion and relegation out in the Valley). Regardless, their table topping campaign included taking 6 points off of Dynamo, and no, it was not via winning a weird, snow induced “true six-pointer” at the end of the season. The Royals romped to a 4-1 home win on opening day back in September before claiming a 2-1 win in the return leg come November. Langley, to their credit, travelled to Victoria in the first round and bagged a 2-1 win at Gorge to book a third meeting with Poco, so there’s every chance they can pull off another road win in this one. I will back the season series though and take Royals to move on to the Quarter Finals.
Sierra FC (BMSL) v 13th Legion (VMSL)
[Burnaby Lake West Field 3 – Sunday April 30 – 5pm kick off]
The VMSL’s 2A runners up had seemingly little difficulty with the BMSL’s second place side, Burnaby Gunners, in a 2-0 opening round win. We will see now how they deal with the step up to facing the BMSL Champions in Sierra, who won the Burnaby league, running away with it to finish fully 11 points clear of the aforementioned Gunners. It was a by committee effort for Sierra who managed a league leading 58 goals with their leading scorer, Seyed Shayan Eftekhari, only notching eight of those. It should be a balanced attack for Sierra then, but will they be able to breach the Legion’s defence that allowed only 25 goals in 22 games? That will be the question. Sierra themselves, though, boast an impressive defensive record having conceded just 17 goals in 18 games, which indicates that this one might be a cagey affair and could perhaps require more than 90 minutes to settle. These games often come down to a bounce or a refereeing decision and are difficult to predict. I’ll take the Legion though, based on their experience against the BMSL last time out.
AC Richmond (RASA) v Fraser Valley Red Devils (FVSL)
[Minoru Field 2, Richmond – Sunday April 30 – 6pm kick off]
As mentioned in last week’s preview, AC Richmond won the Richmond Adult Soccer Association title in a last minute playoff with All Blacks. This earned them a bye into the second round and saw them avoid the tough fate the All Blacks endured, being unceremoniously bounced from the competition at the Preliminary stage. The Red Devils got past the fourth placed team from the RASA in their opener in Jugadores, by a narrow 1-0 score line. Conventional wisdom would suggest that the league leaders would be a different animal, though but AC Richmond failed to beat Jugadores in either of their two league meetings during the season, drawing one and losing one. Perhaps then, Jugadores are a tough nut to crack and, having beaten them, FVRD are in pole position to claim another RASA scalp. This one is a coin toss, but I’ll stick with the league champions to progress.
Impero Calcio (BMSL) v Vancouver Greencaps (VMSL)
[Burnaby Lake West Field 1 – Sunday April 30 – 6.15pm kick off]
The Greencaps seemingly lived up to their billing as quiet contenders in this competition, as they travelled to the Island in their opener and laid a beat down on Gorge to the tune of 5-1. Impero Calcio finished third in the BMSL and were randomly drawn a bye into the second round. They are, however, Rudolph Cup Champions, so clearly they know their way around a knockout competition. This match up almost surely promises goals given that the Greencaps seemingly have found their shooting boots and Impero boast three of the BMSL’s top nine goal scorers. Bruno Teixeira and Anton Krapic tallied 10 and 9 goals respectively for the BMSL side, while Lucas Sweda tied for the league lead with 15 markers this campaign. Safe to say not to expect a cagey 0-0 settled on penalties in this one! As for a prediction, Greencaps just seem to have that mojo at the moment. If they can catch lightning in a bottle, they might just have quite the cup run ahead of them.