All five of the local leagues saw at least one of their representatives claim a BC Provincial B Cup quarter-final berth after the opening weekend’s Round of 16 matches.
The Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) saw three of their teams advance, with Vancouver Metro Soccer League (VMSL) claiming two quarter-final spots, and the Burnaby Metro Soccer League (BMSL), Fraser Valley Soccer League (FVSL), and Richmond Adult Soccer Association (RASA) all seeing one of their sides go through to the next round of the Keith Millar Cup.
Before we get into how the action played out, here’s a summary of all of the Round of 16 results at a glance, in bracket order:
Tzeachten (FVSL) 4 – 1 Vancouver Harps (VMSL)
Euro (BMSL) 4 – 2 Mission (FVSL)
Siaron (VMSL) 2 – 1 Surrey United B (FVSL)
Aldergrove Highlanders (FVSL) 1 – 3 Westcoast (RASA)
Sooke Celtic (VISL) 2 – 1 Brazcouver (BMSL)
Grads (RASA) 1 – 2 Gorge FC (VISL)
Bingers Army (VMSL) 3 -2 Strathcona Primo (VMSL)
Mid Isle Mariners (VISL) beat Narps (VMSL) – forfeit
The action kicked off in the 2023 Keith Millar B Cup with a pair of matches on Friday night.
The Tzeachten sports field in Chilliwack saw free-scoring FVSL Division 2A winners Tzeachten FC host VMSL Division 2B runners-up Vancouver Harps. After hitting 90 goals on their way to the title, Tzeachten brought that goalscoring form into the provincials with a comfortable 4-1 victory.
It was a wild one at Empire Field and despite some horrendous wet and windy conditions, the all-VMSL battle between Division 2A winners Binger’s Army and Division 2B runners up Strathcona Primo didn’t disappoint, with five goals, two penalties saved, and three goals disallowed.
Will Hoy fired Binger’s in front in the 21st minute, then doubled his team’s advantage when he swept home a low cross two minutes into the second half. Primo were given a lifeline when they got a penalty soon after but Chris O’Connor denied Nico Pietramala with the save.
Pietramala made amends in the 63rd minute when he volleyed home a corner to make it a one goal match, but Binger’s restored their two goal lead just two minutes later when Gavin Mason scored the goal of the game with an acrobatic effort off another corner.
Undeterred Strathcona kept pushing and they got another chance from the spot in the 68th minute, only for O’Connor to come up with another clutch save. Primo set up a potential grandstand finale in the last minute when O’Connor couldn’t hold on to the ball in the wet conditions after a save and Bilal Hassan prodded home the loose ball.
There was almost a late leveller in stoppage time, as the ball was put away but the referee had blown for a foul and Binger’s came away with the 3-2 victory.
Here’s our match highlights.
Both of these teams have been promoted to VMSL Division 1 for next season, so here’s hoping we get a couple more matches like this from the sides.
Three B Cup matches were on the slate on Saturday. There was meant to be four but sold out ferry issues due to only qualifying on Wednesday night saw neither of the VMSL sides Narps or Binger’s Army Whistler able to travel to Ladysmith to take on Mid Isle Mariners, so the match was forfeited and the VISL side advance.
First up of the games that were played was the team that beat Strathcona Primo to the regular season title, Siaron FC, who are looking to do the treble after winning VMSL Division 2A and the VMSL Division 2 Cup.
Siaron hosted FVSL side Surrey United B at Empire on Saturday afternoon and were made to work hard for their 2-1 victory. This time it was a tale of two second half penalties that were scored.
Siaron dominated possession, with Surrey struggling to get much out of their own half at times and happy to hit on the counter, which did cause a few problems. The VMSL side finally got their breakthrough five minutes from half time through leading scorer Sean Collins, but the Surrey side came out and made a game of it after the restart.
Tyler Walters was brought down by Siaron keeper Alex Rybin in the box and picked himself up to blast home the equaliser from the penalty spot in the 69th minute and it was game back on.
Siaron got a penalty of their own, however, three minutes later after a handball in the box. Collins stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way for his second of the afternoon and what proved to be the match winner.
Here’s our match highlights. You can also find a brief photo gallery on our Flickr page HERE:
VISL Division 3 champs Sooke Celtic were in action on Saturday afternoon at Fred Milne Park, winning what Vince Greco described as “a spirited affair” 2-1 over BMSL runners-up Brazcouver thanks to goals from Robbie Heggelund and Ketil Eckhardt.
Aldergrove Highlanders hosted RASA runners-up Westcoast at McLeod Athletic Park in Langley on Saturday evening, and it was all going well for the FVSL Division 2A runners-up until the second half started. A goal up and a penalty save to the good at half time, the Highlanders gave up three unanswered goals in the second 45 minutes to come away on the wrong end of a 3-1 defeat.
The final two Round of 16 matches took place on Sunday.
RASA champions Grads hosted VISL George Pearkes Challenge Cup winners Gorge FC (Div 3) at Minoru on Sunday afternoon in a game that went down to the wire. Gorge took the lead in the 15th minute, then saved a penalty four minutes later, and they held that advantage till the 75th minute. An injury to their keeper saw him have to go off and Grads tied things up to set up a dramatic conclusion.
With the game heading into stoppage time and penalties looming, the Islanders got the dramatic late winner, setting up what should be a tasty all-Island showdown with Sooke Celtic in a fortnight.
The final Round of 16 B Cup matchup took place at Burnaby Central with BMSL champions Euro FC taking on FVSL Division 2B champs Mission SC. Although it wasn’t a full strength Mission team on the day, there were no complaints and Euro were the better side overall. The Burnaby boys took a two goal lead in the first half, which Mission managed to peg back, but two goals early into the second half did the damage and saw BMSL representation in the last eight.
A fantastic three days of Keith Millar Cup action, which sets up the following interesting quarter-final ties in two week’s time:
Tzeachten (FVSL) v Euro FC (BMSL)
Siaron (VMSL) v Westcoast (RASA)
Sooke Celtic (VISL) v Gorge FC (VISL)
Binger’s Army (VMSL) v Mid Isle Mariners (VISL)