BB5 United CCB clinched back-to-back Vancouver Metro Soccer League (VMSL) titles on Monday night, lifting their second straight championship in style after blasting through a fixture backlog that saw them play their final four league matches in an eight day period this month.
With games postponed for their Challenge Trophy matches in the fall and then a slew of games disrupted by the weather and the Imperial Cup, the Surrey side made it four wins from four in March to finish six points clear at the top of the standings by the end of it all, losing just one single game all season.
An incredible run-in from BB5, but it was a tough ending for runners-up Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves, who had led the league for most of the season, but their depleted squad faltered down the stretch, allowing BB5 to put their late run together and lift another VMSL Premier crown.
Injuries and departures hit Metro Ford hard after the turn of the year, but the twists and turns along the way that saw BB5 drop some points had still kept the Coquitlam side very much in with a shout of claiming the title. That all unraveled as they failed to secure a win in their last three league matches, managing to take just two points in the process.
The beginning of the end for Metro Ford started with their 1-1 draw at home to Westside on February 10th (highlights below). Thomas Powell’s 78th minute goal looked to have given them the three points but deep into stoppage time, Graeme Webber blasted home a 94th minute equaliser in off the bar to give Westside the draw, and what could yet prove to be a crucial point for them as they fight to avoid relegation.
With the Imperial Cup occupying the Wolves over the following weeks, they returned to league action on March 14th in a rare Tuesday night game at Burnaby Lake.
Coquitlam once again dropped two points, throwing away a strong start and a two goal lead to Inter EDC in a 2-2 draw (highlights below).
Lucas Krivak and Marcus Fijii had Metro Ford 2-0 up by the 18th minute, before Massud Habibullah pulled one back for Inter four minutes later. Cesar Aldea Cona brought Inter level three minutes before the hour mark, and despite Jan Posch seeing red for Inter after the denying of a goalscoring opportunity, Coquitlam could make their man advantage pay, picking up just a point, and handing the full advantage to BB5 in the race for the title.
With the title now firmly in the hands of the Surrey side, Metro Ford had to win their last match of the season at VUFC Hibernian to put pressure on BB5 to have to take four points from their final two games to win the championship.
The home side had other ideas, however, and Mario Kovacevic’s goal in the 78th minute gave VUFC Hibernian the 1-0 win and left Metro Ford level on points with BB5, leaving them needing to take just one single point from their last two games to win back-to-back titles.
Heading into March with four league games left to play and the days running out to get those games in before the Provincial Cup started, BB5 trailed Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves by five points. With the leaders having just two games left to play, BB5 knew if they won out they’d secure the title by a single point, but dropping points in any game could see them hand the title to their nearest rivals.
With the pressure on, a narrow 2-1 home win against Surrey rivals SFC Pegasus on March 15th set the ball rolling, thanks to a pair of goals from Farivar Torabi. Two days later they were back in action at Newton Athletic Park, coming away with a big 5-1 victory over Port Moody thanks to goals from Torabi, Devin O’Hea, Matteo Polisi, and a brace from Nic Morello.
That victory moved BB5 level on points with Metro Ford at the top of the table, and the Coquitlam side’s defeat on Sunday left them needing just one point from one of their final two games this week to clinch another championship. In the end, they secured the title in style with two further wins, the clincher coming on Monday night with a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Inter EDC (highlights below).
Torabi sent BB5 on their way, firing home the opener six minutes before half time, but Inter came out fired up in the second half and Massud Habibullah ran onto a fantastic through ball to level things up three minutes after the restart. Andres Rojas Rodriguez put Inter ahead two minutes before the hour mark, but Mamadi Camara tied things up in the 75th minute with a nice finish off a Polisi pass into the far corner.
Camara’s goal proved to be the one that ultimately secured the title, but BB5 wanted the victory and they got it with a well deserved header from Danylo Smychenko two minutes into stoppage time. Inter finished the game with 10 men when Alan Camacho saw a straight red in the 80th minute for an elbow on Smychenko.
With the title secured, BB5 rounded off their league season in style with a 4-0 win over Surrey rivals BCT Rovers Hurricanes. All of the goals came in the first half of this one, with both Polisi and Torabi scoring two goals apiece.
Torabi’s six goals in BB5’s last four matches saw the veteran striker secure another VMSL Golden Boot, taking his tally for the season to 20 goals and finishing just one ahead of Coquitlam Metro Ford’s Carlo Basso.
After all of that action, and with just two VMSL Premier league matches left to round off the 2022/23 season, here’s how the table is looking:
With the title and VMSL’s five Provincial Cup berths now decided, all that’s left to be settled is who will join SFC Pegasus in being relegated to Division 1. Westside take on Columbus at the Point Grey turf on Saturday afternoon, with a point enough for them to stay up and send Coastal down. If Columbus come away with the victory, we’ll see an exciting relegation playoff between Westside and Coastal to see who’ll go down, so there might still be more drama ahead.
BB5 United meanwhile have a chance to make it a VMSL league and cup double on Sunday afternoon when they take on Croatia SC at Empire. Kick off is at 3.30pm.