It was another weekend of twists, turns, and lead changes in the Vancouver Metro Soccer League (VMSL) Premier Division.
By the end of it all, Rino’s Tigers regained the top spot thanks to a stunning five goal performance from striker Farivar Torabi, who took his tally to the season to 13 goals following a clinical display at Burnaby Lake on Saturday night.
The game of the week took place at Ambleside on Saturday afternoon as league leaders, and defending champions, Croatia SC travelled to take on third place West Van FC.
Croatia had leapfrogged West Van into first place last weekend and headed into this one with a two point lead. With both sides having conceded a league leading low of just eight goals each so far this season, there was always going to be little between the two teams and so it proved.
In the end, Michael Winter’s fourth goal of the campaign 35 minutes in was all that separated the sides, giving West Van a 1-0 victory and sending them, albeit temporarily, back to the top of the table.
That was a position they were to hold for only three hours, with Rino’s Tigers regaining the position they had held for most of the season after they thumped Guildford FC FASA 6-2 in Burnaby thanks to a virtuoso performance from the now Golden Boot leading Torabi.
The opening exchanges were end to end and it was FASA who got themselves on the scoresheet first when Ibrahima Basse headed home a floated diagonal ball to the back post in the 23rd minute. Their lead was to last just over 60 seconds, however, before Tigers’ leading scorer Torabi swept home his ninth of the season to bring Rino’s back level.
Torabi made it two for the Tigers in the 36th minute when he rose well to head home, as Rino’s started to dominate the play, but FASA also had their chances in the closing moments of the half but were denied by some strong Tigers goalkeeping.
But there was still time for Tigers to add to their tally and Vuk Ceranic got onto a low free kick to the near post in first half stoppage time to send Rino’s in with a 3-1 lead.
Torabi completed his hat-trick in the 54th minute when the ball was headed down to him from a deep corner, and the striker made no mistake from close range. Just over a minute later he had his fourth, and Rino’s had their fifth, when the FASA keeper spilled the ball right at his feet and he had the easiest of tap ins from a few yards out.
Two minutes after that Torabi went nap, firing home a sixth for the rampant Rino’s. He nearly grabbed his double hat-trick midway through the half but his deflected free kick cannoned off the right post for a corner and the same post denied him again in the 75th minute when he ran in on goal on a quick breakaway.
Credit to FASA though, they kept fighting and got their second of the night with eight minutes remaining when Basse grabbed his second of the game, finishing a cross into from the right with aplomb. They had a couple more chances to add to their tally in the closing minutes but again the Tigers goalkeeping kept them at bay and they had to settle for a 6-2 loss.
You can see Torabi’s standout performance and the FASA v Rino’s match in its entirety in the video below.
Rino’s now sit one point behind Croatia SC in second place and two points ahead of both West Van and BCT Rovers Hurricanes.
It was a battle of the last two Canada Soccer Challenge Trophy winners at Newton on Friday night as 2018 champs Hurricanes hosted this year’s champs CCB LFC United. It was the 2019 winners that grabbed all three points with a 2-0 victory in this one thanks to early goals from two players selected in the MLS Super Draft in recent years, Jovan Blagojevic and Mamadi Camara.
Blagojevic got things off and running for CCB five minutes in and five minutes after that, Camara doubled their lead. That was to be the end of the goals, but not the drama, as both teams finished the match with ten men following a coming together five minutes into the second half that led to CCB’s Camara and Hurricanes’ Navkaran Bains both seeing red for violent conduct.
Goals from Azad Palani, Chetan Jhooty, and Eric Ray gave SFC Pegasus a 3-0 victory over Burnaby Selects White Eagles at Newton on Friday night, keeping them in fifth place, two points ahead of Club Inter EDC Burnaby who saw off NVFC Norvan 2-0 thanks to goals from Graham Smith and Kiya Darbandi.
Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves made it back to back wins to move four points clear of the relegation places with a 3-1 win over bottom side ICSF Columbus, who are still looking for their first win of the season.
Carlo Basso continued his good run of goalscoring form with his seventh of the season in the win, with Andre Pietramala and Joseph Powell also on the scoresheet for Coquitlam. Columbus’ top scorer Adriano Negri scored his sixth of the season for the Italians in reply.
And all of those results leave the VMSL Premier Division standings as follows.