Gorge breathing down unbeaten Vic West’s neck as top two battle in VISL looks set to go down to the wire

Gorge breathing down unbeaten Vic West’s neck as top two battle in VISL looks set to go down to the wire

It’s been six weeks since our last Vancouver Island Soccer League (VISL) Division 1 round-up here on AFTN, but what a month and a half it’s been at both ends of the table.

Unbeaten league leaders Vic West have seen their lead at the top cut from five points to just one by Gorge, with both teams banging in goals all over the island (Vic West have scored 26 goals in their six games, while Gorge have hit 27), while at the other end Victoria Highlanders not only got their first points of the season on November 4th, they’ve won four of their last five matches to drag themselves off the bottom and outside of the relegation places.

With five league matches left, there’s a lot of exciting football ahead to close out the season, as we head into the last week of action in 2023.

The most recent action saw another weekend of decent weather, another weekend where all games were played in the VISL top tier, Division 1. Of course, we were happy to share the weekend with Christine Sinclair, and trust she made it out to a game or two up and down the Island while she was here!

Friday started out with a shellacking, very much like what Canada did to Australia, as Gorge took care of Nanaimo 6-1. Gorge had goals from Cody Gysbers, Hatim El Azhari, Evan Louden, Griffin Leach, and a double from Hussen Sayed. The lone marker from Nanaimo, at home at Merle Logan Turf, was from Andres Algarin. Sayed picked up MVP honors for Gorge while Miguel Banting was the man for Nanaimo.

Friday also had Vic West shutout Bays Utd 2-0 in the Oak Bay Municipality. Vic West goals were from one of the leagues all-time highest scorer himself, Patrick Nelson, and also scoring was this years current scoring leader, Ian Whibley. Earning the shutout for Vic West was keeper Michael Asong. Whibley was named Vic West Man of the Match, and Sylvain Taghaoussi for Bays.

Saturday got started with a little upset as Comox Valley came south and defeated Cowichan Axis 2-1. Comox goals were scored by Kalem Lindstrom and Markus Ciastkowski. Cowichan’s only goal came from Kwasun Cook-Thomas. Colin Knight was named Cowichan MVP, while Morgan North was the man for Comox.

Another upset/come from behind victory on Saturday saw Victoria Highlanders defeat Powell River Villa 3-2. Villa goals scored in the first half by Caiman Duggan and Niko Cristante. Highlander goals were all scored in the second half by Samuel House, Yanive Solomon, and Zidane Mwinyi on the last kick of the game. Villa MVP was Jake Kenmuir, while Zidane picked up honors with the Highlanders team.

Saturday wrapped up with Lakehill defeating Westcastle by score of 3-1 at Starlight Stadium. Lakehill goals from Sergio Duran, Kevin Perez, and Craig Gorman. The solo from Westcastle was courtesy Patrick Elliot. Souleymane Ly was Westcastle MVP while Kevin Perez was named as such for Lakehill.

So, after all the scores were updated, here are how the VISL Division 1 standings look:

Vic West continues their drive to remain undefeated and are atop the standings with Gorge at their heels.

It is almost at a point of them clinching the top two spots mathematically. One more win for each team will guarantee them a top two finish. Spots 3-6 are only separated by four points, and chances are that three of those teams will earn a Provincial Cup berth, so lots on the line there.

There was some movement at the bottom of the division as Westcastle now occupies the bottom spot with Powell River one win ahead of them.

There were some movements on the individual leaderboards this past weekend, starting with the goal scoring race.

The Golden Boot leaderboard still has Ian Whibley of Vic West atop the heap, with linemates Salem Almardy and now Patrick Nelson working his way up as well.

Here is that Green dominated listing:

There was also some movement on the Golden Gloves leaderboard for most clean sheets.

Vic West keeper Michael Asong pushes up, but still trying to catch Whittla of Bays and Matsuba of Gorge.

Here is the listing for most shutouts by keepers:

The final week of top flight amateur men’s soccer for 2023 is now upon us.

Friday gets rolling in Oak Bay as Bays Utd host Victoria Highlanders. This will be a tougher match than what the standings currently say. The Highlanders are on a much better path than the beginning of the season. This could be an upset if the Bays team decides to take a night off and not put in the work.

Friday will have another good match, this one will be at Starlight and Lakehill is hosting Cowichan. A more rare “home game” for Lakehill as they typically play out of Braefoot. They are hoping that the Canadian Women’s National team’s result rubs off on them and gets them a very important three points. Cowichan will come down and battle the Reds.

Saturday gets started at Vanier Turf as Comox Valley hosts division leading Vic West. This will be a tough match for the home side, but they will be fully staffed. Road trips throw a wrench into things at times, so Vic West will need a good compliment of players to ensure they get the valuable three points.

Next up on Saturday is Gorge hosting Powell River Villa at Hampton Park. Gorge will be looking for retribution as a draw vs Villa is the reason they are not in 1st place right now. This will be a tough road trip for the Powell River squad, hopefully their numbers are solid.

Saturday, the weekend, and the 2023 year wraps up with Westcastle hosting Nanaimo at Starlight Stadium. Both teams will be looking for points and for different reasons. Nanaimo is on a 5-game losing streak and Westcastle would like to get out of the cellar.

Here’s the full slate of Division 1 matches for this weekend:

Thanks for supporting local grassroots soccer – and the players that work, live, play, and go to school in your community. A reminder you can find all the results and fixtures, across all the divisions, at VISL.org.

Authored by: Vince Greco

VISL Executive Director

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