The Vancouver Metro Soccer League (VMSL) Premier Division continues to be one of the most keenly contested seasons for a few years, with just five points separating the top four, and with games in hand in play, the battle for the title heating up and looking likely to go down to the wire.
Our last update six weeks ago saw just four points between the top eight, and while the top teams have now produced a bit of a gap between those going for the title and those battling for Provincial Cup places, you can be sure there will be a lot of twists and turns in the season run in, as this past weekend’s results showed.
VUFC Hibernian continue to lead the way, but just by a solitary point over Columbus FC. It’s a lead that could have been more but three draws in their last five matches have cost them dearly, but an influx of UBC Thunderbirds players in the New Year could see them launch a fresh charge.
They’ve been made to battle hard over the last two weeks, dropping four points following a pair of back to back draws.
They headed to Burnaby Lake on Friday November 24th to take on Inter EDC and led twice, before being pegged back in stoppage time in both halves in a 2-2 draw. Patrick Braun gave them a 21st minute lead in that one, but Andres Rojas Rodriguez sent the teams in level with an equaliser from the spot. Mario Kovacevic looked to have given VUFC a late winner nine minutes from time, but Inter fought back to grab a point in the 92nd minute through a wonderfully cheeky backheel goal from Tyler Dhillon.
You can see our highlights of the match below:
That draw then set up a tantalising encounter last Sunday, a battle of the top two in the division, as 2nd placed Columbus FC headed to the UBC South turf to take on the league leaders of VUFC.
It wasn’t a game for the ages, with a pretty uneventful first half, but things certainly livened up in the second half as VUFC Hibernian had the ball in the net three times, but only one of them counted as they had to come from behind to salvage a point in a 1-1 draw.
Alan Camacho fired Columbus into the lead two minutes before the hour mark, but an 82nd minute leveller from Henri Godbout saw the top two have to settle for a share of the spoils and fail to get a foothold on the division.
And you can also see our highlights of the match below:
VUFC Hibernian have still only lost twice over the season, the joint lowest in the league, but their four draws have stopped them getting any breathing space at the top, with Columbus, Coquitlam Metro-Ford Wolves, and defending champs BB5 United breathing down their necks.
Columbus sit second and have a game in hand, a win in which would see them leapfrog VUFC into first.
They’ve been on a tear, led by former Whitecap Emiliano Brienza, who is also leading the Golden Boot race with 14 goals. Columbus have recruited very well and have added recently released WFC2 player Simone Masi to their backline, and with another former Whitecap Andre Baires also in the team, and adding three goals from the back as well, they are certainly a team to watch heading into their final 10 matches.
Coquitlam Metro-Ford Wolves sit third, four points back of first, and they missed a chance to close the gap at the top when they were dismantled 4-1 by Inter EDC at Cunnings Field on Friday night. Massud Habibullah, who sits second in the VMSL Golden Boot race, took his tally for the season to 12 with a hat-trick, two of them from the spot, while Andres Rojas Rodriguez also got on the scoresheet for Inter.
Back-to-back defending champions BB5 United have had a mixed time of it since coming back from nationals. They sit fourth, five points off first but with three games in hand.
They will still be many people’s favourites to complete the threepeat, but with just two wins from their last six matches, and two defeats in their last three, they need to get some of that exciting team chemistry going again. They certainly have the firepower to do it.
They were outplayed by relegation-threatened Rino’s Fury on Friday night at Ken Woods Field at UBC, going down to a heavy 4-1 loss after a fantastic Fury performance.
Athos di Siqueira fired Rino’s ahead with a nice finish from the edge of the box in the 38th minute and four minutes later, Eoin McCormack headed home a second to give the Fury a two-goal lead at the break. Kazuki Nakanishi drilled home a low 20-yarder to make it 3-0 in the 53rd minute before Rafael Jorge made it four in the 77th. Farivar Torabi got a late consolation for BB5 four minutes into stoppage time.
You can see Sports Revolution’s highlights of the match below:
Rino’s had started the season slowly, but the addition of some key college players looks to have the team turning a corner and they will hope to push on from that now as they try to avoid the drop. They currently sit four points from safety, one above Westside, who might start to be cut adrift if they can’t turn things around quickly.
All the other teams will fancy themselves in the running for a Provincial Cup spot, setting up an exciting final third or so of the season.
Here’s what the VMSL Premier Division table looks as follows after the Week 13 action:
There’s another big set of games coming up with Premier matches over Friday and Saturday this weekend. Here’s what’s on the slate:
A reminder, you can get all of the results, fixtures, and standings across all of the divisions at VMSLsoccer.com