VMSL Round-up: Leaders Rovers Tigers United come from behind as rivals falter
Just when it was looking like season long leaders BCT Rovers Tigers United were being reeled in, the Surrey lads showed a lot of fighting spirit to re-take sole occupancy of the top spot in the Vancouver Metro Soccer League (VMSL) Premier Division, as the chasing pack faltered.
It was another exciting, and at times surprising, weekend of VMSL action, with a lot of twists and turns in both the championship and relegation races, and goals galore.
The Match of the Week took place at Memorial Park on Saturday afternoon as BCT Rovers Tigers United headed to Vancouver to face Club Inter in a battle between first and third.
Inter were sitting seven points behind Rovers Tigers heading into the match, but with two games in hand after postponements for their appearance at October’s Nationals in Surrey.
A win would have given their title hopes a huge boost and when Milad Mehrabi shot Inter ahead in the opening minutes of the match, it looked like Rovers Tigers dip in form may be set to continue, having only picked up one point from their previous two matches.
It was an end to end, fast paced, first half, with both sides creating chances. Inter just edged it, but you felt they would rue the fact that they didn’t add to their lead and that’s exactly what happened.
Inter came out fast for the second half and had a good chance to double their lead, but it was Rovers Tigers who struck next when Arjan Grewal fired home the equaliser in the 50th minute, burying a rebound from close range.
Inter almost retook the lead immediately after a neat one two was just inches away from an outstretched leg in front of goal. Former TFC man Nick Soolsma was proving to be a real handful for the Inter defence and he fired the visitors into the lead in the 71st minute, collecting a pass from Ryan Dhillon just inside the box before turning superbly and hitting a low one home.
Chetan Jhooty thought he had added a third for Rovers Tigers with 11 minutes remaining with a nice bicycle kick, but the flag bizarrely went up for presumably offside, which didn’t really seem possible, and the leaders had to settle for the 2-1 victory and a huge three points.
Duncan Nicol was at Memorial shooting the game for us. You can find his photo gallery of the match on Flickr and see a slideshow below.
We also captured both Rovers Tigers goals on video, along with a number of other highlights. Unfortunately we didn’t get Inter’s goal on video (nearly, we got the celebration!), but there’s a lot of other good action from a great game. So have a watch.
The victory extended Rovers Tigers lead over Inter to ten points, although the Vancouver side do still have those two games in hand, but it also saw them regain the outright lead in the Premier Division after joint leaders Pegasus were shocked at home by bottom side EDC FC Burnaby on Friday night.
Nicolas Budisa, who was with the Whitecaps U16s last season, got the only goal of the game as EDC moved out of last place and made the relegation dogfight a lot more interesting after their stunning result.
Pegasus will be furious with themselves after working so hard to narrow the gap at the top these past few weeks and are now back chasing their Surrey rivals.
Croatia SC now have third place all to themselves after a comfortable 4-1 win over CCB LFC United on Friday night. The Malamura brothers led the way with David grabbing a brace and Mark adding another. Janez Vrenko got the other goal for Croatia, while Amar Takhar found the net for CCB.
The big winners of the weekend were Rino’s Tigers. Buoyed by the recent addition of a number of SFU Clan and UBC Thunderbirds players, the Tigers thumped Richmond Hibernian 7-3 thanks to a hat-trick from Whitecaps Residency alumni Connor Glennon (pictured below) and a brace apiece from TSS Rovers’ Connor MacMillan and the Clan’s GNAC Rookie of the Year Matteo Polisi.
Brad Caldwell, Marcus Brougham, and Theo Lorenz found the net for Richmond, who also saw Cameron Stokes sent off.
Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves continued their resurgence on Saturday, coming away with a 2-0 win at Westside. Lucas Krivak and Justin Wallace did the damage for the defending champions.
That was Metro Ford’s fourth straight win, and their five match unbeaten run has seen them move up to seventh in the table and back in the mix for a Provincial Cup place.
There was a goalfest at Empire on Saturday afternoon as Campo Atletico and West Van played out a wild 3-3 draw.
Having shocked West Van in the opening match of the VMSL season, Campo were out for a repeat, but had to settle for a point in the end.
Edson Castro (pictured above) grabbed his seventh of the season for Campo, with Jonathan Ruvalcaba and Luan Ares getting on the scoresheet as well for the home side. Keith Jackson, Markus Nickol, and Nicolas Morello found the net for West Van.
All of those results leave the VMSL Premier Division standings looking like this:
NVFC Norvan Lions stunning romp to the Division 1 title continued unabated at Burnaby Lake on Sunday afternoon. They made it 12 wins out of 12 with a 2-0 win at Burnaby Selects White Eagles.
The Lions lead at the top currently sits at 10 points, as Guildford FC moved back into second place following a 2-1 win at Binger’s Army on Wednesday night. That much needed win coming on the back of Friday night’s 3-1 loss at home to NVFC Norvan Storm.
Burnaby Metro Athletic also slipped up this past weekend, going down to a surprising 3-0 defeat to ten man Rino’s Fury on Friday night. That loss dropped them down to fourth in the standings, with ICSF Columbus leapfrogging them after their 4-1 win at FC Romania on Saturday.
Those results see one point separating the teams in second to fourth, although Guildford have played an extra game, and the battle for the second promotion place is going to be a cracker over the remaining ten games.
Here’s how the table is looking:
In Division 2A, Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi’s quest for back to back promotions saw them move into top spot following their 6-2 win at home to Astro FC on Sunday. Previous co-leaders 13th Legion fell two points off the pace after they could only draw 2-2 at Meraloma on Saturday.
Vancouver Greencaps remain unbeaten at the top of Division 2B, maintaining their eight point lead over second placed Gastown following their 3-1 win at Sarajevo on Sunday.
Westside FC Black Aces, West Coast Saints, and Vancouver Greencaps B, lead the way in three Division 3 pools.
There’s another cracking round of matches coming up this weekend. Get out and watch some local football if you can. You can find all the latest news, results, fixtures, and standings on VMSLsoccer.com.