The top of the VMSL Premier Division got a lot more interesting after last weekend’s Week 12 action, although maybe that’s more just wishful thinking for a real title race than a realistic take on proceedings.
Either way, defending champions, and seemingly runaway leaders, Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves dropped their first points of the season at Empire Field on Saturday afternoon and saw their lead at the top of the Premier reduced to just three points, albeit with having three games in hand on second placed Rovers Tigers United.
Coquitlam’s 100% record has finally gone at the ninth time of asking, although they still remain undefeated after playing out a tough 1-1 draw at second bottom ICSF Columbus. Metro Ford dominated much of the proceedings, with Carlo Basso grabbing Wolves’ goal for his ninth of the season, but they couldn’t find the breakthrough for the winner after Steven Deblasio found the net for Columbus.
That draw allowed Rovers Tigers United to close the gap at the top following a 3-2 win over Club Inter at Newton on Sunday afternoon. The VMSL’s leading scorer Nick Soolsma (pictured above) took his tally for the season to 13 with another brace, with Joey Brar grabbing their other goal. Milad Mehrabi and Michael Nonni grabbed Inter’s goals.
Those results set up a rather tasty look clash at Coquitlam Town Centre on Friday night as the top two battle it out at 8pm. If Metro Ford get back to winning ways, you can just about give them the trophy now, but a win for Rovers Tigers United would pull them level on points and at least make things interesting during the run-in.
The highest scoring game of the weekend came at Newton on Friday night and it was a real barnstormer with Croatia SC eventually coming away 6-4 winners over Pacific United. It was the Malamura brothers show with David hitting a hat-trick and Mark grabbing a brace, taking both of their tallies for the season to six. Paris Gee got Croatia’s other goal. Those scoring exploits were eclipsed by Pacific’s Taj Sangara however, who grabbed all four of his side’s goals on the night, but to no avail in terms of the final result.
Elsewhere in the Premier, the third and fourth placed teams played out a 1-1 draw at Ambleside on Friday night. Colin Phillips scored for West Van with Whitecaps Residency alumni Declan Rodriguez grabbing his eight of the season for Richmond Hibernian.
Pegasus beat EDC Burnaby 2-0 and Westside beat bottom side North Delta by the same scoreline in the other Premier games this past weekend, all of which leaves the current standings as follows after Week 12 of the season.
Division 1 continues to be filled with excitement and a tight race for the promotion places.
Rino’s Tigers lead the way on 21 points following a hard fought 2-1 home win over GN Sporting Club on Saturday afternoon. That victory gave the Tigers a little bit of breathing space at the top and a two point advantage over second-placed CCB Guildford, after the Surrey side surprisingly dropped two points at home to FC Romania at Newton on Friday night.
Our match of the weekend came at Point Grey on Sunday, with the latest meeting between bitter rivals Rino’s Fury and Campo Atletico. There’s certainly little love lost between the two sides and management, and the Fury got further revenge for last season Provincial B Cup final loss with a narrow 1-0 win, their second victory of the season over Campo.
Rino’s were happy to allow Campo possession and look to hit on the counter and take advantage of set pieces. It paid off, with the only goal of the game coming in the first half when Hazuki “Ziggy” Halliday blasted home a loose ball from a corner.
The win moved the Fury up to fifth place in the standings, level on points with fourth placed Atletico and four points off the top spot. This weekend’s match at home to third placed Norvan Lions on Sunday should be a cracker, with NVFC coming away 4-1 winners over Metropolitan this past Sunday to sit two points off the top of the table.
Try and catch some of this enjoyable promotion battle if you can over the coming weeks. It’s only going to get more exciting as we get down to the final few games of the season.
The same goes for the promotion battles in Division 2.
Burnaby Metro Athletic kept their lead at the top of Division 2A in emphatic fashion with an 11-0 hammering of bottom side PCOV Europa on Friday night. That win boosted their goal difference considerably and they maintain a two point lead over 13th Legion who came away with a narrow 1-0 win at Vancouver Strikers on Saturday.
Snipers FC also remain in title contention after a 2-1 home win over NK Hrvat, that leaves them five points off the lead but with a game in hand.
It’s even tighter in Division 2B, with two points now separating the top four sides.
Burnaby Selects White Eagles moved to the top of the table on 25 points after a 1-0 win at Unicorns FC on Saturday. NVFC Norvan Storm kept up the pace one point behind after seeing off Harps 1-0, while last week’s leaders Shaheen fell to third after only managing a 1-1 draw at home to Gastown.
The big winners of the week were Vancouver Greencaps who moved up to fourth place, two points off the lead, after two wins in five days – 6-0 over Tanoa Lobbans on Saturday and 2-1 over the Unicorns in a magical rescheduled Wednesday night match.
In Division 3A, Royal City’s 7-1 thumping of Ante Up United on Thursday night saw them continue to have a one point lead over Westside Juniors, while Cliff Senior Cobra continue to lead 3B by three points over Bosna SC, with a game in hand. Unbeaten Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi continue to lead 3C by eight points, after a bye week.
There’s some cracking games coming up across the divisions this weekend. We hope to take in a couple, and you can find the full schedule HERE.