Div 1 [VMSL Div 1] Predictions, Results & Banter 2018/2019

Discussion in 'VMSL' started by Regs, Aug 28, 2018.

  1. ref44

    ref44 Member

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    Any time any of our teams have had him. No matter what division. He is an arrogant shitty ref.
    We have had sending offs reversed because even by his own hand he wrote that our player was maliciously taken down from him. Lol. There was no foul or card handed out by him but we got booked. When the report was read the discipline committee reversed it.
    Matt bisset May be a good guy off the field but I have no idea but on the pitch. He should have been swallowed.
     
  2. Canucks4Ever

    Canucks4Ever Well-Known Member

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    The table is finally starting to become stratified in Division 1 as Burnaby Selects and Columbus are now clear favourites to go up. Coquitlam are in the neighbourhood but, of course, cannot be promoted anyway. After than it is a drop off to the mid table teams through the top eight and you can see that, overall, goal difference is a good indicator of where the teams stand given we have a decent portion of the season to use as a sample size. Ninth place Inter need to figure out if they belong with the mid-table group or the teams below fighting it out for promotion. Can anyone make a major move to shake up the table down the stretch? We shall see.

    Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 14

    Columbus v Club Inter EDC
    After dropping a pair of points with a draw against Rino's, Columbus were pushed likely a bit harder than they might have thought against relegation threatened NorVan. It took a late winner to ensure they pocketed all the points but, in the end, the result is all that really matters in a promotion fight. Notwithstanding Coquitlam, the Italians are six points up on promotion and we be looking to at least maintain that against another team flirting with the relegation battle. The once "Italians", "Chinter", are currently seven points clear of the drop. Their form has been wildly inconsistent, but it looks like they should have just about enough to stay up. Inter have not really been simply brushed aside by their opposition as they seem to be in most games, but it appears that they lack the cutting edge to find the crucial goal at the crucial moment in order to tilt the match their way. They will likely have their looks again this week against Columbus, especially if Columbus are not quite at their best. That being said, I would expect the promotion hopefuls to make sure they find a way to put another win on the board.

    Westside v NorVan Storm
    A big derby win for Westside last week, picking up a 3-0 over rivals Rino's. Meanwhile, NorVan just missed getting something off of Columbus, losing late 3-2, and will surely be confident as they are set to face an opponent who they have already taken points off of this season. So both teams then likely fancy their chances in this one. The draw these sides put up when they played back in Week 3 stood as NorVan's only point until a month ago when they rattled off three straight wins to climb out of last place and then the relegation places entirely. That win streak was snapped but Columbus last week, but it was still a solid performance from a team that has clearly turned a corner. They will want to get back to winning ways as soon as possible to avoid being caught by the teams below them and if they continue in their current form they should have every chance to do just that. Westside will likely be almost as please about their win over Rino's as they no doubt were about getting back to their defensive prowes with another clean sheet. The Kerrisdale based side had given up seven goals in their previous two outing after only giving up seven goals all season leading up to those games. Assuming they are back to their resolute ways at the back, expect a cagey affair here. Can one side emerge with all three points? It is likely to come down to a bounce or a moment of magic. Too close to call here so let's make it a draw.

    Vancouver Greencaps v Burnaby Selects White Eagles
    MOTW here with Greencaps still hovering on the edge of the promotion race and White Eagles looking to ensure they stay firmly in first place. It has been an excellent first season in Division 1 for the 'Caps and the Irishmen can enjoy their coming holidays knowing that safety is all but mathematically confirmed. They Vancouver boys have taken advantage of winnable games on their schedule and actually sit only six points back of a shock second consecutive promotion. A closer look at their success though reveals that six of their seven wins have come against the bottom four. Those results are certainly a necessity if you plan to stay in the league, but they will need to beat the top teams as well if they are to take a serious run at back to back promotions. Regardless of how it came to be, and you can certainly only beat the team in front of you on the day, Greencaps are now in a position to challenge at the top and knocking of the top side this weekend would certainly be a message of intent. White Eagles look like the class of the league at the minute and a pair of victories to close out their 2018 portion of their schedule would all but solidify their place in Premier for next season. They once more lead the division in scoring, this season though, they have been much tidier at the back and that is what really installs them as favourites to go up. Now the test will be keeping their focus through a stretch of the schedule that can become somewhat mundane. They have shown their pedigree so far this season and answered every challenge though Greencaps have nothing to lose in this match given that they are playing with house money at this point. It should make for some entertaining football and I expect a few goals and a handful of full blooded tackles from a pair of sides who have never back down from a chance to leave one in on a guy. The league leaders are favourite, but perhaps an upset could be on the cards.

    Romania v Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi
    Things have gone pear shaped for Romania as they once more find themselves in the drop zone and in the midst of a losing streak. It is now five on the spin without anything to show for their efforts. The goals have also become hard to find again, having only tallied four times in their last six outings. It was a needed return to winning ways for Lupi last week as they put up a 4-1 rout of GN Sporting, denting the Surrey side's promotion hopes. This win came on the back of an 0-1-2 stretch, which is easily the worst stretch form that Lupi have ever experienced during their short history. Happiest of all with this turn of events was likely the VMSL brass, who can hopefully enjoy the back half of the season without fretting over a team that cannot get promoted looking odds on to finish in the top two. Lupi may yet reel in one of those top two places, but, certainly there seems to be other sides very capable of winning promotion after the Tri-Cities boys spent most of the first half of the schedule atop the standings. As far as this weekend is concerned, now that they are back to winning ways, lowly Romania should be relatively straight forward.

    GN Sporting v Rino's Fury
    Both sides come into this one on the back of lopsided losses. GN's 4-1 turning-over at the hand of Coquitlam means that they are now six points back of promotion and it is starting to look like a tough ask. Rino's were beaten by derby rivals Westside, but they have shown the ability to bounce back before and, of course, they are not concerned with a promotion race. For once it is not the Surrey/Delta side who have some availability issues coming into the weekend as it is Rino's with a couple of names on the hot sheet this week. Most troubling for the Vancouver side is that they will be without leading scorer Ryan Arthur whose six goals account for a quarter of their offense. GN showed up at Point Grey back in Week 3 and swept the Fury aside in a rather straight forward 3-0 win. Rino's will certainly be looking to avenge that loss this time around, but a short staffed trip to Delta on a Saturday night does not exactly jump off the page as a recipe for success. Add in the fact that GN will need to play desperate in this one to keep their promotion hopes alive and, while Rino's are certainly capable of a result, I think Sporting have to be favourites.

    Burnaby Metro Athletic v Binger's Army
    Neither of these teams is having the season that they would have hoped for to this point. Now the question remains, can either of them salvage it? Binger's left their escape late last season, but this year it is starting to feel just a bit different. A bizarre abandonment at 1-0 down to potential relegation rivals Inter and then a last minute dagger to lose a point to Greencaps last time out has to be taking a toll on the psyche. Certainly the Army will never give up the fight, but they are starting to run out of runway, sitting five points back of safety and rock bottom as we approach the holiday break. Burnaby meanwhile were expecting to contend for promotion and it all started off so well as they opened the season with three straight wins. It went off the rails after that though, with Athletic going six without a win. Somehow the league did not get away from them and they looked to be back in with a shout until a backbreaking 1-0 loss to NorVan two weeks ago. They bounced back with a narrow 2-1 win last week over Inter, but these are hardly results that inspire confidence of a late season promotion push. They are seven points back of promotion at the minute and a loss to the Army would all but finish them off. They should have enough to get the job done at home against Binger's but the Army are discounted at your own risk. I doubt this one will be easy on the eye, but I think Metro will emerge with the points here.
     
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  3. Leblue

    Leblue Member

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    Columbus with a big win
     
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  4. Canucks4Ever

    Canucks4Ever Well-Known Member

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    With just one final set of fixtures before the holiday break, the promotion race seems to be almost decided. White Eagles and Columbus are in the driver's seat and it will be entirely within their power to see out the remaining games on top ones the calendar page turns. At the bottom Binger's and Romania have now been cut adrift somewhat by the rest of the pack and will be spending the holiday break in the drop zone. Can they climb out in the New Year? Points this week would certainly help...

    Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 15

    Binger's Army v Columbus
    A win for NorVan combined with the Army's 5-1 defeat to Burnaby Metro last week means that the division's longest serving members are now eight points back of safety. Despite a miraculous New Year's recovery last season, an escape is looking increasingly unlikely this time around. The Army are well off the pace at the minute having lost nine straight games and failing to register a single point since their lone victory at the start of October. Things are not set to get any easier with promotion hopefuls Columbus on deck this week. The Italians rolled to a comfortable 5-2 win over Inter last week and are a reasonably safe seven points up on promotion. A mid-week fixture with a couple of names on the VMSL's naughty list may not be ideal for Columbus, but the now Burnaby based side should likely still have enough in the tank to see off the struggling Army. Certainly if they are planning on coasting to promotion a win over last placed Binger's is a must.

    Club Inter EDC v Westside
    Inter are on this curious streak at the minute of losing two and then winning one. Based on that form, after loses to Burnaby Metro and Columbus, they are due for a win against Westside. It is certainly not outside the realm of possibility after Westside were upended 2-1 by resurgent NorVan last time out. Both these teams currently sit lower mid-table, though "Chinter" will likely be keen to register a few more points in order to continue to move clear of any lingering relegation threat. Westside's season is quickly approaching mid-table obscurity and irrelevance as, barring a major slump or an incredible run of hot form, their place in Division 1 is all but assured for next season. Not too much to get the temperature rising in this match as both sides are no doubt looking forward to the winter break. Toss up here; Westside sit slightly higher in the table and won the first meeting 2-0 so I will say it goes that way again.

    NorVan Storm v GN Sporting
    GN's failure to score in their 0-0 draw with Rino's last week has all but ended their promotion bid. They now sit eight points back and will need a fairly substantial drop in from from Columbus or White Eagles in order to have any reasonable hope of rekindling their pursuit of Premier. Fortunately for the Surrey/Delta boys, it appears unlikely that they will be drawn into their seemingly perennial relegation battle, meaning that it just about recreational play from here on out. It will be intriguing to see what kind of interest level the players have from here on out and a Saturday night trip to the North Shore right before the holiday break should be a good indication of their commitment the rest of the way. NorVan are hot, having won four of their last five and are pulling away from the drop zone. They cannot afford to take their foot off the gas just yet though as they only have a five point cushion at the moment. A potentially indifferent GN side at home likely presents another good opportunity to put up some points. Look for a motivated NorVan side to come away with all three points here.

    Rino's Fury v Romania
    No goals for Rino's to show for their efforts over the past two outings, so it is a perfect time for them to host Romania who have given up 45 goals so far this season, easily the most in the division. However, despite their poor defensive record and current place inside the drop zone, Romania once again showed signs of life last week coming from behind twice in a surprise 2-2 draw with Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi. This result halted a run of five straight losses but, unfortunately, Romania still lost ground in the relegation fight. It would have been easy to simply throw in the towel after a brief push towards safety, bit it seems as though the Europeans will be up for the fight until the end. They will need to start putting up some wins in a hurry though if they are to avoid being completely left behind, with the other teams at the bottom showing the ability move up the table. Rino's have been known to be unpredictable in terms of what sort of team or effort they muster on a weekly basis. The first meeting between these sides produced Romania's joint heaviest defeat of the season though, a 7-1 drubbing back in October. It is never a slam dunk with the Fury, and if Romania carry their fighting spirit out to Point Grey with them on Sunday they should be in with a chance, but Rino's remain favourites in this one.

    Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi v Burnaby Selects White Eagles
    This one is the MOTW with first playing third. Life is good for the White Eagles at the minute as they are on course for their first return to Premier since the then Serbian White Eagles were relegated circa a decade ago. Their offense continues to role along after a 5-0 win over Vancouver Greencaps last weekend, and continues to the lead the league with 38 goals scored in 14 games. Perhaps more importantly though, that was their fourth clean sheet in their past five outings, having allowed just a single goal against over that span. Their defense is now the joint second best in the division which would point to the Burnaby boys having championship pedigree. Coquitlam started the season in a similar fashion, sitting atop the table and looking very much a team that knew how to be winners. Of late though, Lupi have fallen off somewhat, dropping points at an astonishing rate for them. Currently they have just one win in their last our matches after what is potentially their most surprising result of the season, dropping points in a 2-2 draw with second bottom Romania last week. Perhaps it is the usual self-correction that promoted teams from Division 2 experience around this time of the season after hot starts in Division 1. Or maybe the realization that the team, as it currently exists, is incapable of earning promotion and thus has peaked, so to speak. Whatever the case their performance on the field is suffering. That being said, the Tri-Cities boys are one of the few teams to have beaten the White Eagles this season, so they are clearly capable. The question now is, are the motivated? Will they get up for the occasion and a chance to do the double against the league leaders? Or will they be content just to turn up and play allowing a hungry Burnaby side to continue their march towards the title? It should be interesting to see what sort of game this fixture produces. I have to think White Eagles will have another gear here, come the crucial moments where these types of matches get decided, but we will have to wait and see.

    Burnaby Metro Athletic v Vancouver Greencaps
    It looks likely to be a bridge too far for Burnaby Metro to climb back into serious promotion contention, but their win over Binger's last week has now moved them into the position of closest challenger. They are seven points back of Columbus, which means it is not impossible, but they will need to be practically perfect from here on out. White Eagles and Columbus are in control of their own destiny come the stretch run, but it is amazing what a bit of pressure can sometimes do to a team, which might just give Metro a sliver of hope. Certainly a similar result to their first meeting with the Greencaps, a 2-1 loss, will not help them in that regard. The Irishmen are coming off their largest defeat at this level following their promotion, a 5-0 thumping by White Eagles. While a shock promotion bid was always unlikely, that loss ostensibly confirmed it for Greencaps. Still, as a newly promoted side, to be all but confirmed safe by Christmas is an impressive accomplishment. They can now take the chance to play spoiler to Burnaby's fading promotion hopes, a role that the 'Caps will no doubt relish. Expect a feisty affair in this one, but I am not sure their will be a winner.
     
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  5. Canucks4Ever

    Canucks4Ever Well-Known Member

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    Unlike in Premier, Division 1 is looking more and more like it has already been decided. Certainly a few key results could see things all wrapped up before the end of the month, however, often times a New Year brings a new hope for some sides, so perhaps there is still time for a twist or two in the tale. Certainly with this first week of fixtures coming as many are still on holidays, some teams may be caught out at less then full strength and as teams become more and more resigned to a mid-table finish, results can become unpredictable. Let's find out what's in store, shall we?

    Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 16

    Columbus v Burnaby Metro Athletic
    This one is easily the MOTW as it represents essentially our last shot at a promotion battle. After starting strong and being preseason favourites to contend for promotion, Metro hit the skids and were woeful, going six matches without a win and threatening to become nothing more than a promotion afterthought. However, they have reignited their season and are currently embedded in a good run that has seen them win five of their last six, including closing out 2018 with three victories on the spin. They are now seven points back with seven games to play and could close that gap to four points with a win this week. The flip side of course being that Columbus can all but lock up promotion back to the top flight with a win. That would make the gap ten points with six to play and only a monumental collapse would see the Italians fail to return to Premier after a two year absence. Columbus are certainly the form team in the league at the minute, having not lost since Week 1. So plenty on the line here then and a cracker of a match to get back into the swing of things in the New Year. I expect a desperate Burnaby side to throw everything they have at their hosts, but based on the run Columbus are on at the minute, there's simply no betting against them.

    Burnaby Selects White Eagles v Rino's Fury
    The other side looking to cruise to a long awaited return to Premier is Burnaby White Eagles. They have not graced the top flight since they were known as Serbian White Eagles, but they have looked odds on to get back to the top flight for some time now. Their offense continues to be the most potent in the division and they boast four players with five goals or more, lead by Matlash Vladyslav who has notched 10 so far this season. They are a big physical side with speed and a killer instinct which is everything that you need if you plan to get promoted. A run of nine wins out of ten, with their only blemish being a loss to fellow promotion hopefuls Columbus, was brought to a halt right before the break when they were held to a 3-3 draw by Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi. Lupi seem to have the number of the Burnaby boys this season, having previously beaten them, and surely the White Eagles will be happy to see the back of Metro Ford. Other than Columbus again, it sets up as smooth sailing for the former Serbians the rest of the way, having already beaten each of these teams in their original encounter. Thus their fate is firmly in their own hands and their first hurdle of 2019 is a Rino's side that has long known that they would finish mid-table. With no ability to get promoted anyway, based on their club affiliation, Rino's just aim to finish as high up the table as possible each season. They are certainly capable of results off of top sides, having taken four points of Columbus this year, and White Eagles would do well to give them their full attention. Also, Burnaby have been booted off of their usual Sunday evening home kickoff at Burnaby lake and forced to play Friday night at Empire, perhaps adding to the chances that they are not quite fully prepared for this one. They will of course remain favourites, but Rino's are a wild card so you never know.

    Westside v Binger's Army
    It is getting pretty close to now or never time for the Division's ever-presents, Binger's. Indeed NorVan's resurgent form has made the task all the more difficult and, should it continue, it would leave Inter as the only real possible team capable of being caught. Just a solitary win for the Army so far this year, though fortunately for them it came via this week's opponents, Westside. If ever there was a time for Binger's to start their resurgence, it would surely be against a team that they know all too well and have already had success against this year. Westside have embarked on a rebuilding campaign and have had enough success to all but assure them a mid-table finish. They will certainly be keen to avoid donating further points to the league's basement dwellers and will likely arrive motivated for this one. It could be a case of which side can field the more completely squad with Binger's, notorious for prioritizing their weekends with family as evidenced by their Wednesday night home kickoffs, perhaps still on holidays and Westside, often bolstered by university students, potentially running into the same problem. I would not expect a pretty one here. I'll tip Westside based on the table, but would hardly be surprised to see Binger's come away with something as they try once again to pull off the great escape.

    Greencaps v Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi
    Perhaps Santa brought the VMSL exactly what it wanted most for Christmas a bit early when Lupi's league leading form fell away and they dropped out of the promotion places. While not entirely out of the conversation for a top two finish, Lupi are now seven points off the pace and looking more and more comfortable finishing mid-table. This helps the league avoid the awkward position of having to potentially promote the third place team in the division, based on their rule about clubs not having more than one side in Premier, which would have been a less than illustrious position for a league that considers itself the best in the Province (and perhaps the entire country at this level...). Coquitlam remain formidable opponents though and will likely continue to have a key role to play in the promotion battle down the stretch. Newly promoted Greencaps have all but mathematically assured themselves of another season at this level and, while always keen for a battle, seem to have lost that "new league" spark that carried them to such a great start to their campaign. This showed in their 2-0 loss to Burnaby prior to the break and, as another side who enjoys their time off, it would not be surprising to see them at less than full strength this weekend. Indeed, irrespective of anyone's vacation plans, they have another pair of name of the VMSL's naughty list and will be making further donations to the league's discipline fund. It's never going to be a walkover against the Irish lads, but I expect the Tri-Cities boys to do the business in this one.

    Romania v NorVan Storm
    The first meeting between these two provided Romania with a lifeline to safety and looked to potentially be a damaging blow to NorVan who started the season poorly. Of late though, it has been a complete 180 for the North Shore crew as they are one of the form sides in the division and are now eight points up on Romania and the drop. Rumours of a coaching change and management reshuffle are said to have sparked the Storm out of their slump and they went into the break on the back of winning five out of six. Another win here against ailing Romania would all but assure them of safety and a chance to reset for next season. Romania's only point in their last seven matches came, somewhat surprisingly, via a draw with Coquitlam, so clearly the Europeans are capable of a result on their day. They will know the importance of these points and know that, when they desperately needed to during their first meeting, they were able to deliver the win. They are also at home which should improve their chances of fielding a relatively full strength squad. However, this is clearly a much different NorVan team from the reverse fixture and they are sizzling hot at the minute. The North Shore boys have to be favourite but expect a desperate Romania side ready to scrap and claw for anything they can get.

    GN Sporting v Club Inter EDC
    GN look set to potentially be the Romania of last season this year. That is the team that surprises everyone out of the gate, delivers some big results against big time promotion contenders, contends for promotion themselves briefly and then shuts down the engines and coasts to a mid-table finish. With just three goals and a single point to show for their efforts over their last for games, the Surrey/Delta side look to have fully abandoned their promotion challenge, now 11 points back. Inter, on the other hand, do not have the luxury of coasting towards anything as three straight losses, and five losses in their last six, have left them hovering on the edge of a relegation battle. True, they do still enjoy a six point cushion, but they certainly will not be keen to see it eroded any further. While GN may not be going at it hammer and tongs, they are certainly willing to take a result when it comes their way. Like any other team that is struggling, Inter can likely expect commitment issues, especially for a trip to North Delta the first weekend in January. This one seems likely to come down to which side gets their players to turn up. Toss a coin; GN are likely slight favourites at home but I'll call this one a draw.
     
  6. Canucks4Ever

    Canucks4Ever Well-Known Member

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    Columbus 0-1 Burnaby Metro FT

    Looks like there will be at least a bit of a promotion race after all.

    Burnaby Metro were up for this one right from the kickoff with lots of energy. Their high press pinned Columbus in for the first 15 to 20 minutes and, while they created plenty of looks at goal, they were unable to make their territorial advantage show on the scoreboard. Columbus played themselves into the match and though Burnaby still were creating chances when they were getting forward, the home side had by far the best chance of the first half. On a play that was questionable for offside, the Columbus winger broke in down the left and put it on a platter for their attacker who was alone, dead centre from seven or eight yards out. Somehow the Burnaby keeper got enough of a hand on the finish to tip a sure goal over the bar. At Metro continued to create openings going forward, the half ended with the Burnaby coach warning his players that they had "better take one of these chances..."

    The second half continued in much the same vein as the first (though I will confess to having devoted part of my attention to the Inter/Rino's game that had kicked off on the upper field) and Burnaby continued to pile up the half chances. In truth Columbus looked the more lethargic of the two teams and they also seemed to be missing bodies, one of which appeared to be their keeper though the replacement, who I would assume was part of their Masters group, was more or less up to the task. The winner would come deep into injury time with practically the last kick of the game. A long ball down the right, again close for offside but it did look to be on, and then a cut back and finish. The result may have been harsh on Columbus but was likely fair given the amount of chances Burnaby created on the night.
     
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  7. Canucks4Ever

    Canucks4Ever Well-Known Member

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    Sources tell me that it all popped off between Rino's and White Eagles.

    Burnaby up 3-1 with 25 or so to go when their captain/centre back AND goalkeeper get sent off for their reaction to a tackle by a Rino's player. Mass confrontation of the referee ensues; match abandoned.

    Will be VERY interesting to see how the league deals this one up as it could have promotion implications especially after Burnaby Metro's win over Columbus tonight.
     
  8. big gk

    big gk Active Member

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    Sadly I think the Army dynasty in div 1 is coming to a close. after our 8th one goal game loss it’s almost mathematically over. at least in div 2 you don’t have to pay for linesmen.
     
  9. ref44

    ref44 Member

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    The norvan/Romania game was stopped twice today as the lights went out first 17 minutes in. We waited 15 mins they came back on and then went out again with 30 minutes remaining. This time we went home as they were to go out again at 8pm we were told. I see the league standings has it as a game played but it can’t be. Romania was up 1-0 at the time. It was crappy as we had a couple players show up and were getting ready to enter them in the game. Included in that time played they had a player blow out his knee so there should be that time added on. As well as the two bookings.
    We will see what the league does.
     
  10. Canucks4Ever

    Canucks4Ever Well-Known Member

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    Excellent site seems to have it listed as incomplete. Stands to reason last 30 will be played with same rosters etc.
     
  11. ref44

    ref44 Member

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    Ya I called Geoff as soon as I saw it was posted as a completed game.
    Oh it’s nice to be back again. Lol.
     
  12. Canucks4Ever

    Canucks4Ever Well-Known Member

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    Well what a difference a week makes. Just when things were starting to look relatively settled Burnaby Metro keep the promotion race alive with a win over a rusty Columbus side and White Eagles lose their minds, and now the points, against Rino's. The league has officially awarded Rino's a 3-0 win over White Eagles in a game that they were trailing 3-1 in with 25 minutes to go. For the former Serbians, it is an inexcusable lapse in judgement that they will hope does not cost them dearly down the stretch. It still looks to be a three team race with Burnaby Metro now four points back of BOTH White Eagles and Columbus; though with matches still to be played between the sides down the stretch, it is not impossible for one of the midtable sides to climb back into the conversation. It would be a tall order sitting eight to ten points back at the moment, but suddenly it is not entirely out of the question. Meanwhile at the bottom the relegation battle is hotting up with Romania left clinging to a 1-0 lead over NorVan with 30 minutes still to be completed in that game and another massive fixture on the cards this week!

    Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 17

    Binger's Army v GN Sporting
    Another crushing loss for the Army last time out as they were edged 3-2 by Westside. Things are indeed starting to look bleak for the Div. 1 mainstays, though, there is still hope. The line to safety has not moved with Inter still only nine points ahead, but time is certainly running out. The reason that line did not move this week is because GN dispatched Inter 2-0 at home. They now have to travel mid-week from Surrey to play the Army and questions remain around whether they will be up for it. If Romania don't hold onto their 1-0 win over NorVan then GN are already mathematically safe. Realistically, with clashes still to come between the bottom teams and points, therefore, to be dropped, the Surrey/Delta side are not going down and they can just run out the clock if they so choose. However, after both top sides dropped points last time out, Sporting are once more only eight points back of the promotion places. True, that is a bit of ground to make up, but they do still have a trip to Columbus and the top sides also still have each other to play, again meaning points to be dropped, so it is not entirely beyond possibility. That being said I just cannot see them getting up for that kind of a battle down the stretch. After years of staving off relegation, often at the absolute last time of asking, safety before the end of January probably seems like reward enough. A Wednesday night trip to Vancouver and without their suspended influential centre back Kamal Gill, who formerly plied his trade with the FVSL Champion Coastal (North Delta) set up, seems like a tough one for which to get motivated. On the other side of the ball, while certainly down on themselves at the minute, I cannot see Binger's going down without one last almighty kick at things; that's just never been the way the Army does things. The first meeting between these sides out in Delta was a narrow 1-0 win for GN (one of the Army's six defeats by a single goal) so they will know there is not a massive gulf in class here, even if there is a decent amount of space between the sides in the table. I think all the factors are there for a desperate Binger's side to get something out of this one; GN would be the safe bet but my gut tells me the Army will pull off the upset.

    Columbus v Vancouver Greencaps
    Evidently Columbus are slow starters as, coming back from the holidays, they lost their first match since Week 1 when they fell 1-0 to a late Burnaby Metro winner. They will hope there start to the New Year is not as slow as their start to the season, which was easily their driest spell of the campaign so far, as they began the campaign with a 1-3-1 record. Ironically it was their reverse fixture with Greencaps that saw them shake off those early season cobwebs and begin their assault up the table with a 3-1 win. Greencaps are all but mathematically safe, meaning that the rest of the season the pressure should be off. They picked up a solid 2-0 win over Coquitlam in their return from holiday and will surely be up for a chance to mess with the Italian's promotion ambitions. Unsurprisingly, the Irish lads find themselves with a couple of names on the VMSL hot sheet, so they won't be at full strength this week. Regardless, Columbus will need to be much sharper than they were against Metro if they want to avoid risking a further setback in the table. Based on everything they have shown so far this year, Columbus are surely favourite to bounce back in this one. Still, Greencaps should not be taken lightly so expect a nip and tuck affair.

    Club Inter EDC v Romania
    We find the MOTW at the bottom this weekend with a massive relegation six-pointer between Romania and Inter. Romania are clinging to a pulse in the relegation fight while Inter are clinging to the edge. "Chinter" have lost four in a row and six of their last seven matches. Their only respite was a game they were leading 1-0 over Binger's when the referee abandoned the match. By all accounts it was the Army who cause that game to be abandoned, so the Burnaby boys should get to keep those invaluable three points; still though, there are not many signs of life coming from this season's newly merged juggernaut. Relegation now looks to be down to just four potential teams. Binger's look almost done and dusted already and will require a minor miracle to stay up. NorVan looked to be pulling away and still might be if they can salvage their game against Romania in the 30 minutes that are still to be played. Thus leaving us with the two sides who are set lock horns this weekend. If Romania do hold onto their lead against NorVan then they would be on 11 points, just three back of Inter. That means that a win this week would pull them level with the two sides set to decide who stays and who goes based on their respective records over their final five matches. Strength of schedule over those last five matches is similar; Romania have games against Columbus and Burnaby Metro while "Chinter" are still yet to play White Eagles and Lupi, though Coquitlam seem less of a powerhouse at the moment than they were early in the season. Head to head, the Italian-South Americans got the best of the Europeans when they met back in October and have slightly better offensive numbers. They also have a superior goal difference, though that can be essentially attributed to four lopsided loses Romania suffered and, as we all know, is ultimately irrelevant in the VMSL when it comes to the final standings. This one may not produce the most spectacular football of the year, but it should surely provide some of the most desperate; which can sometimes be the most entertaining. As for a winner, based on their respective forms this season I will pick neither and say this one finishes level, ultimately not particularly helpful for either side!

    NorVan Storm v Burnaby Selects White Eagles
    Both of these teams were involved in bizarre finishes last week. As mentioned previously, White Eagles completely lost the plot and cost themselves three points when they forced the abandonment of their match against Rino's. Presumably they will have learned their lesson and will be back to focusing on their promotion bid, however, they will do it this week without goalkeeper Savo Bogicevic and captain Novica Pavic; the latter of whom's services they may be without for an extended period depending on the outcome of his discipline hearing. So while Burnaby will be favourites, this potentially opens the door for NorVan. The Storm were one of the top form teams in the league heading into play last week, having won five of their previous six matches. They looked to be on a full blown charge towards safety, but were struggling to deal with Romania last time out and, indeed, were down 1-0 when a lighting issue forced the match to end prematurely. Now anything might have happened, and, of course, still may happen, during that final 30 minutes. Notwithstanding that though, the performance hardly inspires confidence that the North Shore boys can turn around and knock off the league's top team. Again, the suspensions do raise some questions for Burnaby and, as such, this one is a little bit less straight forward. That being said, I think White Eagles still have to be the favourites here.

    Rino's Fury v Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi
    While they came away with three points last week, Rino's were headed towards defeat against White Eagles before a completely unforeseeable sequence of events saw a pair of Burnaby players sent off and the match abandoned. Meanwhile, Coquitlam continued their indifferent form with a 2-0 loss away to Greencaps. It seems a long time ago now that Lupi looked to be an unstoppable force as they sat atop the table with multiple attacking threats sitting high up the goal scoring charts. Much hand wringing ensued regarding what was to be done when this group that, based on the current rules could not be promoted, surely finished among the top two places. Now a top two finish is not necessarily off the cards entirely for Coquitlam, they remain seven points back after both the top two failed to earn anything this week, but it would take an abrupt return to form to get them back into the picture in a meaningful way. They have just a solitary win to their name since the end of October and have gone 1-3-3 during that span, a sharp contrast for a team who had lost only two matches in the previous twelve preceding months. Can they get back to winning ways this week? Tough to say given that Rino's are about as unpredictable as any side in the league. Toss a coin here; it just depends who comes to play on the day. I'll turtle and call it a draw.

    Burnaby Metro Athletic v Westside
    It was their game of the season last week as they desperately tried to save their promotion hopes and, and the seconds ticked away, their prayers were answered. A stoppage time winner gave Burnaby the points in a 1-0 win over Columbus, putting them just four points back of the Italians in the hunt for a place in Premier. Meanwhile, because the soccer gods act in mysterious ways, Metro were handed another gift when White Eagles threw away their win against Rino's in favour of some ill conceived idea of frontier justice. That brings Metro within four points of their local rivals as well, with their derby match still to come plus Columbus and White Eagles still having to meet once more before things are all said and done. This means that the promotion race is now well and truly on and is likely to come down to which side slips up against one of the mid-table sides that they still have to face. Metro would do well to guard against a let down game this week against Westside after the emotion of their thrilling last minute win. Westside saw off Binger's 3-2 at the weekend which, for all intents and purposes, ensured that they won't be beginning their rebuild with any threat of back to back relegations. The Vancouver side will likely be playing loose and free which, as anyone who knows sports will tell you, can sometimes be the rock that smashes the team with everything on the line's scissors. The reverse fixture between these sides produced one of only two 0-0 draws in Division 1 so far this season. If Burnaby are to make certain that all their hard work and good fortune from last week is not wasted, they will need to find a way to crack through Westside's defense this time around. Hopefully for them, leading scorer Farivar Torabi will have the key to that particular lock. He had the crucial marker for Metro against Columbus and now leads the division with 12 goals on the season. This should be an intriguing one to watch with so much on the line for Burnaby; they are definitely favourites given their recent form, but it has all the hallmarks of a trap game so definitely one worth keeping an eye on.
     
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