Div 1 [VMSL Div 1] Predictions, Results & Banter 2019/2020

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While the VMSL's top flight is stealing most of the headlines, as it well should, Division 1 is about to serve up some top of the table tilts as well. The teams are all jockeying for position as we barrel towards the halfway point of the season. Who will be in the promotion places come the schedule turning over? We are starting to get an idea...

Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 9

GN Sporting v Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi
It is second hosting third in what is most definitely the MOTW. After a hot start that saw them win five of their first six matches with just a lone loss to blemish their record, Lupi have recently slumped to two less than impressive draws against mid-table sides Rino's and Sierra. This is somewhat reminiscent of their form last season when, after a fantastic start that saw them lead the league into November, they had a dreadful second half of the season and finished mid-table themselves when all was said and done. Perhaps their form has something to do with their inability to get promoted so long as Wolves remain in Premier, though this season that team has not started well and might end up in a relegation battle. If that were the case suddenly Lupi might be in a position to go up, though sources report that is not a focus for this group, who are much more content with a somewhat more recreational pace. GN, on the other hand, know they can go up if they earn that right and with a few players who have top level experience in the FVSL or on the fringes of teams in the VMSL's top division, that is surely a step they would be keen to take. Unfortunately, consistency has long been the issue for the Surrey/Delta boys and that seems to be the case once again this season. They too only had one loss through the opening six weeks of the season and it came against leaders UBC. That being said, GN had been riding their luck somewhat, scoring late goals to win matches and getting the rub of one or two refereeing decisions. All that luck ran out when they inexplicably drew against last place Santos who were without a point to their name when the sides kicked off. The got back on track against the other bottom team, Greencaps, last week but it was a narrow 1-0 win and they left it pretty late once more. On the one hand you could day that GN must have the belief that they can always find a winner; on the other hand you might say that it hardly inspires confidence when your result is always on a knife edge. This should be a top contest and one that probably means just a little bit more to GN than Lupi given the potential promotion ramifications. That being said, it just feels like Lupi are the more consistent team and if GN are expecting to pull one out of the fire late, Metro Ford might not be the kind of team to give them that chance.

Richmond Hibernian v Vancouver Greencaps
Things have been improving of late for Greencaps after just a woeful start. They have picked up a couple of points but they are still mired in the relegation places. They play NorVan next week in what looks to be a must win match, even this early in the season, especiall if NorVan get the job done against Santos this week. Despite their disheartening record, the Irish lads have not exactly been played off the park in their matches, they just cannot seem to find the crucial goal at the crucial time. They put in another good performance against second place GN last week, but were once more on the wrong side of the odd goal, losing 1-0. It will not get any easier against free scoring league leaders UBC this week. "Richmond" were rather inexplicably held to just a 1-0 win themselves against last place Santos, but that was likely an anomaly. One would have to assume that they will be at full strength at home on campus on a Friday night. This one should be fairly straightforward.

NorVan Storm v VAFC Santos
All of a sudden this is a very intriguing match up. After being the punch line of the division through the first four games of the year, in the last four Santos seem to have finally found a formula that works. It might not be a formula for success just yet, but it least it is a formula for respectability and competitiveness. They have allowed only one goal against in each of their last four matches, were apparently unlucky not to earn a point against Sierra when they had a late penalty saved, did earn a point in a draw with second place GN the next and then held league leaders and rampant attackers "Richmond" to just a 1-0 last week. This progress would seem to have them well poised to face a NorVan side who are just barely teetering above the drop zone. Of course, the Storm know the position that they are in and will be well aware that this is a full on relegation six-pointer. The problem for NorVan is they are bleeding goals at the minute. They have conceded 18 in their past five games which makes it 22 total for the season, the second most in the league ahead of only Santos who have given up 28. However, as mentioned, 24 of those were in the first four weeks and of late they have been much tidier. The big issue for Santos is they still are not scoring goals. So it is a team that cannot score against one that cannot defend, making it very tough to pick a favourite. If I had any confidence in them being able to score a goal I might well make Santos the favourites here as I think they can genuinely win this game. If I believed they were capable of scoring two goals, they would be a slam dunk. NorVan, on the other hand, knowing that a win in this game is likely to result in a five point cushion on relegation with a chance to grow that even bigger next week against Greencaps, might well be able to will this one over the line especially at home. No idea here. Call it a draw.

Club Inter EDC Burnaby B v Westside FC A
Having already played the top sides, Westside are now traipsing through the bottom half of the table. So far so good as well as they come into this match on the back of a pair of wins over lower half teams and are unbeaten in their last four matches. With the teams above them playing each other over the next few weeks, Westside has a chance to make a move up the table if they can hold their nerve against the sides below them. Inter may have struggled to begin the season, but they seem to have steadied the ship of late. They have picked up seven points over their last five matches while only conceding seven goals in that stretch. These points have allowed them to climb to safety and the relegation battle is not a major concern just at the moment. It also appears that they have found a goal scorer with Andres Mauricio Rojas Rodriguez now up to six goals on the season, including one in their 2-2 draw last time out against Strikers. That Strikers result was likely Inter's best performance of the year as their two wins have come against the bottom two sides. That being said, they did throw away a two goal lead in that match, so it is not all good news stories for Chinter. Westside will counter with a six goal man of their own as Justin Lee scored again in their 3-1 win over NorVan last time. Westside will need another similarly solid performance if they are to take home the points this week as they are the favourites, but this is by no means a free hit.

Westside FC Sierra v Burnaby Metro Athletic
A quick glance at the schedule might lead you to believe that Burnaby Metro are in a similar position to Westside A in terms of having the chance to make up some ground on the table over then next few weeks. However, a closer look at their schedule reveals that they are yet to play the top teams in the division at that GN and UBC are on deck for the next two weeks. So, yes, Burnaby have a chance to move well up in the table, but it will not come from beating the teams at the bottom of the league, to do it they will need to beat their other sides in the top half of the table. This starts with Westside Sierra who sit sixth, two points behind Metro. Newly promoted Sierra have got their feet well under them at this level and while they are not likely to climb seriously into the promotion race, they are certainly solid opponents for every side they come up against. Case in point, last week they held title challenging Coquitlam to a draw on Lupi's home turf. Burnaby really need these points if they are to position themselves to stay in the promotion fight with big tests coming down the pipe. Tipo Conteh looks to be the man who has stepped into coach Farivar Torabi's shoes and will carry the offensive load for Metro as he is up to six goals on the season. Sierra, meanwhile, hold the dubious distinction of being the only team in the division with anyone suspended this week as they are missing both Pablo Clinaz, their second top scorer, and Armin Khadem Fini. Certainly they will put up a good resistance and they are capable of a result, but I think Metro are slight favourites in what is almost a must win game for them given the table and their upcoming schedule.

Rino's Fury v Vancouver Strikers
We are beginning to reach the stage of the season in Division 1 where we know some teams are pretty much locks to finish mid-table and that looks to be the case for these two teams. Could they go ice cold and drop into the relegation battle? Possibly, but that would also mean the teams below them have to get hot. Could they go on a tear and get into the promotion places? Technically, but already nine points behind and with several teams in their way it is highly unlikely. No it is all but certain that Rino's and Strikers will be back again in Division 1 next season and with the two sides sitting seventh and eighth respectively, this one is a fairly "meh" affair. Rino's are always capable of a result, but they have been stuck in first gear so far this year. Strikers are not a juggernaut but they are useful in front of goal, particularly Gavin Lytton who is their six goal man. Look for them to bang in a couple in this one and that should probably be enough to get them all the points this week.
 
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With the exception of first place Richmond, all of the sides in the top half dropped points last week meaning that while UBC might be running away with the title at the top, the race for the second promotion spot has gotten even tighter. There was a first win of the season for Santos as well at the bottom of the table which means that we also have a relegation battle going. The halfway point of the season is on the horizon so things are beginning to get serious and with the division looking very evenly matched it seems likely that it is going to be a battle all the way to the end this year.

Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 10

Vancouver Strikers v Westside FC Sierra
Three straight 1-1 draws, including their most recent match against Burnaby Metro, have made Sierra the joint league leaders in that department. It certainly points to the tenacity of the newly promoted side to make games difficult for their opponents, but they are likely noticing that while not losing is great for morale, draws are not wins. A win and two losses would have netted them the same number of points as their three draws which would explain why they are losing ground on the top of the table. This week they face the other newly promoted side, Vancouver Strikers, who sit just two points behind them in the standings. While both these teams look like they have already shown enough to be confident of have another season at this level, both would obviously like to continue to pick up points though and will be happy to do it at the expense of their promotion cousins. The differences between these two sides are stark. Sierra, as discussed, are a cagey tough out, where as Strikers prefer to try and score their way out of trouble. The Vancouver boys have scored almost twice as many goals as Sierra, with leading scorers Gavin Lytton and Bryan Da Cruz having as many together as Sierra has a team, but they have conceded seven more times. So it would appear to come down to which side will be able to impose their will on the match. If it opens up into an offensive slug-fest, look for Strikers to take the points, if it is a close run, nip-tuck affair then Sierra would seem the more likely to find the crucial goal. Tough to say which way it will go so I will simply turtle and call it a draw.

Club Inter EDC Burnaby B v Rino's Fury
A solid performance for Chinter last week saw them take the points off promotion hopefuls Westside. The win move EDC six points clear of the relegation fight and all signs point to them staying well away from that dog fight. Chinter definitely needed a few weeks to get their feet under them this season, but since their first three games, all losses, the Burnaby boys have been highly competitive, though they have not always had anything to show for their efforts. All signs point to that pattern continuing the rest of the campaign. Rino's are level with Inter in the table and their form this season could best be described as ambivalent. With only two wins on the year, both against relegation candidates, Rino's seem far from a powerhouse. However, they are more than capable of producing results as evidenced by them holding Coquitlam to a 2-2 draw. They also drew by that same scoreline with relegation threatened Greencaps though and then again in their last match against Strikers. This makes Rino's a team that is tough to get a read on and one that you definitely will not want to take lightly. They are at once both dangerous, while at the same time, eminently beatable. Inter should be feeling good after their win over Westside and at home on a long weekend when Rino's may not field their best team I will make them slight favourites.

Westside FC A v VAFC Santos
Certainly a loss to lower mid-table Inter was not what Westside had in mind when all the teams around them dropped points ahead of their match last week. It was a golden opportunity scorned that would have moved the Westsiders into third place with the chance to climb further given the other top teams continue to clash this weekend. Should they fail to earn promotion, they will not need to look much farther than that defeat for reasons why during their postmortem. There is no time to sulk though, as they must now prepare for the tricky task presented by newly revitalized Santos. After showing genuine progress following their latest merger, Santos finally earned their first win last time out against NorVan. It lifted them off the bottom of the league onto level footing with the North Shore boys in what looks set to be a three-team relegation scrap between those two and Greencaps. It is certainly too early to start making Santos a favourite in matches, however, they will surely be confident going into this match and even a point could make the difference come the final tally to determine who stays in the league.

Vancouver Greencaps v NorVan Storm
Still without a win on the season, Greencaps now find themselves propping up the table. It is tumultuous times at the club who after double promotions two seasons ago for both their A and B sides, are currently staring at the possibility of double relegations with their Division 2 side also in last place. Fortunately for their A group at least, they have an immediate chance to climb off the bottom when they face NorVan. The North Shore boys have only one win to their name on the year and are currently in the midst of a six game losing streak. Before coming up against the top two sides in the league over the last two weeks, Greencaps had looked to be on the up, earning their first points of the season in back to back draws. They will need to not only recapture that form, but also to better it as they desperately need a first win of the season. Historically long weekends have not been kind to the Greenmen with a team laden with players on tourist visas who like to get out an explore the best BC has to offer when they get these chances. It will need to be all hand on deck though this weekend as only a win will do.

Burnaby Metro Athletic v GN Sporting Club
Given this match is a clash between a pair of teams with genuine promotion ambitions, this one is the MOTW. Both these sides were held to draws last weekend, but as no side made up any ground on the promotion chasing field it was a case of no harm, no foul. Burnaby have been chasing the promotion places ever since they were held to a draw in Week 1 by NorVan. A win this week would pull them level with GN in second place. At the same time, GN certainly have no interest in relinquishing a spot they have occupied since day one of the season as well, meaning both side should be plenty motivated for this one. All the teams in the promotion battle are fairly even statistically speaking with similar goal differentials. GN look to perhaps be plateauing somewhat though, as they have only managed to score a single goal in each of their last three matches. Burnaby themselves are not that offensively inclined though, having scored more than twice on just one occasion this season and that came against a pre-merger Santos side. While this match will certainly have plenty of determination and will, but it may not have the style to back up the occasion. As mentioned, things appear to be pretty even between the two teams. Of course, being a long weekend, GN may not travel at full strength what sets up as a chilly Sunday night. Still, with all the parity in the league at the moment, this one looks to well poised for a draw.

Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi v Richmond Hibernian
Perhaps the most frustrating result for Lupi this weekend was not their 1-1 draw with GN when they had a chance to move into second place with a win, but Wolves 2-0 win over FASA in Premier. That win moved Lupi's big brothers out of the drop zone in Prem, meaning that once more Lupi are sealed in at the Division 1 level. Last season a similar fate led to Coquitlam losing steam through the latter portion of the season, beginning at around this point of the campaign. A long weekend fixture against the league's top team could well lead to some ambivalence in the Metro Ford camp. At the same time it may also be the perfect time to face UBC. A long weekend trip all they way to Coquitlam on a Sunday night cannot possibly tick many boxes for their squad, so, perhaps, they will be understaffed and, as such, easy prey for a Lupi side that have shown they are more than useful already this year. Having increased their lead atop the division with their 3-0 win over Greencaps last week, Richmond are now well and truly the favourites for the title this season. However, it is unclear if that is necessarily desirable for their program. It stands to reason that some of the top players, including the division's current leading goal scorer, Sebastian Dzikowski, will be involved with the varsity set up next year. Presumably there will be a new crop of 17 and 18 year-olds taking their place on this reserve squad. Not sure if Premier is the place they will want to be, but one supposes that is a future problem for Mike Mosher et al. In the meantime, long weekend or otherwise their record dictates that they will remain as favourites.
 
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Has the league been notified of the incident at the GN Metro game? Went to watch the game and at some point GN went down a man. Later they made a sub without actually taking a player off. One of the spectators pointed this out to the Metro bench and they let the ref know, who shockingly didn't seem to care much. Eventually the player was told to get off the field, and he claimed he thought another player had gone off already...
A couple of guys from another div 1 team at the game were saying GN always uses ineligible players and their suspended players use other players' IDs to play, etc. How can stuff like this happen in a men's div 1 VMSL game? The league needs to take proper action.
 
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Has the league been notified of the incident at the GN Metro game? Went to watch the game and at some point GN went down a man. Later they made a sub without actually taking a player off. One of the spectators pointed this out to the Metro bench and they let the ref know, who shockingly didn't seem to care much. Eventually the player was told to get off the field, and he claimed he thought another player had gone off already...
A couple of guys from another div 1 team at the game were saying GN always uses ineligible players and their suspended players use other players' IDs to play, etc. How can stuff like this happen in a men's div 1 VMSL game? The league needs to take proper action.
Same old GN always cheating....
 

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Has the league been notified of the incident at the GN Metro game? Went to watch the game and at some point GN went down a man. Later they made a sub without actually taking a player off. One of the spectators pointed this out to the Metro bench and they let the ref know, who shockingly didn't seem to care much. Eventually the player was told to get off the field, and he claimed he thought another player had gone off already...
A couple of guys from another div 1 team at the game were saying GN always uses ineligible players and their suspended players use other players' IDs to play, etc. How can stuff like this happen in a men's div 1 VMSL game? The league needs to take proper action.
If that's true, the player who snuck on should have received a yellow card for entering the field without permission.

If he had permission to come on, then that's the officiating crews fault for giving permission without having a player come off first.
 

Canucks4Ever

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Certainly should have been booked at the least.

As for ineligible players, it is the responsibility of the opposition to protest the game. If it can be proven that ineligible players were used the consequences are high, including points deduction and fines.

The referees do not stop a player from playing but can, of course, note their suspicions/apprehensions in the game report as well as inform the other team if they like. I was at a match years ago where Kevin Uppal was refereeing and he told a team that Shaheen were lying about a who a certain player was. In the end the opponents won the game and chose not to follow through with a protest.

It is a difficult system to enforce as a referee. If a guys says yes I am player X, it is tough to say otherwise. There is no provision to force teams to produce corroborating ID and, even if there was, presumably teams determined to cheat would ensure that player has the necessary ID. Additionally, our ID check procedures are already cumbersome and I am not sure there is much appetite to be having guys bring more ID. In other parts of the world (UK, US, etc.) there is no ID check, you just hand in a team list and play.

So, short version would be it is the honour system with the proviso that the penalties for getting caught should ward off much of the appetite for cheating. For example, were GN to be caught the points deduction would be a huge blow to their promotion bid. However, given that Metro won the game, I doubt there is much incentive to protest.
 

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Has the league been notified of the incident at the GN Metro game? Went to watch the game and at some point GN went down a man. Later they made a sub without actually taking a player off. One of the spectators pointed this out to the Metro bench and they let the ref know, who shockingly didn't seem to care much. Eventually the player was told to get off the field, and he claimed he thought another player had gone off already...
A couple of guys from another div 1 team at the game were saying GN always uses ineligible players and their suspended players use other players' IDs to play, etc. How can stuff like this happen in a men's div 1 VMSL game? The league needs to take proper action.
If I recall correctly, they were docked points last season or the year before for using illegal players. Last year they were also told during card checks by an assistant referee that he knew the player wasn't the player they were claiming so they decided not to proceed playing the ineligible player. Pathetic to say the least on their part.
 

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Who will be in the promotion places at the halfway mark when we reach it after this weekend? With Richmond running away with the league, though proven human again this week, it has become a four way race for second place and boy is it tight. Of course, Lupi cannot, likely, be promoted, by GN, Burnaby and Westside all can and they are all within a point of each other. Meanwhile, there is an intriguing three team relegation battle shaping up at the bottom while the other four teams can pretty much pat themselves on the back as they appear to have solidified a mid-table finish and another year in the league already.

Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 11

Richmond Hibernian v Burnaby Metro Athletic
The newly second place Burnaby Metro will face a stiff test of their title credentials against unbeaten UBC in the MOTW this week. With their 3-1 defeat of GN last time out, Burnaby reeled in the Surrey/Delta boys and finally got their feet into the promotion spot that they have coveted for three seasons. The trick now will be holding onto it. As the last team to match up against the powerhouse league leader, "Richmond", could Metro be the answer for who will hand them their first loss? Without accomplishing that, given how close things are in the table, it would seem unlikely that Burnaby will remain in second place come the end of the weekend. For UBC all eyes will be on their roster. With the USports season now at an end, will they be picking up an first team talent. Some players from the varsity squad have already pledged their allegiance to Premier sides, but all their red shirts were forced to sign for the Division 1 outfit. Will other players be pressured to do the same? Especially those returning to play next season? Time will tell. What is likely is a much stronger "Richmond" side that drew 1-1 in Coquitlam last week as the red shirts and squad players usually accompany the team to Nationals. They should all be available this week, along with potentially the rest of the varsity squad.

GN Sporting v Vancouver Strikers
After dropping points for the third time in four matches, and the fourth time in six games since beginning the season with four straight wins, things are starting to look a little unsteady in GN's promotion race. Those early results filled with late winners may well have glossed over some fairly average performances. All of a sudden offense looks to be a key concern for the Surrey/Delta boys, as they have only managed one goal in each of their last four outings. Additionally, they have no one inside the top 13 in league scoring, with leading scorer Kamalpreet Gill sitting on three tallies for the year. They have gotten contributions from throughout the line up with 13 different players having popped up with a goal this season already, but they questions surrounding the ability to produce consistent offence during a promotion push now come to the fore. Their goal difference bears this out as well with GN sitting six goals worse off than their promotion rivals. They will surely need to remedy this if they are to have serious notions of going up to Premier. This week newly promoted Strikers make the journey to Delta on a Friday night. Sitting comfortably mid-table, it would appear they have already secured safety for this season, the first goal of any newly promoted side. They are in decent form at the minute as well as they are unbeaten in three matches and come into this one on the back of a 3-1 success over fellow promoted side Sierra. One thing that has not been a problem for Strikers is scoring goals as, win, lose or draw, they have been clattering them in. Their 26 goals for is second only to leaders UBC. Still, a long Friday night journey to play at Delsom which feels as though it is twice the size of the tight confines Strikers call home at Jericho, means that they are underdogs here. However, should they be able to score goals as liberally as they have to this point of the season, then GN might well be in a spot of trouble.

NorVan Storm v Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi
As their big brothers in Premier pull away from the drop zone, it is looking ever more likely that Lupi will be staying in Division 1, regardless of where they finish. The same cannot be said of NorVan at the minute as they are hovering just a single point above the drop zone with at least one of the two sides below them guaranteed to be picking up points this weekend. While they have scored enough goals to arguably be among the mid table sides, the problem for the North Shore boys is that they are simply bleeding goals at the back. Their 26 goals against is more than even last place Greencaps and is more than most teams have scored at the top of the table with the exception of league leaders UBC. Despite being, likely, trapped in the division, Lupi have proven time and again to be a competent outfit. Barring a complete turnaround from the Storm or Lupi completely mailing in a trip to the North Shore, this one should be pretty straightforward.

VAFC Santos v Vancouver Greencaps
There is no understating the value of these points in the relegation battle. Greencaps only managed a 1-1 draw against the third team in the current relegation triumvirate, NorVan, last week. As for Santos, they followed up their first win of the season against said NorVan side with their worst performance in recent weeks, suffering a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Westside. There is no doubt that a mid-season change in management has left VAFC in a better place than it began the season. However, now they need to start picking up points if they want to escape the mess they got themselves into. Greencaps remain the only side in the league without a win, though, fortunately for them, Santos and NorVan have managed but one each. If they cannot find a win this week, the upcoming fixture list looks bleak as, with the schedule resetting, they will tangle with three of the top five sides in the division. The smart money would have been on the Irish boys breaking out of this sophomore slump at any one of a number times already this season, based on how settled they looked at this level last year. Yet, their stuggles have persisted and, at this point, they would likely bite your hand off for a tenth place finish. Expect a couple of thoroughly desperate sided going toe to toe in this six-pointer. It also looks like a total coin toss in terms of picking a winner. Barring their last outing, Santos do seem to be in slightly better form, so let's say they edge this one.

Westside Sierra v Club Inter EDC Burnaby B
This week's mid-table encounter sees a bit of a Burnaby derby between Sierra and EDC. Chinter are hot at the minute coming off a pair of solid wins over Westside and Rino's respectively. Sierra slumped to a 3-1 defeat at the hands of free scoring Strikers last time out, but, before that, had drawn three straight matches against all manner of opposition. While it is of course still possible for either of these sides to earn promotion or be dragged into the relegation scrap, the reality is that being roughly equidistant from both at this stage of the season, likely means they will be both be back to do this dance against next year. As for this match, Chinter are hot, but it is not as though they are storming over teams and Sierra have been a tough out all season. This on looks to be well match and while the odd goal would likely win it, I think it ends even.

Rino's Fury v Westside FC A
It is always fun when these old rivals meet, though so far they are having very different seasons. Rino's are no strangers to just about every corner of the Division 1 table, but so far this year they have spent most of their time in the lower echelons. Westside, meanwhile, are in the promotion battle as they look to return to Premier after another absence. Despite this, it is likely to be a rather even match when these two meet, as there is no greater equalizer than a derby. Westside got back to winning ways last time out, seeing off Santos 4-1, while Rino's are currently without a win in five matches after losing 3-2 to Chinter, though they have picked up three draws over that run. The Fury also have a couple of names on the hot sheet this week with Jack Grant and joint leading goal scorer Vikram Puri set to miss out. Westside certainly have to be the favourites, but have made a habit this season of losing at unpredictable moments. It is a pattern that could well cost them come the final tally in the New Year. With Rino's taking up the mantle of Binger's Army as Div. 1's stalwart franchise, they would no doubt love to emulate a former Army trend by throwing a wrench into the title race and, especially, against their local rivals.
 
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This Week's predictions
Richmond Hibs vs BMA: BMA with the upset here 2-1. Hibs boys still thinking about their poor showing at U-Sport Nationals... again
GN Sport vs Van Strikers; GN win 3-0 while using some questionable players/subs during the match
Norvan Shower vs Metro Ford Lupis: MF drop a 7 bomb on them as the Norvan showers are looking a Div.2 team next season
VAFC Santos vs Greencraps. : Never thought I would say this Santos going for a 2 game winning streak... Santos 2-0. St.Patty's day can't come son enough for the Greencraps... Luck of the Irish will not keep them up this year.
Westside B vs Chile Inter: have to go draw here, you just don't know what you are going to get with either team week to week.
Rino's Fury vs Westside A.: MOTW Derby match here. Over/under on cards is 7, I will go over and take Rino's Fury 3-2
 

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At the halfway point it is UBC and Westside in the promotion positions. That said this race is incredibly close and with even UBC looking perhaps beatable, anything could happen between now and the end of the year. Things also remain totally up in the air when it comes to the relegation battle as Greencaps finally recorded a first win of the season. Perhaps things will be clearer by upcoming Winter Break, though I would not count on it.

Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 12

GN Sporting v Club Inter EDC Burnaby B
This week is serving up mostly top against bottom match ups, but if there is to be an upset this match look to be the mostly, so we'll call it the MOTW. GN really cannot afford to be dropping points to teams below them in the table, but after they were well beaten at home 4-2 last week by Vancouver Strikers, their promotion challenge is in danger of grinding to a halt. That is back to back losses for GN and three matches now without a win, plus they have only one win in their last five games. As stated previously, the telling stat is their goal difference which, after being shaved down to a lowly plus-one after their loss to Strikers, is well off the pace of their promotion rivals. Chinter seem to be heading in the other direction. Yes, they lost a close one to Sierra last week, but they had gone three matches without a loss prior to that set back. While nobody is suggesting they will be climbing into the title conversation, it is likely safe to assume that they will present a stiffer test than the team that rolled over in a 5-2 loss to Sporting back in Week 1. GN's Friday night home kickoffs in Delta are not exactly glamorous, so who knows what kind of team Inter will travel with, but home field has certainly not been an advantage so far this season for the Surrey/Delta boys. They are 1-2-2 at Delsom this year, with their only success coming in Week 2 when an injury time winner got them the points against Rino's. None of these stats scream "promotion" for GN, and certainly another loss this week might well end their run as contenders. That being said, a return to playing the teams that they began the season against and had success against might be just what Sporting need to get their season back on track. Tough to tell what you are going to get out of this group on a weekly basis and opposite an improved EDC outfit it is tough to see them as solid favourites. Let's call this one a draw.

Richmond Hibernian v Vancouver Strikers
Back to back dropped points for "Richmond" has shrunk their cushion on first place to just five points. It would seem, based on last weeks home 1-1 draw against Metro, that perhaps that they are not going to be getting any varsity help. Or maybe those players just wanted a week off after travelling to Montreal to lose in the first round at Nationals. Presumably we should find out this week when they play Strikers. The newly promoted team put a jolt into the promotion battle when they beat GN 4-2 last week and find are suddenly nibbling around the edges of said promotion race themselves. Realistically contending for a spot in Premier is unlikely for Strikers, but if they hand UBC their first loss of the season this week then all bets might be off. They have certainly shown that they have the offensive fire power to contend with the top sides as their 30 goals for is second only to UBC's 34. In fact, when these two teams met back in Week 1 it was Strikers taking an early lead before Hibs roared back to win 5-2. So the Vancouver boys should be confident of scoring in this one. However, just like last time, it will be stifling "Richmond's" potent offense that will be the trick for Strikers. They were unable to do it last time around and there is not too much reason to think anything will be all that different in the rematch. True, UBC have not be clattering them in at quite the same rate as they were at the beginning of the season, having been held to just a single goal for in four of their last six, the idea that they will remain quite for much longer is probably rather fanciful. Expect goals in this one, just, in all likelihood, more for UBC than Strikers.

Westside Sierra v Rino's Fury
It was back to winning ways for Sierra as they as they picked up a first win in four games beating Chinter 4-3, despite having yet another player sent off. This was their third red card of the season with no other team in the league having more than one. They are also among the league leaders with 21 yellow cards their name, so certainly discipline is an area that the former Burnaby leaguers can target for improvement in the second half. For Rino's they will just be hoping to improve overall in the second half of the season. Ten point through the first 11 games is hardly up to their usual standards and it has to have them at least glancing over their shoulders as the relegation race below them slowly creeps closer. Speaking of red cards, the Fury had keeper Luc Birol sent off in their 4-0 loss to Westside last week that leaves them without their first choice goalie for this one. It is a mid-table clash between two side who will, probably, both still be in the division next season so not too much to sweat hear. Rino's are winless in six, though, and it is tough to see them snapping that streak without their number one between the sticks.

Westside FC A v Vancouver Greencaps
Finally a first win of the season manifested itself for Greencaps. They came out on the right side of a crazy match, 5-3, against fellow relegation candidates Santos. There does appear to be some sort of note about Greencaps using an ineligible player on the score sheet, but no information regarding whether or not Santos have filed a protest or if the league is reviewing the match. For now the result stands and the points are invaluable for the Green-men as it lifts them not only off the bottom of the table, but out of the relegation zone entirely, at least for the time being. They will be hoping to add further points to their survival bid this week, but it will not be easy against a Westside team that is firmly in the promotion hunt. The Westsiders are coming off what looks to be their most comprehensive performance of the season in a 4-0 win over rivals Rino's and that result has lifted them to second place. They will be favourites here against a Greencaps team that they beat comfortably 3-1 back at the start of the year, but Westside do seem to possess a penchant for losing at inopportune times. They have a pair of losses seemingly out of the blue this season to Sierra and Chinter and it is those sorts of result that can prevent a team from going up. A desperate and determined Greencaps side with a taste for victory is not a game they can afford to look past or else they could well find themselves looking up at someone else in the standings.

VAFC Santos v Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi
Old habits seem to be creeping back into VAFC's play. After an uptick under new management that saw them tighten up a very leaky defense and lose three tight matches 1-0, register their first point in a 1-1 draw and then record their first win over NorVan, 3-2, to, at the time, lift them out of the relegation zone, their last two outings have not been anywhere near as promising. First a 4-1 loss at the hands of Westside and now a 5-3 reversal to fellow relegation threatened side Greencaps which leaves Santos right back where they began, propping up the table. After allowing just four goals against in those first four matches with new management at the helm, it is now 11 goals against in their last three. While that is not quite the 24 goals they gave up in four games to begin the season prior to their merger, it is far from a recipe for success at this level. Coquitlam continue to play well and closed out the first with a win over NorVan. That being said, they were 2-0 down in that match before coming back to take all the points. The win leaves them tied with Westside in second, but, of course, unable to win promotion now that big brother Wolves are looking well safe from relegation in Premier. Perhaps this will again lead to some indifferent performances over the second half of the season, as it did last year. Regardless, given their success to this point, you would expect them to deliver the goods against Santos.

NorVan Storm v Burnaby Metro Athletic
After coming back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Burnaby under the lights at Swanguard Stadium back in Week 1, it seemed like NorVan would be picking up this season where they left off last year. They begun that campaign dismally, mired in the relegation battle for most of the season before righting the ship in the second half of the season to finish comfortably mid-table. Instead, it has been much more akin to how they began last year and with just one win and five points to their name through the mid-point of this year, they are once more embroiled in a relegation scrap. The North Shore boys will be hoping for a similar response to last year in order to climb to safety and maybe last week's improved showing against Lupi are a sign that there is light on the horizon. They will need to shore things up at the back end, however, as their 29 goals against is better than only last place Santos and was their undoing again last week when they let a 2-0 lead slip to lose 3-2. For Burnaby they cannot remotely be bothered with what is going on with the Storm and their relegation plight. Metro are focused once again on a promotion battle and it is a battle that they have lost the past two seasons. Having clawed their way into an elusive promotion position, they were quickly ousted from it despite what was by all accounts a good result in getting a point away to "Richmond" out at UBC. With GN looking as though they may fade somewhat and Lupi unable to get promoted, it is looking like it might well be a showdown between Metro and Westside to see who joins "Richmond" in Premier next season. If they are going to rewrite their promotion script this season though, Burnaby need all three points against NorVan this time around.
 
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Weekly predictions
GN Sport vs Club Inter EDC: GN continue their mid season slide all the way to the Delta Lion tonight... EDC 3-0 in cold frigid conditions on the other side of the river
"Richmond" Hibs vs Vancouver Strikers : Battle of the golden boot tonight out in Richmond errr UBC. Can't see the Van Strikers have enough to stop the attack of the Hibs, even with the UBC attack hibernating as of late.. UBC 4-0
Westside Sierra vs Rino's Fluff.... Westside B win easy 3-0. Furry in card trouble again....
Westside A vs Greencraps... Westside will continue their great form and hand the greencraps another nail in the coffin to relegation Westside 5-0
VAFC Santos vs Metro Ford Lupis: MF away is a coin flip here... Does Santos have their high paid coaching staff there or are they away at one of the other teams they are paid to coach??? A lot of questions in this one but have to go with MF 2-0
Norvan Rain Shower vs Burnaby Metro Athletic: Speaking of getting paid.... Can't see the BMA players being to happy after giving away the 3 points last week to UBC. No win bonus last week. They will look to fill the net and their pocket books... BMA 4-0
 
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Canucks4Ever

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No slip ups at the top last week as all the promotion contenders, along with leaders UBC, picked up maximum points. Once again all the top teams play teams from the bottom half of the table, so we will see if everyone can hold serve again the weekend.

Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 13

Club Inter EDC Burnaby B v Richmond Hibernian
It seems that perhaps UBC have injected their VMSL side with at least some fringe varsity talent with Ryan Arthur popping up with both goals in their 2-0 win over Strikers last week. After a brief uptick in form, Chinter seem to have fallen back on old habits. Four goals conceded in each of their last two matches has seen their defensive record slip to the joint second-worst, along with relegation threatened NorVan. The relegation battle is something EDC will want to keep a keen eye on so as not to get dragged into the fight themselves. They currently sit eight points above the melee, but a game against NorVan looms large next week, followed by matches against the other two teams embroiled in the scrap, Santos and Greencaps. Lose all three and suddenly the pool of combatants might well expand to include the Burnaby based side. Barring some sort of further transit strike or other issue in getting bodies to Burnaby Lake, "Richmond" will all but surely add to Inter's growing goals against tally this week, possibly in a big way, and it is difficult to see the Burnaby boys having much of an answer for it.

Vancouver Strikers v NorVan Storm
For just the second time this season Strikers were held off the board in a loss, falling 2-0 to UBC. The good news is that their potent offense should have a decent chance to run amok against one of the leakiest defenses in the league when they host NorVan this week. With just a single point in their last nine matches, relegation is beginning to look like a real possibility for the Storm. They need points however they can get them and while Strikers do give up their share of goals, getting into a shoot out with the Vancouver boys seems like a recipe for disaster. That being said, it is not like NorVan have shown they possess the ability to sit back an absorb pressure so this seems like a tough ask any way you slice it. Strikers seem destined to finish mid-table, but the shine of their first season at a new level has likely not lost its luster just yet, so expect them to relish a chance to bag another three points.

Westside Sierra v Westside FC A
Coming into this match on a three game win streak, Westside are on a heater at the minute as they look to keep hold of their promotion spot in second place. This has all the hallmarks of a trap game though against "clubmates" Sierra and given the lack of a real marquee fixture, this one is likely the MOTW. Certainly it was a trap that Westside fell into the first time around this season, losing 1-0 to their newly promoted rivals. Sierra have been tough competition for whoever they have come up against with plenty of low scoring draws and narrow games with just one goal separating the sides. In fact, their two biggest losses of the season were both by the score of 3-1, which is a testament to their compeititiveness at this level. That is until last week. Unheralded Rino's marched out to Burnaby Lake and smashed Sierra 6-1 with the the former BMSL side left with a lone penalty as consolation. A complete statistical aberration based on the rest of their season but, perhaps, as so many newly promoted sides have discovered, Division 1 is a genuine marathon and teams need solid endurance to see out the season. Westside, meanwhile, will be hoping that is a lesson they have already learned as they look to chase down a return to Premier. They will be favourites here, but against a Sierra side motivated to bounce back and a chip on their shoulder as they looking to take all six points of their "established" cousins, it could well prove a tricky task.

Rino's Fury v GN Sporting
The roller coaster up and down unpredictability that is Rino's has been on full display over the past two weeks. First they are trounced 4-0 by rivals Westside and have their keeper sent off, but then they head to Sierra without their first choice shot stopper and bang six past them for a 6-1 win. Which Rino's side will turn up this week? Flip a coin. Truth be told, GN seem to have a bit of Jekyll and Hyde in them as well. After a month or so of relatively sub par performances, the Surrey/Delta boys got their act together a saw off Chinter 4-1 last week. They are still very much alive in the promotion race, in spite of their poor stretch of form. Another such run at this juncture would surely be fatal to any hopes they may harbor of going up. They need maximum points from this match, though the first time around at home against Rino's they needed some injury time heroics to ensure the win. Heading to Point Grey on a miserable Sunday night might not be at the top of the to do list for Sporting this week and if Rino's turn up in the same for they arrived with to play Sierra last week look out! Of all the top against bottom matches this week, this one might be the most unpredictable. GN are the favourites, but will Rino's all bets are off.

Burnaby Metro Athletic v VAFC Santos
Not to begin to assert unfounded conspiracy theories, but it would not be too much of a surprise to see Santos just roll over and play dead in this match. VAFC Santos are now under the control of Burnaby Metro and have been since their much publicized early season merge that saw the departure of the enigmatic Eduardo Amitia. Of course there have been other club to have two or more (in the case of Rino's a few seasons back when they had three) teams from the same club all in Division 1 together. However, those teams all had some level of independence in terms of hands on management. Case in point see Westside and Sierra above. This meant that the teams continued to compete full out, even though many of the players knew each other well and possibly even trained together. In the case of Santos, though, they appear to quite literally be operating as a direct "B" team to Burnaby Metro, run by the same staff. So this match essentially sets up as an inter-squad game and given how high the stakes are for Burnaby in the promotion race, it is tough to see the "Santos" side being utilized in way that might get them any type of result in this match. That is not to say that the points would not be crucial for "Santos" as well, given their relegation struggles, but as it appears their future is as a supplementary squad to Metro, whether they are in Division 1 or Division 2 is likely of minimal concern. Who knows, maybe Santos will spring a surprise here, but it would be genuinely stunning.

Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi
v Vancouver Greencaps
Credit to Greencaps who have been grinding away and fighting in true Irish style for every point this season. Despite their position in the table, they continue to be difficult to play against week in week out. Last week was a bit of a set back against Westside in a 3-0 loss, but prior to that they had earned points in four of their last six. Lupi's recent performances belie a team that might well be losing interest again this season. They have won both games, but really made a meal out of it against the other two relegation threatened side in NorVan and Santos. They came from 2-0 down against NorVan to win 3-2 and then needed an injury time winner to get past Santos 2-1. Greencaps look like their lunch pale and hardhat approach should find them enough points to keep them in the league, if only just, but it stand to reason it will be a bit of a white-knuckle ride all the way to the finish line. You have to think that if Metro Ford continue to be as cavalier as they have been against the other lower table sides, Greencaps will make they pay for it. That said, a trek to Coquitlam on a cold Sunday night with the potential for some snow in the forecast suggests that the Vancouver boys might face a bit of a numbers crunch. If anywhere is going to get a dusting of snow this weekend and mess with the schedule, the Tri Cities are probably the most likely. Fingers crossed this one gets played.
 
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Fully Biased Predictions - Week 13

Club Inter EDC Burnaby B v Richmond Hibernian:
Hibs (UBC) should be back to full strength now after a few weeks post U-Sport/CIS nationals and Club inter is well they are Club Inter. Hibs 6-0 again
Vancouver Strikers v NorVan Rain Shower:
Norman falling faster than the Canucks, see they are starting to get into discipline issues as well. Strikers should be able to get a easy win at home this week. Strikers 4-0
Westside Sierra v Westside FC A-MOTW-
Westside A continue their great form and look to secure a promotion spot, not enough can be said for the management group here, especially compared to some of the other paid staff in this division. Their step brothers Sierra are hanging around but can't see them having enough to stop big brother here. Westside FC A 3-1
Rino's Fury v GN Sporting:
Battle of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde here. This one could go either way, considering it is away and with the forecast calling for sub arctic weather, I can't see the Good GN showing up. 2-2 Draw
Burnaby Metro Athletic v VAFC Santos:
No need for technical areas in this one, since the staff can stand in the middle and coach both teams. Can't see Santos/Crapo coming close in this one as I am sure the staff have put all their eggs in the BMA Basket . BMA 5-0
Coquitlam Metro Ford Lupi v Vancouver Greencraps:
At the Irish lads can hit some breweries in Port Moody after they get bent over in this one. Sorry to say but the 'Craps will drop more points and should start sticking up for Div.2 next season. Lupi 4-0
 
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machel

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Halfway through the season and Lupi are in the thick of things for the second promotion spot. A third place finish may well be good enough to get promoted this year if Lupi finish in the top two. Looks like veteran MetroFord attacker TK has landed there this season.
 

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Chris Kyd on Chinter, TK on Lupi. When is Westside gonna throw Ollie or one of the twins into a Div 1 game?
 
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Halfway through the season and Lupi are in the thick of things for the second promotion spot. A third place finish may well be good enough to get promoted this year if Lupi finish in the top two. Looks like veteran MetroFord attacker TK has landed there this season.
Rumour has it that Richmond/UBC want to stay Div.1 so maybe a top 4 spot gets you promoted with the right agreement
 

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