Premier [VMSL Premier] Predictions, Results & Banter 2019/2020

Canucks4Ever

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How can those two offences be treated the same way?
Because of rules. It could not be clearer:

10.6. With the exception of the Masters’ Divisions, and at half time, in Divisions 2, 3, and the U21Division, a team proven to have made more than five (5) substitutions in a game shall be considered to have played an ineligible player. The provisions of Article 6.5 of the By-Laws and Section 8.b of the Rules and Regulations shall apply.

The definition and punishment for the infraction are explicit and were followed in this case.

If the teams/membership feel that this is not the appropriate way to deal with this infraction they can propose the rule be changed at the AGM and then it will be voted on.

In the meantime, this one is pretty open and shut.
 
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Because of rules. It could not be clearer:

10.6. With the exception of the Masters’ Divisions, and at half time, in Divisions 2, 3, and the U21Division, a team proven to have made more than five (5) substitutions in a game shall be considered to have played an ineligible player. The provisions of Article 6.5 of the By-Laws and Section 8.b of the Rules and Regulations shall apply.

The definition and punishment for the infraction are explicit and were followed in this case.

If the teams/membership feel that this is not the appropriate way to deal with this infraction they can propose the rule be changed at the AGM and then it will be voted on.

In the meantime, this one is pretty open and shut.
I find it very interesting that you fully apply the rules in this case (which I understand because rules are rules although totally illogical for me in this case) but when another team used a suspended player to play under another name and when Rule 9.6 was quoted in that case and when I said that it should apply in that specific situation then you (or somebody else) freely interpreted that rule and said that Rule 9.6 relates only to a registration (although there is no a single word in that rule that limits it to the registration) .

9.6. Any player playing under more than one name, and/or for more than one BC Soccer affiliated team, shall be immediately suspended for the balance of the season at a minimum.

Personally, I do not care whether that player was suspended or not; I am only trying to point to some rules that need to be addressed and changed as soon as possible.

A player (based on rules) is suspended a whole season if he is registered in two different leagues at the same time (under his own name) but a player is NOT suspended if he assumes identity of another player and literally plays "under more than one name" and cheats! Where is the logic in that? How do you prevent cheaters doing things like that?

Maybe mtkb who is a lawyer can say a few words about that rule but for me the bigger incident and offense is when somebody assumes another identity and willingly cheats than when somebody registers under his own name in two leagues.

Having said that, in my opinion, poor substitution management and using more subs than officially allowed should not result in additional 3 point deduction especially because that rule about 5 subs does not apply across all divisions.

When you see those rules and realize that the teams are punished the same way (an official loss of the game and 3 additional points deductions) for various infractions which definitely warrant different punishment then you have to change the rules.

For cheating - minimum a full season ban (lifetime ban if repeated offender) plus a serious punishment for the team.

For registration in two different leagues - suspended a limited number of games (the league in this case is equally guilty for registering a player who is already registered i another league).

For poor substitutions' management - losing a game is more than enough punishment (the refs are equally guilty in this case as the team manager / coach).
 

Canucks4Ever

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I find it very interesting that you fully apply the rules in this case (which I understand because rules are rules although totally illogical for me in this case) but when another team used a suspended player to play under another name and when Rule 9.6 was quoted in that case and when I said that it should apply in that specific situation then you (or somebody else) freely interpreted that rule and said that Rule 9.6 relates only to a registration (although there is no a single word in that rule that limits it to the registration) .

9.6. Any player playing under more than one name, and/or for more than one BC Soccer affiliated team, shall be immediately suspended for the balance of the season at a minimum.

A player (based on rules) is suspended a whole season if he is registered in two different leagues at the same time (under his own name) but a player is NOT suspended if he assumes identity of another player and literally plays "under more than one name" and cheats! Where is the logic in that? How do you prevent cheaters doing things like that?
I don't recall this argument being discussed at the time and would be surprised if I was against it. Perhaps someone can look back and throw my own words in my face (wouldn't be the first time...)

What I do recall was saying that it is not the referee's job to stop the guy from playing and that there was a difference between what you "know" (ie that he was not the player he was saying he was) and what you can "prove". Hence why it was not an open and shut case and the VMSL board had to take the time to properly gather and assess the evidence before rendering a decision.

Overall, I am not opposed to your suggestion that, if found guilty, the player and team should be severely punished for blatantly cheating. Again though, those remedies would need to be available to the decision maker in the rules/by-laws.

For registration in two different leagues - suspended a limited number of games (the league in this case is equally guilty for registering a player who is already registered i another league).
There are decently harsh penalties for this. In terms of blaming the leagues though this has been an ongoing issue. BC Soccer has not accessible database for cross checking registered players, so the league is not really able to check unless someone brings up a specific issue.

With technology these days this should be a solvable problem; but it will take BC Soccer (as they are the ones who know who's registered where).

For poor substitutions' management - losing a game is more than enough punishment (the refs are equally guilty in this case as the team manager / coach).
If you can find enough people who feel similarly this way, they can propose a motion at the AGM in May and the membership will vote on a rules change. Until then, or if a rule change is voted down, we have the rule we have and teams should take care to avoid breaking it.

Maybe mtkb who is a lawyer can say a few words about that rule but for me the bigger incident and offense is when somebody assumes another identity and willingly cheats than when somebody registers under his own name in two leagues.
Who says I'm not in law...?? :cyclops:
 

Canucks4Ever

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Now imagine if FASA hadn't used a 6th sub vs Columbus!
White Eagles step up for a 0-0 with Columbus to spare FASA the embarassment of being relegated solely on an administrative mistake.

Unless of course they spring another upset before they end. Then they would be officially getting relegated solely because they cannot count to five.
 
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Some highlights from Croatia's win over Pegasus. Missed first goal as was just getting in.

 

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With some of the league turning their attention to the Preliminary Round of the Imperial Cup this week, it is a reduced schedule for league matches. Still, some of the fixtures being played are of significance at both ends of the table. In particular, if both Rino's and Croatia can win this week it will mathematically be down to just those two sides in the title race.

Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 20

Rovers Hurricanes v Croatia
It is already pretty much lights out for Rovers and their title challenge this season as they are nine back of Croatia with just four matches to play and Croatia hold a game in hand. They are also ten points back of Rino's who also have four matches to play. So even if Rovers win out, including beating Croatia this week, they would need an incredible collapse from those two sides to get back to the top of the table. Plus, given their current form, it seems unlikely. They were thrashed 6-1 by Coquitlam to begin the New Year before they drew 1-1 with West Van in a result that all but ended the championship aspirations of both teams; because, hey, misery loves company. Then, last week, in a last chance hotel type situation, they produced a wholly listless performance against Rino's and were sent packing 4-0. Local rivals Pegasus are breathing down their necks and looking to move into the top four and the guaranteed Provincial Cup qualification that finishing in the top third of the table provides. While reaching the Provincials is of course a priority for the former champions, right now it is not looking certain that they could must much of a challenge for any of the other 15 teams who will be in that tournament. They need to get their game back in shape and in short order as well. A solid performance against Croatia could be the perfect tonic, but the reigning VMSL champions, who dethroned Rovers a season ago, are in the pole position to defend their title and look to be a solid threat to possible take home multiple pieces of hardware this year. A key to their success has been their stingy, league best defense, and for a Rovers side that has only scored two goals in their last three games, that is not exactly and ideal scenario. While there is always the chance that Rovers' offensive weapons take over a match and single handedly drag their team to a result, this one looks to be an uphill battle for the Surrey boys.

Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves v Guildford FASA
Well, not sure many in the pool had FASA beating Guildford last time out. That 3-2 win has kept their limited survival hopes alive, as they have closed the gap to just four points on Burnaby Selects White Eagles. Of course that gap would be down to just one if they had not used an extra sub against Columbus. Alas, what could have been. What it all means is that FASA need at least a win and a draw from their four remaining matches, beginning this week. Unfortunately for them, they play the league's hottest team in Metro Ford this week, followed by title challenging Rino's Tigers next week as well as matches to come against the other title challenger, Croatia and a date with Rovers, who may well need the points to qualify for the Provincial Cup. So, yeah, the odds are not looking great. Then again, the odds were not looking great for them to beat West Van and that happened, which is why they play the games instead of just letting me analyze them and applying that to the standings. Coquitlam were cooled off ever so slightly by NorVan last week, as they were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw. That result still stretched their unbeaten run to nine matches though, a streak that began win a 2-0 win over FASA. One has to think that if FASA are to get the four points they need, it probably needs to be a draw this week against Metro Ford and then they hope to catch an unmotivated Rovers side out for the win. Unfortunately for FASA, the Tri-Cities boys are in need of the points almost as badly as they are given a resurgent CCB now hold enough games in hand to catch them up and at least force a playoff if a sixth Provincial Cup spot trickles down from the Imperial Cup results. Metro Ford are also hoping to potentially reel in Pegasus and move up to fifth, improving their chances of earning a place at the post-season dance. Losing to FASA is not conducive to any of that.

West Van v Rino's Tigers
This one is the MOTW, just edging out the Rovers/Croatia match. Realistically, with Croatia's match in hand against Columbus, the jig is up for Rovers already anyway. However, if they manage to help out by taking points off Croatia, and if West Van can beat Rino's, then there might still be a tiny glimmer of hope for the former Trollers. That is a lot of "ifs", but who does not love a long shot? One of the principle "ifs", though, is West Van beating Rino's, which is far from a certainty at all. The last time these sides met West Van had an implosion on Reuben in the middle of the park and Rino's duly put them to the sword. The Amblesiders immediately responded with a 1-0 win over Croatia, but then went on a rather unimpressive stretch of three straight draws against CCB, White Eagles and NorVan. They looked to have snapped out of it with wins over Columbus and Chinter to finish of the pre-holiday schedule, but the New Year has been far from kind to West Van. A loss to Peg to begin the decade, followed by a draw against Rovers and then last week's shock 3-2 loss to relegation threatened FASA. While a last ditch challenge for the title would surely be welcome for the Ambleside side, they are probably for concerned about trying to recapture their mojo as they get ready to try and defend their Imperial Cup title and make a run at the Provincial Cup. For Rino's the math is simple. They have to keep winning and hope that Croatia blink at some point. Talisman Farivar Torabi would also likely hope to continue to clatter the goals in, but, after his brace in their 4-0 win over Rover last week, he likely has the Golden Boot all but sewn up with 26 goals; nine more than closer challenger Carlo Basso. Perhaps West Van will get their finger out this weekend and get back to top form. However, based on their recent results, as well as the fact that Rino's look like they will take some stopping at the minute, it is tough to make them favourites.

NorVan v Burnaby Selects White Eagles
At the bottom of the table the two teams just barely the right side of the relegation line meet with three priceless points on the line. White Eagles managed to finally stop the rot last time out after four straight losses, although it was not exactly a rousing performance. They drew 0-0 with last place Columbus to earn a point that could well make all the difference at the end of the season, but it was a result that saw their winless streak stretch to eight games. The good news for the Burnaby boys is that NorVan are mired in an almost equally futile patch of form themselves. While a 1-1 draw with red hot Coquitlam was likely a decent result for the North Shore boys, it still means that they are without a win since November 2, a run of eight matches as well. White Eagles have a buffer of four points between them and the drop, with NorVan holding a five point cushion. While FASA finding enough points from their difficult final matches to catch up to either of these sides seems unlikely, and so too Columbus suddenly catching fire and making up all sorts of ground after a dreadful season to this point, it is hardly a good feeling to simply be waiting around for other teams to lose in order to ensure your own survival. Hence why three points would be very welcome indeed for either of these sides. When it comes to actually putting in a performance worthy of claiming the spoils on offer though, that is where is gets a bit tricky. White Eagles used to be able to score and were looking a good fit at this level; but since leading scorer Matlash Vladyslav has run dry, the team has struggled and, predictably, results have struggled. To NorVan's credit, they have not been able to score goals all season, having notched the second fewest with 21 markers, just one more than last place Columbus. So it is not like anything has gone missing there, rather, they never had it to begin with. You cannot fault their attitude though, and the North Shore boys always give a solid effort, especially at home. This one has all the hallmarks of a draw, but White Eagles look all but a lost cause so I am going to tip NorVan at home on the mountain.
 

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Premier League should be reduced to 10 teams and if there is still a huge difference between the top and bottom teams (after a few years) it should go down to 8.
 

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After a partial schedule thanks to Imperial Cup play, it is back to a full slate of matches this week. Next week enough teams are involved in cup play to sideline the entire schedule, but there should be enough make up games for at least one more full schedule the week following. It is certainly getting to the business end of the season however, so every week where league games get played the points are at a premium!

Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 21

CCB LFC v Rovers Hurricanes
A Surrey derby under the lights between two teams who look to be on a collision course for perhaps an even more important clash in the Imperial Cup. CCB began their campaign last week, seeing of a challenge from Division 1 side GN Sporting while Rovers had their league match against Croatia washed out on the adjacent field at Newton. Both these teams will not being winning the Premier Division title this season, but the focus is on qualifying for the Provincial Cup and there are currently seven teams hunting for just six spots, meaning somebody has to end up on the outside looking in. CCB have been playing catch up all season after having a slow start, largely due to them prioritizing their participation in the National Championships, a tournament they won, just like Rovers did the year previous. CCB are currently that odd team out, but they have enough games in hand that if they can win out, they will be guaranteed of at least a playoff with Coquitlam should sixth place be good enough to qualify. However, winning this week would mean that they could also get within a point of Rovers, should they win their games in hand, with Rovers still having to make up the aforementioned game against first place Croatia. As it is, Rovers are not exactly looking like world beaters and hold just a very thing grasp on fourth place and the final Provincial Cup qualification place, with Coquitlam and Pegasus both looking to catch them. Which brings us back to the potential meeting of these teams in the Imperial Cup. All this if this, then that, questioning goes out the window for one of these teams if they can reach the cup final. That is what did the trick last season for Rovers when they were locked in a battle for the final berth with Chinter. Rovers getting back to the final does not look a promising prospect and it could be a double whammy if CCB ultimately do beat them here and in the cup, possibly leaving Rovers as the odd team out. The scenarios are all fascinating, but, in the short term, Rovers just need to steady their ship. They have just a single point in the New Year and have been on the back end of a pair of pretty heavy losses. Even a draw you feel they would take if you offered it to them at the moment. CCB certainly will not be, though, that is for sure. And they look to be relatively in form at the moment. Look for them to complete the double of their local rivals.

Croatia v West Van
After Rino's failed to put the final nail in the West Van coffin last week, with the Amblesiders finding a way to eek out a 1-0 win, Croatia will have the chance to finish the former Trollers off this weekend in what is clearly the MOTW. A win would mathematically end any hope of West Van claiming the title and while that seems to be almost a forgone conclusion anyway, another win for West Van would make things slightly interesting. Moreover, it would essentially give Rino's back the points they took off them in the title race last week and make that race one to watch once more. That said, do not expect any altruistic reasons for West Van wanting to win this game, as they still need the points themselves to, at the very least lock down a Provincial Cup spot by finishing in the top four. A win would put them right on the cusp of securing a berth, so they will have plenty of motivation. They will also want to erase what has been somewhat of a tumultuous start to 2020 but reestablishing themselves as a powerhouse and a potential favourite heading into the two cup competitions. For Croatia, defense of their title is within their grasp after that Rino's result. They have the games in hand to be in full control but they will be the first to tell you that games in hand can evaporate rather quickly, just as they did for CCB last season which was ultimately how Croatia ended up lifting the title. So far this season Croatia have passed just about every test against their title rivals, with a notable exception being the reverse fixture between these two at Ambleside. West Van won that one 1-0 and that scoreline would likely be the bookie's favourite to repeat again this time around. These are the two stingiest defenses in the league so expect chances to be a scarcity. A goalless draw would not being surprising here, but I will tip Croatia to find the moment of magic the need to get this one over the line.

Columbus v Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves
The doors that lead to survival look to be closing one by one for Columbus. The Italians need seven points from their final six matches to force a playoff, and that is assuming White Eagles do not pick up any further points, though given their current form that seems a safe bet. The remaining schedule for Columbus includes this week against red hot Metro Ford who are embroiled in a desperate battle to make the Provincials, two matches against CCB who are in the same battle and a date with title hopefuls Croatia. They also have games against NorVan and Chinter that they would be looking at as matches they can get something out of but, even if they pick up a pair of wins, they will still come up short without getting a bonus point from one of those other games. Columbus were pushed all the way in the Imperial Cup by Division 1 side Burnaby Metro and, after conceding two goals in the final minutes after they had taken a 2-0 lead, needed a last second goal of their own in extra time to force penalties. The Italians ultimately got the job done, but it is tough to tell if that performance will have been a confidence booster or another dent to morale. Coquitlam, meanwhile, were bouncing back from a rusty performance that saw them settle for a 1-1 draw with NorVan to spank FASA 7-1. Talisman Carlo Basso had a four goal night and has perhaps made the Golden Boot race with Rino's Farivar Torabi slightly more interesting. Certainly if he can score a few more this week against the division's last place side it might really give us a scoring race. Perhaps this is the week where Columbus get their miracle, but the safe money is on the Tri-Cities boys stretching their run to 11 matches unbeaten with a win.

NorVan v Club Inter EDC Burnaby
Technically both these teams still have things to play for but, in reality, their seasons have more or less been reduced to playing out the string. They are not mathematically out of the top six and the potential for Provincial Cup qualification and nor are they mathematically safe from promotion, however, it would take a highly improbable series of events to occur for either of these teams to wind up in either of those scenarios. In fact, following their shootout loss to Division 1 "Richmond", Chinter basically have nothing left to play for at all this season. It will be interesting to see what kind of effect that will have on a veteran group who are used to being involved until a much later point in the season. Even when they missed out last season they were in a battle to finish in the top six right until the death, being edged by Rovers by just two points. Meanwhile, a loss this week will finish officially end any hopes of a top half finish for this season, while even a win would leave them with just a minuscule chance of getting in via a playoff. It is the same scenario for NorVan. Relegation was never looking likely, but their 5-0 win over White Eagles last week essentially put that to bed. They too will be mathematically ruled out of a top half finish if they fail to win an Coquitlam pick up maximum points this week. They do have an outside chance of pulling off the shock Cinderella run to the Provincial Cup via the back door of the Imperial Cup, but that does seem unlikely. So not much to play for in either camp here and two teams that have been rather underwhelming all season. Split the difference and call this one a draw.

Rino's Tigers v Guildford FASA
There was a brief ray of sun shining in FASA's world following their upset victory over West Van, but that was very much rained out, both literally and figuratively, by the deluge they received away to Coquitlam last week. The final score was 7-1 and "Guildford" now have just three chances left to get the four points they need to have any chance at safety. Of course that would only be one point had they managed their substitutions properly, but, hey, they cannot get that one back. They will be hard pressed to get anything out of Rino's, especially with Rino's having been dealt a huge blow to their title hopes last week when they lost 1-0 to West Van. Leading scorer Farivar Torabi has also seen his scoring title come under threat after Metro Ford's Carlo Basso scored four of those seven goals against FASA last week. Expect him and his Rino's teammates to flex their muscles and take out some frustration on FASA in this one; I doubt it will be close.

Burnaby Selects White Eagles v Pegasus
It looks like at this point, White Eagles are going to stay up. However, it is unlikely to be because of anything they have done recently, or, it appears, anything they will do before the end of the year. If it was not for FASA's blunder in making an extra substitution they would be just a single point behind Burnaby and have a real shot at forcing at least a playoff for survival if they could possibly get something out of their game with Rovers, who seem to be trending down at the minute. Instead they will need points from one of their matches against the top two teams, Rino's and Croatia, in order to have any chance at catching White Eagles and that seems like a very remote possibility indeed. The former Serbians sunk to yet another miserable defeat last time out, getting smashed 5-0 by a NorVan side that looked to be just as bereft of top quality as White Eagles of late. It would have been impossible to tell that both teams were winless in eight matches coming into that fixture as NorVan looked a top side, having their way with Burnaby all over the park. Presumably White Eagles have looked at FASA's schedule and decided that they are safe to shut up shop for the remainder of the season as there really is no explanation for the absolute cliff that their form has careened off. Peg have looked good since the calendar pages turned, albeit in stop and start spurts due to the weather and cup player. They put up a pair of solid wins over West Van and FASA, followed by running Croatia close in a 3-2 loss in their most recent outing. They had last week off with CCB occupied in the cup. Peg need the points if they are going to give themselves the best possible chance to reach the Provincials and White Eagles seem to be simply bending over and taking it these days, so expect a straightforward result in this one.
 
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With a week off between rounds of the Imperial Cup, for the final time this season we will have a full slate of Premier Division games. There are still many matches to be made up and with eight top tier sides comprising the quarter-finalists, these games could well stretch through until Provincial Cup season. Perhaps that is only fitting though as the battle for Provincial Cup places looks like it will go right to the wire. The relegation race, on the other hand, should take another step towards being officially settled this weekend.

Completely Baseless Predictions - Week 22

Coquitlam Metro Ford Wolves v Rino's Tigers
While there are several important fixtures on the docket this week, this one stands out above the rest as the MOTW. Coquitlam are up to a dozen games since their last loss, although they were pushed all the way to penalties by UBC in the cup last week. Even though they are the hottest team in the league, the Tri-Cities boys have needed everyone of those to points to first climb into, and now to stay in, the Provincial Cup places. There will only be six VMSL teams in that tournament and there are currently seven teams in the mix. The season is on a knife's edge for Metro Ford as they sit fifth at the minute, just one point out of fourth, which would guarantee qualification, but also just one point up on sixth and also becoming within the grasp of CCB and their many games in hand. For Rino's their battle is at the top of the table where they need to hold their nerve and hope holders Croatia blink at some point down the stretch. With only two games remaining, Rino's will be the pace setters and should likely remain in front of Croatia until the Europeans play their two games in hand later in March, depending on cup scheduling. In an interesting parallel, this is the opposite of the situation Croatia found themselves in last season when they set the pace and then CCB failed to catch them at the death. Rino's can perhaps take solace in that fact, but will surely know they are in for a tough test away to Coquitlam this week. As a fun side story, the league's two top scorers will go head to head in this match. Coquitlam's Carlo Basso had closed the gap to Rino's Farivar Torabi until Torabi went off for seven against lowly FASA. The gap is now eleven goals, 33 to 22, with Rino's making unconfirmed, though probably accurate, claims that Torabi is now the all-time record holder for goals in a single VMSL Premier campaign. If Basso can cut into that deficit, then Coquitlam will likely take the points in this one. In the reverse fixture Torabi and Basso exchanged goals before Metro Ford won it 2-1. This time around I expect a cagey affair and think it probably ends up with the teams sharing the points. That is not really helpful to either side, though they will meet again next week in Imperial Cup play where they will be forced to determine a winner.

Rovers Hurricanes v Burnaby Selects White Eagles
Safety is within reach for White Eagles, despite having not won a game since the beginning of November. Two draws in their last three league games has inched them towards safety. Even if they do not pick up another point between now and the end of the season, FASA would need to win both their remaining games or Columbus would need to find three wins over their final five matches to surpass the once Serbians and see them return to Division 1. It is not impossible, but based on the form of those teams and their remaining schedule, Burnaby are looking safe. They had a decent enough performance in their 1-0 cup loss to Croatia and, if they can keep their goals against column in check, they can probably grind out a further point or three before their season wraps up. Rovers are certainly a team that White Eagles can target to pick up points against, as they have not won a league game yet in the New Year and have looked, generally, a shadow of their former dominant selves. That said, they did manage to crush an impotent FASA side 7-0 in the cup at the weekend and perhaps that will get their offensive mojo flowing once more. Rovers really need the points as well with their cushion in fourth place having been trimmed to a single point. Falling any further would mean that they must wait to see who reaches the Imperial Cup final before knowing whether or not they will qualify for the Provincial Cup. Being at home, one would assume that Rovers should have at least close to their best squad and with their offense having seemingly come out of hibernation they should be favourites to get the job done in this one.

Club Inter EDC Burnaby v Columbus
Looking at their remaining schedule, any path to a shock escape act for Columbus appears to all but have to involve getting maximum points off of Inter. For Chinter, their season is done after being ousted from the Imperial Cup by Div. 1 UBC and now mathematically unable to reach the top half and possibly qualify for Provincials via that route. Columbus played Coquitlam well in their last league game, leading until a late collapse fueled once again by their poor disciplinary record, led to them getting nothing out of that match. That loss was bracketed by a pair of surely morale boosting Imperial Cup wins over Division 1 sides. All things considered, this is likely their best form of the season and they really need that to translate into some league wins. They drew Inter the first time these teams clashed and, with nothing to play for, Columbus will be hoping to pounce on a minimally motivated Chinter crew. The one hitch for the true Italians being that the "Italian" half of Chinter's "Italian"-Chilean cultural melting pot still really does consider Columbus to be their mortal enemies and would love nothing more than to see Columbus unceremoniously ousted once again from the top flight. That might just add some extra spice to this game and provide Inter with a reason to get up for this one. Is it all but last chance hotel for Columbus though and I cannot see them going gentle into that good night. Assuming they can keep their heads and their discipline in check, I think they will earn a massive three points.

Pegasus v NorVan
Suddenly things are not looking so great for Peg. The Horsemen were tossed out of the Imperial Cup by Rino's at the weekend, thus losing any potential Provincial Cup qualification safety net that the competition may have offered. Furthermore, their inability to beat White Eagles in their most recent league outing, settling instead for a 2-2 draw, means that CCB can now catch their Surrey rivals simply by winning their games in hand, irrespective of anything Peg do themselves. After missing out on the Provincial Cup after a woeful campaign last season, Peg were looking odds on to return until a massive uptick in form by Coquitlam, combined with CCB's rediscovered motivation and mitt-full of games in hand, has now left Pegasus looking odds on to be the odd team out. A win this week against NorVan is almost mandatory if they are to have any hope of righting this ship before it takes on too much water. UBC varsity standout Kerman Pannu has emerged as the talisman for Peg recently, but he seems to be the only guy going for the Surrey boys at the moment. It is all bad timing for the Horsemen given that, now that the games ostensibly do not really matter, NorVan seem to have found their best form. The North Shore boys are unbeaten in four games, having won three straight including cup play, with only two goals conceded over that stretch. In essence, they actually look like a proper Premier team at the minute instead of seemingly just masquerading as one earlier in the season. Any chance of a top six finish should mathematically evaporate after this weekend, irrespective of their result, but if any team is going to make a "dark horse"/Cinderella run to the Imperial Cup final, it might well be NorVan. A trip to Surrey is never a fun haul for the North Shore boys and this will be their first trip to Newton after being saved the commute by playing "away" to Rovers on Opening Day and then not having played CCB yet. This should be a good test of just where NorVan stand at the moment and I fancy the teams splitting the points here.

Guildford FASA v Croatia
Well the hour is finally nigh for FASA. After buying their way into the top flight and mixing in the occasional stunning result amidst lopsided losses, failure to take maximum points from this match will confirm a "one and done" stretch in Premier for the academy side. Not helping matters is a three point deduction they were handed for not being able to count to five an thus making an extra substitution in a game they lost anyway. Had they not lost those points they would be in position to pull off a Hail Mary against the much more beatable Rovers. Instead, they must be Rovers as well as knocking off title chasing Croatia. The defending VMSL champions were handed a set back in their last league outing with a loss to West Van. Still, though, they hold their fate in their own hands with enough games remaining to secure back to back titles if they take care of their own business. The Imperial Cup provided no relief for FASA who shipped another boatload of goals in a 7-0 demolition at the hands of Rovers. While they have proven they are capable of a shock, it is difficult to see any other outcome in this one besides a win for Croatia.

West Van v CCB LFC
Probably "1A" in terms of Match of the Week, CCB and West Van are both in search of more silverware this season after both teams won trophies last year. CCB are out of the title hunt and likely West Van will be officially ruled out of lifting the trophy after this weekend, regardless of their result. On the other hand, though, West Van have all but guaranteed themselves a spot in the Provincials, and would do so officially with a win in this match, something CCB cannot say. The defending Provincial Champions are still not assured of a place in this season's competition, having been behind the eight ball since a lackluster start to the season while they were focusing on preparing for Nationals. They have enough games in hand to climb into the top half of the table, but they would need to run the table to guarantee that. Furthermore, they would still be waiting on Imperial Cup results before their place was secured, which likely means their best path back to the post-season tournament if for they themselves to reach the Imperial Cup final. That mission is on hold for this week while they journey out to Ambleside. West Van's Eoin Mccormack has been possibly the breakout player of the season in the VMSL and is in good goal scoring form for a West Van side that has just beat the top two side in the division, Rino's and Croatia, on the spin. CCB themselves have won five straight though, so two teams in a purple patch are set to clash here. This match set up as a toss up but while it comes, in all likelihood, too late to make a difference in the title fight, West Van look to be back to their best as we head into trophy season.
 
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Around the Grounds...

Pegasus 1-1 NorVan
Both teams started with energy, with Peg perhaps just sharing things. NorVan were looking dangerous on the counter, but with leading scorer Yigal Bruk suspended the visitor's attack lacked some cut and thrust. As the half wore on Peg began to take control and the first clear chance fell to former Whitecap Sahil Sandhu. He was in clean on goal but inexplicably put his finish the wrong side of the post. Peg clipped the crossbar soon after and then a cross slipped through the hands of NorVan's youth callups goalkeeper, but he was spared his blushes when Peg had nobody at the back post. He would not be so lucky moments later though when, after he had done well to cut out a low cross, he spilled the ball and Peg pounced. NorVan blocked the initial effort, but the rebound ricocheted to an advancing center back who measured his lob well to strand the scrambling keeper and open the scoring. Peg were well on the front foot after that and seemed certain to add to their lead before the break, but their finishing and final ball selection left something to be desired. For all this pressure from the Surrey boys, NorVan should have been level on the stroke of half time. A cross found Bruk's stand in wide open ten yards out, but he put his header beyond the far post. 1-0 at the interval.

Second half was a midfield battle between the two sides, but short on entertainment value. NorVan was doing the heavy lifting and while they did get plenty of looks in the final third but they were half chances at best. Peg were reduced to counterattacking and the half more or less ebbed by without any major talking points. Finally one of Peg's counters left Yassin Essa wide open at the far post. You would have bet your mortgage on a player of his quality scoring given the time and space he had but the NorVan keeper made a fantastic save to atone for his earlier miscue. The Surrey boys were made to pay for not killing the game off moments later when Bruk's replacement slammed a low shot just inside the far post in an inch perfect finish to tie the game. It was all to play for after this and both sides were very positive sensing the win was there for them. Now we had a game as both teams surged forward and the defenses were stretched. Peg thought they had won it only for the offside flag to go up, a source of great irritation to the home side. Both teams had late set piece looks and NorVan had a partial breakaway at the end, but neither side could find a winner. At full time Peg vented their frustrations on the assistant referee who had chalked off the goal and earned themselves at least two red cards.

Rovers 4-1 White Eagles
One way traffic just about from the start in this one with Rovers on the front foot straight from the off. White Eagles managed to scramble their attacks away and keep them to half chances, including a decent shout for a period penalty. The dam did not take long to break, just over ten minutes and the second followed roughly that long after. Nick Soolsma and Ryan Dhillon were causing fits for the former Serbians at the back. When Burnaby did get the ball they settled for speculative, direct balls that were mostly brushed aside by the Rovers back line. Anytime White Eagles did get in or around the attacking penalty area they were hitting the deck like a ton of bricks. Everybody's favourite FVSL ref, Kyle Williams was in charge and having none of it, including handing out a yellow for simulation. 2-0 at the break.

Not sure what was said in the Burnaby huddle at half time, but they started with a purpose. Within moments of the restart the took advantage of some woeful Rovers defending and halted the deficit when leading scorer Matlash Vladyslav cleaned up a rebound off the post from close range. After sleepwalking there way out of half, Rovers got back to work offensively. The Serbian keeper made a sharp save on Soolsma but moments later a perfectly timed through ball set up the Rovers fullback for his second of the night. It looked to be 4-1 shortly after, but another good save and the offside flag limited the damage. That looked to be it for White Eagles and they went into hibernation for a time while Rovers probed for further goals. However a bolt from Vladyslav need a save at full stretch from the Rovers keeper and then Burnaby were wasteful from the ensuing corner, skying a great look on the half volley. This did seem to spark them back into life though and led to a spell on the front foot. Counterattacking suited Rovers just fine and after Vladyslav forced a few more saves from the Rovers keeper the home side found a fourth to kill the game off. A straightforward win on this evening.
 
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Around the Grounds...

Pegasus 1-1 NorVan
Both teams started with energy, with Peg perhaps just sharing things. NorVan were looking dangerous on the counter, but with leading scorer Yigal Bruk suspended the visitor's attack lacked some cut and thrust. As the half wore on Peg began to take control and the first clear chance fell to former Whitecap Sahil Sandhu. He was in clean on goal but inexplicably put his finish the wrong side of the post. Peg clipped the crossbar soon after and then a cross slipped through the hands of NorVan's youth callups goalkeeper, but he was spared his blushes when Peg had nobody at the back post. He would not be so lucky moments later though when, after he had done well to cut out a low cross, he spilled the ball and Peg pounced. NorVan blocked the initial effort, but the rebound ricocheted to an advancing center back who measured his lob well to strand the scrambling keeper and open the scoring. Peg were well on the front foot after that and seemed certain to add to their lead before the break, but their finishing and final ball selection left something to be desired. For all this pressure from the Surrey boys, NorVan should have been level on the stroke of half time. A cross found Bruk's stand in wide open ten yards out, but he put his header beyond the far post. 1-0 at the interval.

Second half was a midfield battle between the two sides, but short on entertainment value. NorVan was doing the heavy lifting and while they did get plenty of looks in the final third but they were half chances at best. Peg were reduced to counterattacking and the half more or less ebbed by without any major talking points. Finally one of Peg's counters left Yassin Essa wide open at the far post. You would have bet your mortgage on a player of his quality scoring given the time and space he had but the NorVan keeper made a fantastic save to atone for his earlier miscue. The Surrey boys were made to pay for not killing the game off moments later when Bruk's replacement slammed a low shot just inside the far post in an inch perfect finish to tie the game. It was all to play for after this and both sides were very positive sensing the win was there for them. Now we had a game as both teams surged forward and the defenses were stretched. Peg thought they had won it only for the offside flag to go up, a source of great irritation to the home side. Both teams had late set piece looks and NorVan had a partial breakaway at the end, but neither side could find a winner. At full time Peg vented their frustrations on the assistant referee who had chalked off the goal and earned themselves at least two red cards.

Rovers 4-1 White Eagles
One way traffic just about from the start in this one with Rovers on the front foot straight from the off. White Eagles managed to scramble their attacks away and keep them to half chances, including a decent shout for a period penalty. The dam did not take long to break, just over ten minutes and the second followed roughly that long after. Nick Soolsma and Ryan Dhillon were causing fits for the former Serbians at the back. When Burnaby did get the ball they settled for speculative, direct balls that were mostly brushed aside by the Rovers back line. Anytime White Eagles did get in or around the attacking penalty area they were hitting the deck like a ton of bricks. Everybody's favourite FVSL ref, Kyle Williams was in charge and having none of it, including handing out a yellow for simulation. 2-0 at the break.

Not sure what was said in the Burnaby huddle at half time, but they started with a purpose. Within moments of the restart the took advantage of some woeful Rovers defending and halted the deficit when leading scorer Matlash Vladyslav cleaned up a rebound off the post from close range. After sleepwalking there way out of half, Rovers got back to work offensively. The Serbian keeper made a sharp save on Soolsma but moments later a perfectly timed through ball set up the Rovers fullback for his second of the night. It looked to be 4-1 shortly after, but another good save and the offside flag limited the damage. That looked to be it for White Eagles and they went into hibernation for a time while Rovers probed for further goals. However a bolt from Vladyslav need a save at full stretch from the Rovers keeper and then Burnaby were wasteful from the ensuing corner, skying a great look on the half volley. This did seem to spark them back into life though and led to a spell on the front foot. Counterattacking suited Rovers just fine and after Vladyslav forced a few more saves from the Rovers keeper the home side found a fourth to kill the game off. A straightforward win on this evening.
Full Results Friday Night

Peg 1-1 Norvan
Sapperton 4-1 Serbs
MetroFord 2-2 Rinos
Chinter 4-0 Columbus
 

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