Defending champs advance to second round

One United side fell by the wayside while another advanced in opening round action for Surrey teams in the 2014 Provincial Cup men’s premier soccer tournament last weekend.

Two-time provincial champion Surrey United took the first steps on their three-peat bid with a 2-1 win over Vic West FC Sunday afternoon at Cloverdale Athletic Park.

The defending champs dominated play throughout the match, but it was the visitors who opened the scoring against the run of play in the 20th minute when a long, floating kick eluded Surrey goalkeeper Paul Shepherd.

Surrey quickly put that setback behind them and pressed to the attack in search of the equalizer. The ball remained in the Vic West end of the pitch for the remainder of the half, but Surrey was unable to cash in on their numerous scoring chances.

“Nobody panicked or got upset when we fell behind,” said Surrey coach Rob Reed. “We’ve been in tough spots before and we know how to cope with adversity. The only change was we knew we had to get two goals to win instead of just one.

“We played extremely well overall and we created buckets of chances. The halftime chat was just keep doing what we were doing. We were playing well and eventually the goals will come. Keep doing what we’re doing and it will happen for us. It was just a matter of time.”

Reed’s words were prophetic as the second half brought more of the same as Surrey once again asserted control of the play right from the opening whistle. United’s efforts were finally rewarded in the 60th minute when Steve Kindel delivered a well-placed pass into the box for Sean Einarsson to hammer into the top of the net to even the count at 1-1. Fifteen minutes later the Cloverdale lads took the lead for good when a squib kick by Tom Lowndes scuffed, bounced and skittered through traffic and into the Victoria net.

Surrey continued to press and had numerous chances to pad their lead, but were unable to make the most of the opportunities.

“You have to give credit to Vic West too because they came out and battled,” Reed said. “The scoreline looks close, but we definitely carried the play and are full value for the win. The most important thing is we’re moving on to play Langley (United) in two weeks and that’s all that matters.”

Elsewhere, Newton’s CCB-RT United’s breakthrough season ended in heartbreak as they wound up on the sour end of a 4-3 score against West Van on the North Shore Friday night.

Despite playing without key players Milad Rahmati, Gagan Josan, Navid Mashinchi and Bobby Jhutty, CCB-RT wrested control of the proceedings with a pair of early goals.

Derrick Bassi opened the scoring in the seventh minute followed by a Riley O’Neill marker 13 minutes later to stake the Newton lads to a comfortable 2-0 advantage. United held that lead through the halftime break and appeared to be in good shape with 45 minutes of play remaining.

United’s comfort zone was quickly shattered as West Van roared back with three unanswered goals to take a 3-2 lead.

United replied with a Nick Soolsma goal two minutes later to knot the score at 3-3, but the hosts averted overtime with their fourth goal of the second half with two minutes remaining in regulation.

“We played really well in the first half,” said United’s Ted Han. “We had a great start and were up 2-0 at the half, which is where we wanted to be playing on the road. They just came out on fire in the second half. They scored three straight goals, but then we scored two minutes after their third one to tie it again.

“It was very close until they scored on a breakaway with two minutes left.”

Despite the loss, Han said United has plenty to build on for next year.

“It’s a tough way to end the season, but it was still a successful year for us,” he said. “We finished second in the standings, one point out of first place so that’s positive for us. The average age of our team is 23, 24-years-old and they’re a good group of guys. It was a good year and now we have to get ready for next year, which is just four months away.”

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