A red card has sunk the provincial title hopes of Coastal FC’s men’s premier soccer team.
The South Surrey-White Rock squad dropped a 1-0 game to Vancouver’s Club Inter Saturday afternoon at South Surrey Athletic Park, ending their run through the 16-team provincial tournament in the second round.
And while Coastal played well against their Vancouver Metro Soccer League foes, they were forced to play shorthanded for two-thirds of the match, after Isaac Kyei was tagged with a red card at the 30-minute mark after what the referee deemed an overly aggressive play.
“Honestly, I question that red card – and I know a lot of other people do, too, including players on the other team,” said Coastal FC head coach Corrado Lenzi.
“It was a straight red card. It wasn’t a crazy tackle or anything, but that’s soccer. I really respect that ref – he’s one of the highest rated referees in B.C. I don’t think many refs would’ve given us a straight red, but he saw what he saw.
“Inter is a good team. They’re a veteran team and they know how to get those calls.”
Even playing down a man, and without Kyei – “One of our three best players,” Lenzi said – Coastal put up a fight, Lenzi said, and had plenty of chances to win the game themselves. The team controlled the play for long stretches, and had a handful of scoring opportunities, including one shot that rang off the Club Inter crossbar.
“We performed really well, and on any other given day, I think we win that game,” Lenzi said.
“For only having 10 men out there, we played unreal. We took it to them for many moments during the match… after the game, we didn’t feel defeated. We didn’t feel like we lost – it just felt like some bad luck.
“I really feel like we had a team that could win provincials this year.”
Coastal FC advanced to the second round after a win one week earlier against Croatia SC, another VMSL squad.
The game’s lone goal – which didn’t come until there was 15 minutes left on the clock – came after a Club Inter winger fired a shot on Coastal FC keeper David Hicks, and “somebody got a toe on it before our guy could,” Lenzi said.
Though the season is now over for the men’s premier side, Lenzi expected most, if not all, players to return to the team next year, and was hopeful another title run could be in the team’s future.
“We have all the pieces,” he said.