Chalk two up for the little guys.
The Fraser Valley Soccer League men's premier circuit, long considered second division to the Vancouver Metro Soccer League, took three of four matches in the round of 16 in the Carlsberg Pacific Cup tournament last week.
Among the three victors were two FVSL powerhouses, the PoCo FC and Port Moody Gunners while the only Valley team to fall was defending champion Peace Arch. Nine of the 16 teams were from the VMSL, and the other three were from the VISL.
The winning streak started Friday, when the Gunners out-hustled and out-worked ICST Inter 2-1 in penalty kicks on the Port Moody turf. A day later, PoCo handed Columbus FC its first loss of the season in a 2-1 penalty kick decision at Vancouver's Adanac Park.
Surrey FC Athletic registered the Valley's other victory, knocking off the Coquitlam Metro-Ford Wolves 3-2.
For Port Moody, there was some admitted nerves heading into a contest against some vaunted VMSL rival.
"This is an interesting (cup) because you get to play different teams from (Vancouver) Metro, Vancouver Island and see how you measure up," said Gunners coach Larry Moro.
"By reputation alone we were a little nervous but midway through the first half we knew we could compete. We were pleasantly surprised."
Perhaps not as surprised as ICST, who have struggled out to a 1-0-2 VMSL start.
Although deadlocked after 45 minutes, Port Moody rattled three shots off the crossbar from set plays, and kept up that tempo in the second half.
At the 65 th minute, Nima Ranji converted off another set play, this time a free kick, where he scored after the ICST goalkeeper bobbled the ball.
The Vancouver squad counted the equalizer with 15 minutes left in regulation.
In penalty kicks, Gunners goalie Brent Godin stopped ICST's third shot, while the Port Moody shooters cashed in all five of theirs for the win.
"We took over in the second half. We were fairly confident at that stage," noted Moro.
"We dominated and had some good scoring chances and they pretty much converted their only one. Our fitness took over and we just outran them."
It proved a similar story for unbeaten PoCo, who grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second half only to see Columbus rally.
Prior to their goal, PoCo lost a player to a double-yellow card, putting them a man-short for the remaining 15 minutes. Despite that, Rob Giezen deposited a tap in off Milad Rahmati's set up two minutes later.
Columbus tallied off a set play to tie it, but in penalty kicks PoCo's Erman Ozkan turned back three of six shots while his teammates scored four times for the win.
"Erman came through with the saves, he put us over," remarked PoCo coach Thomas Mills. "It was a very intense match, really two wellbalanced teams who brought their best games to the park."
Although Columbus dominated early, PoCo gained steam and held its own until they were reduced to 10 players.
"Basically we had no choice but to go more defensively, despite the game being scoreless," said Mills. "After we scored we knew we were in for a tough run. It was a bit too long to hold on to a 1-0 lead with a player short."
Also turning in strong efforts were Coquitlam native Kevin Harmse, who is off to try out for Portland of the Major Soccer League, and Mike Gomes.
The Pacific Cup's quarterfinals are slated for Oct. 28, when PoCo visits the VMSL's Richmond Hibernian, while Port Moody heads across the Fraser River to play the VMSL's Surrey United.
They get back into league play this weekend, with Port Moody going to Chilliwack to play the undefeated FC Rapids on Friday, and PoCo heading to Langley on Saturday to face Trinity Western.
In other VMSL action, Coquitlam is still looking for its first win of the premier season after suffering a 1-0 setback to ICSF Inter on Tuesday.
The game's only goal came midway into the second half, when Herman Sidhu headed the ball past netminder Matt Bird.
Playing well in the loss were Sam Coulter and Andrew Veer.
The Wolves play tonight (Friday, 8 p.m. at Coquitlam Town Centre East) against the winless Delta United.
© Copyright 2013