Despite having better scoring chances and perhaps a bit more of the play, the host Comox Valley United could not find the back of the net in a semi-final match of the men’s B provincial cup soccer championship Sunday at G.P. Vanier.
The visiting Richmond All Blacks can thank their goalkeeper for some big saves en route to a 1-0 extra time victory and a berth in the final of the Keith Millar Cup.
The lone goal was scored in the second half of extra time. Shortly thereafter in the dying minutes, United forward Riley Murray nearly converted a sweet passing play but his shot rolled wide of the Richmond net.
“We played well enough. I thought we created some chances, we just didn’t put them away,” said United player-coach Carey Cordocedo, a midfielder who started the late-stage passing play. “I don’t remember any real good chances they created.”
United was awarded a penalty in the second half of regulation time when forward Nick Marinus was taken down inside the 18-yard box, but the visiting keeper stopped the shot and the rebound.
The save added some wind to the visitors’ sails while the host side, with just one substitute player, started to lose a bit of gas.
“We had trouble stringing passes together for some reason,” Cordocedo said. “Our timing was kind of off, I thought.”
The All Blacks, of the Richmond Senior Soccer Association, had advanced to the semis by defeating the Surrey FC Coyotes in a quarter-final replay after the lights went out during their first match.
Sunday’s goal was the first United had conceded during cup play. Two weeks ago, the squad beat the South Burnaby Fighting Irish 2-0 at Mark Isfeld field. Then last weekend in the quarter finals at Vanier, Comox Valley shut out the Port Moody SC Blues of the Fraser Valley Soccer League 4-0.
“Go figure you lose 1-0. But it was a good year,” Cordocedo said, noting this is the farthest the team has advanced in provincials in many years.
Comox Valley finished first among the 10 Div. 3B teams in the regular season of the Vancouver Island Soccer League. Their record was 12-2-4. The squad will compete in Div. 2 next season.
United advanced to the final of the Pearkes Challenge Cup in VISL playoffs last month in Victoria but lost in penalty kicks to the Campbell River Golden Wings of Div. 3A.