B.G. Lions' keeper ponders new hobbies as he waits for the full-time whistle.
Kicking off in the sweltering dusk heat, Gastown F.C looked to build on their bounce back 3-0 win over Europa the week prior to perhaps spark a hot streak of their own. The Iron's opponents for the night were none other than B.G. Lions, a hand-picked squad of the best of Vancouver's Bulgarian community. Despite Gastown's possessional superiority when last the two met, a slim 2-1 victory for the Iron was the result in what was a tough and emotional game of football. There was to be no closeness this time around, in what was a much more assured match as the Iron ran off to a 5-0 victory that could have been considerable worse for the Lions.
Mah does his best to not melt
The Iron started brightly, maintaining possession well and getting the ball outside to wingers Patrick Smyth and Emre Caliskan. As per usual, Silvio Ruprah was making a nuisance of himself, buzzing around the Lagos half like an angry Japanese/Czech/Vatican/Mexican hornet, when the ball came through to him courtesy of David Yesaya. Ruprah pounced, rounding his marker, outwaiting the Lions keeper before sliding the ball into the far side of the goal - cool as you like. Despite the heat, the Iron had the wind at their sails and were on the attack. It was Ruprah again architecting the second goal, which will have to go to the dubious goals panel to determine whether it should be credited to Ruprah himself or to Cesare de la Fuente. Ruprah again won a race to a through ball and slotted it past the keeper. Onrushing de la Fuente poked it over the line as he won a race with the Lions defender who was attempting to clear the ball. de la Fuente got the goal, the Lions defender got a knee full of post, causing a brief stoppage in play.
Two goal hero de La Fuente looks on while his teammates admire him.
Before the first half was out the Iron would add one more, this one a little bit softer than the first two. Patrick Smyth picked up possession from his position on the wing, cut inside and rolled the ball down the center of the goal.What the Lions goalkeeper was distracted by we may never know, but the ball went in, and the Iron went into the break up by three.
The second half begun much like the first ended, with the Iron clearly on the front foot. The fourth goal came quickly, de la Fuente taking a pass and rifling the ball low into the far corner for an insurmountable 4-0 lead for Gastown. B.G. Lions had yet to muster much reply, but were finally able to call substitute goalkeeper Matt Smyth into action soon after the goal. The Lions striker recieved a pass outside the area, took a quick touch and released the ball well, Smyth (the younger brother of the always well coiffed Patrick Smyth) was able to the task - turning the ball over the bar acrobatically. Much to the Gastown defender's credits, that was the last real test for Smyth as the rest of the action was focussed very much on the Lions goal.
Parrott celebrates the Iron's fifth and final goal.
It was Captain Owen Parrott who was next to strike, as a promising looking Gastown break ended with Parrott taking a well slid in pass and poking home for a fifth for the Iron. Moments later, Ruprah jetting into the area with the Lions defender seeing no other alternative than to chop him down, a penalty was awarded to Gastown. On the kindness of Ruprah, David Yesaya stepped up to the spot with the hopes of scoring in his last game for the Iron. It was not to be however as Yesaya's attempted sneaky chip ended up floating high and wide of the goal - followed closely by a number of choice French profanities. The offense wasn't done though for Gastown, Emre Caliskan next to go close with a strike from just outside the area. Next came a hat-trick of posts for the Iron, Connor Keller taking a pass from Caliskan and pelting a shot off the outside of the near post from just inside the 18. Keller followed though up, picked up his own rebound and promptly smacked it off the same upright, the ball riccoched out to Ruprah at the top of the box , and the Lithuanian/Swedish/American/Italian rifled his volley off the top of the crossbar. B.G. Lions never had much of a respite - Caliskan spurned a couple of opportunities to add to the Gastown lead - until the final whistle blew to end what had been a comprehensive victory for the Iron.
Keller comes agonizingly close by hitting the post, three times.
The three points gained puts the Iron closer to their second successive crown in Vancouver's United Soccer League Division 1 - a title that the Iron are now within reaching distance of following their next game, a 3-0 win by forfeit over tough rivals Lagos Shooting Stars. Despite having to wave goodbye to Hope Fan (off on tour in Europe) and David Yesaya (off to different pastures) as well as the continuing absence of goalkeeper Jack Whelan (sunbathing on the Isle of Whyte), the Iron have fared well this summer and will hope to round off their last two games in style on their way to defending their title. The next game for Gastown will be a rematch with one of the only two teams to outscore the mighty Iron, namely Astros F.C. Andy Livingston park will play host to the rematch August 19th as the Iron will be highly motivated to beat the Spanish kitted Astros squad.