There was plenty of fuel, and once Estrella de Chile-Burnaby’s under-21 men’s soccer team found the gas pedal, they were gone.
The Burnaby side proved unstoppable Saturday in the U21 provincial quarterfinal, trouncing Surrey United 5-1 to continue their run.
Although Surrey struck first, capitalizing just two minutes into the contest off a free kick, EDC was able to compose itself and turn the tables, although it did take some time, Burnaby assistant coach Gio Hernandez said.
“It was a pretty entertaining first half, but we didn’t come out the way we wanted,” said Hernandez. “We conceded that first goal and we were like, ‘What?’ Last week we got back to basics in practice and looked really strong and then (we gave up the first goal).
“It was kind of tough to see.”
Having swept Surrey in league play, the cool start was a little surprising.
Burnaby slowly stripped down Surrey’s momentum after the opening tally and put its game plan into operation.
Joel Padmore netted the equalizer near the 30-minute mark, converting a well-played through ball.
Just before the half, EDC was awarded a penalty kick when one of their players was hauled down in the box, off a similar pass-and-go play.
This time, Daniel Morello put away the PK to give the regular season champions the lead.
In the second half, the main focus was not to surrender space for Surrey to rally.
“The message was that we may be winning and had turned it around, but we still weren’t playing how we wanted,” said Hernandez. “We needed to move the ball more efficiently and get them chasing, spread the field bigger, because in the first half we turned the ball over a few too many times.”
Another huge key was the play in the first half of netminder Savo Bogicevic, as he made sure the jump Guildford felt after capitalizing on their free kick wouldn’t carry over.
“He kept us in the game, with no doubt,” said Hernandez. “After that goal they had momentum; theY played with confidence but he settled us down and kept the ball out of the net.”
The end result were three more scores, with Padmore finishing with a hat trick. Drawing four assists in the game was Edris Najm.
The win slots EDC, who owned the best record in the Vancouver Metro regular season, into a semifinal showdown against the Mid Isle Mariners, who slipped past North Delta 1-0.
It puts them up against an unfamiliar foe, while on the other side of the bracket Guildford FC plays the Port Moody Gunners.
Guildford already played spoiler for Burnaby a month ago when they eked out a 3-2 decision in the league playoff final, a loss that still resonates, said Hernandez.
“This is a chance for redemption for us,” he said of the whole provincial tournament. “That loss was a sour taste, to lose the final in that way was tough. We’re extremely excited to be playing and to have a second chance.”
In the men’s open B division quarterfinal, the Burnaby Metro Soccer League’s Mundiavocat FC defeated the Vancouver Strikers 3-2 to advance to the semifinal, where they square off against Vancouver Metro’s Rhino’s Fury, Sunday, 12:30 p.m. at Burnaby Lake West complex.
In the other semifinal, another Burnaby Metro league squad, Impero Calcio, will play Campo Atletico. Imperio advanced with a convincing 4-2 doubling of Port Moody.