EDC Burnaby a point shy of premier soccer lead

Third straight draw results in 1-1 tie with first-place Columbus

Too much respect may have cost EDC FC Burnaby the overall lead in the Vancouver Metro Soccer League.

The second-year premier division club played to a third consecutive draw, tying first-place and defending league champion Columbus 1-1 at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex-West last Friday.

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“There was too much respect for both teams,” said Burnaby head coach Claudio Ramirez. “They know we’re a good team, … in a short time, we have made a name for ourselves.”

Burnaby’s Admir Salihovic, who scored the game-tying goal for the former Estrella de Chile club, set up teammates Habil Otieno and Rizal Ganief for two excellent chances in the opening half that went wanting.

Columbus scored first when Kazunori Kikuchi deflected a Blair Robertson cross past Burnaby keeper Michael Newton.

Salihovic got that goal back in the 30th minute, tying the contest on his own rebound after a set up from Eric Ray and Otieno.

Early in the second half, Steve DeBlasio came close to giving Columbus the lead, ringing a shot off the crossbar.

Later in the half, the Italians went a man down, but Burnaby was unable to come away with the three points, despite scoring opportunities from Ylya Malek and Ganief, who is currently on a scoring tear with 11 goals in his first seven games.

The draw left unbeaten Burnaby club with 13 points and a second-place record of 3-0-4.

Burnaby opened the season with a 1-1 tie with Surrey United Firefighters before winning four in a row.

Columbus leads the premier division by a single point with a 4-1-2 record.

Last season, the Chileans raced out to a strong first-half start but faded later in the year after disappointing results against some of the weaker clubs

This season, there is a focus on maximizing the effort each and every time out, said Ramirez.

“I’m not a fan of ties,” Ramirez said. “This year, with the ties, hopefully they’ll be less complacent. I think we learned our lesson and are respecting all our points.”

With 14 players all competing for a starting spot each week, Ramirez is comfortable with the club’s depth.

He is also waiting for this weekend’s PacWest provincial championships to conclude so he can include those affiliated college players in the lineup.

“Our depth is good. We have a lot of guys pushing for a starting spot. The cavalry is coming on the youth side,” he said.

EDC Burnaby faces fourth-place CCB-TU United at Newton Athletic Turf today (Friday) at 8:30 p.m.

In under-21 division action, EDC Burnaby lost to first-place Surrey United 4-1. This Friday, Burnaby takes on Guildford FC at Burnaby Lake-West at 8 p.m.

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