It ended just as though scripted.
First-time contestants in the Vancouver Metro Soccer League’s Over-35 premier circuit, EDC Burnaby understood the challenges, the possibilities and the route they’d need to take to exit on a successful note.
With Saturday’s 1-0 triumph over league rival Westside FC, Burnaby not only finished on a high but as provincial champions to boot.
Habil Otieno’s header midway through the second half stood up as the difference in EDC’s victory in the B.C. Masters A Cup final at Burnaby Lake West.
Teammate Ducivan De Souza Nascimento delivered a cross to the box that Otieno tipped past the Westside keeper.
“It was a pretty even (final), and we maybe had an edge in the first half and they kind of carried it a bit in the second half,” said Burnaby coach Rodrigo Alvarado.
Otieno’s tally didn’t come against the flow of play but certainly spurred on a big rally effort by Westside, whose roster is stocked with provincial cup experience.
“They came at us with everything after (Otieno’s goal). We kind of held on and weathered the storm.”
Leading that charge was goalkeeper Hugo Vazquez, who made four saves in the second half to protect the lead.
“We were getting a little worried,” noted Alvarado. “(Westside) kept coming at us. But at the beginning of the game we knew we may have had more wheels and were a little more youthful, but they had experience.”
In the end, Burnaby’s youth prevailed. It was the second time they handled Westside – having beaten them two months ago in the league cup semifinal.
The core of the EDC lineup are no strangers to championships, having won an Open A provincial title in 2015. But Alvarado said the important part was how they overcame a sluggish debut – where they finished sixth at 8-2-8 – and came together down the stretch.
They also had their share of critics who questioned their ability to keep their up-tempo game going.
“I think of this team like a family,” he said. “Everybody knew what it would take, that there’d be a lot of hard work and commitment. We got on a roll (in playoffs) and played like we wanted it more.”