It was a case of where the team was just as ‘United’ as the team moniker suggested.
Pulling together and following a familiar route to the finish line, the Burnaby District Metro Select under-13 boys United erased a first half deficit to catapult past the Fraser Valley Selects 3-2 in extra time to win the Coastal A Cup final last week.
“I really feel the turning point of the game was how the boys reset and refocused at half time when we started the second half without anything to lose,” noted United coach Jovan Lazarevic. “We came out in the second half wanting to put a lot of pressure on (Fraser Valley), and the only way to have success with that approach is if every player on the pitch is united and doing their job. The boys certainly did this, and it led to our early success in the second half.”
Burnaby found themselves trailing after a free kick hit the crossbar and was recovered by Fraser Valley, who drove all the way for a goal against the flow of play with 10 minutes left in the first half.
Having entered the game beaming after handing North Vancouver its first loss of the season in the semifinal, United took the moments at halftime to regain their composure. It paid off shortly, as the squad tallied twice early in the second half on shots by Rolan Amin and Markus Rukavina to go ahead 2-1.
The defence and midfield were outstanding in protecting their territory and helping create both goals.
But, with five minutes left in regulation, the Valley rival rallied to force extra time.
In that extra period, Armaan Gulamhussein delivered the decisive strike on a scramble inside the 18-yard box with five minutes remaining.
From there, the defence held down the fort. It was the fourth straight year that a Burnaby team had won the u13 Coastal A Cup title.
“It is great feeling, even after eight days, especially knowing that our hard work,dedication and goals that we set up at the beginning of the season start to happen,” said Lazarevic.
“You had to believe it and good things (would) start to happen.”
Burnaby, who finished the regular season fourth overall at 10-3-5, two losses better than Fraser Valley, now has a provincial cup to prepare for.
“Our biggest strength heading into provincials is the fact that the boys play like (a) United team connected with good chemistry,” Lazarevic said. “This combined with the confidence we've gained playing in and winning big games during the cup run, should serve us well heading into provincials.”
The United lineup includes: Rolan Amin, Adam Chan, David Dorland, Armaan Gulamhussein, Max Lazarevic, Antonio Moretto, Giovanni Negin, Markus Rukavina, Pavel Stancic, Nicholas Svetic, Maks Tomljenovic, Roko Vukic, Ivan Vuletin, Justin Waugh, Ryan Zhang. Coaches: Jovan Lazarevic, Ivan Svetic. Manager Parm Sanghera.