Just one minute of soccer separated Cowichan LMG from the BC Cup championship match.
Leading 2-1 after 90 minutes of regulation and one minute of injury time in last Saturday’s semifinal in Burnaby, Cowichan just had to get through 60 more seconds without allowing a goal. Unfortunately, that was all that EDC FC needed to draw even and force overtime.
Neither team scored in overtime, and the game went to the dreaded penalty goals, where EDC edged past Cowichan 6-5, sending themselves to the final and putting an end to LMG’s incredible season.
"We were just as good [as EDC]," Cowichan coach Glen Martin said. "We were one minute away from being in the final, but it wasn’t meant to be."
After both teams started the game cautiously, Cowichan got on the board first when Dan Cato headed in a cross from Craig Gorman at the 30-minute mark. The 1-0 score held up through the 45-minute mark.
"We felt pretty good at halftime," Martin said. "But they were a strong team. I felt we were going to need more than one goal."
At 57 minutes, EDC finally scored their first goal on a clear offside that the linesperson missed, but the Cowichan players didn’t let that throw them off.
"The guys kept their composure,"
At that point, the game opened up. Martin ended up making his first substitution of the game with 20 minutes left, sending Andres Algarin in for Dan Citra, and the move paid off just minutes later when defender Tyler Hughes got the ball to Gorman, who completed another perfect cross that Algarin finished off.
Cowichan had chances to make it 3-1 after that, but the EDC goalie came up big every time.
"Their goalie had a strong game," Martin said. "Both goalies did."
After regulation, the ref called for two minutes of extra time, which turned out to be one too many for Cowichan. On the tying goal, an EDC player sent a cross over the head of Jesse Winter, and his teammate brought the ball down with his chest and volleyed it into the corner behind Cowichan goalie Scott Brown. It was reminiscent of another late goal in a big game this season, albeit one that Cowichan managed to overcome with a victory. "The guys were just gutted," Martin said. "It was the Jackson Cup all over again, a last-shot-ofthe- game kind of thing."
Cowichan controlled the first 15-minute overtime, and had chances to score, but couldn’t capitalize. In the second 15, EDC set the pace, but Brown kept Cowichan alive.
When it went to penalties Paddy Nelson and Hughes scored, Steve Scott was stopped, and Gorman and Keevan Webb scored, while EDC’s first three shooters scored, the fourth was stopped, and the fifth put the ball in off the crossbar to keep the game going. "It was a game of inches," Martin said.
It kept going: Kevan Brown scored for Cowichan, and EDC matched that. Then LMG defender Brad Archibald was stopped – just barely – and EDC’s seventh shooter sealed it up with a goal.
"It was a really heartbreaking game for the guys," Martin said. "It was hard to take."
Martin also made sure to thank the fans who have supported the team all season, noting that at last weekend’s match, they had nearly as many supporters as the home team did.
"We have the best fans in the province at this level," he said.
The loss to EDC brings an end to a season in which Cowichan achieved its goals of winning the Vancouver Island Soccer League title and the Jackson Cup, and was within sight of completing the trifecta with a BC Cup championship.
"You can’t get closer than what happened to us," Martin said.