It wasn't the start to the season that the Surrey United Firefighters were looking for.
Surrey kicked off defence of their provincial men's crown with a discouraging 1-0 loss to West Van as the Vancouver Metro Soccer League kicked off the new premier campaign last Saturday with a full slate of games at Newton Athletic Park.
Playing in a rematch of last year's Imperial Cup final - which was won by West Van - it took a while for the Firemen to find their stride. By the time Surrey figured things out, they trailed by a goal and we were unable solve the West Van defence despite a carrying much of the play in the final 45 minutes.
"We looked sluggish," said Surrey coach Niall Thompson. "They played their game and we tried to play something a bit different and it didn't work. I take the blame for that; I should have changed our tactics earlier.
"It was a bad lapse in concentration at the end of the first half that allowed them to score and that cost us the game. I tell the guys that most goals are scored at the beginning of halfs, right after a goal is scored and at the end of halfs. That's what the stats are, but even after that goal, we dominated play in the second half and should have scored at least once. We didn't though and our lack of killer instinct killed us in the end."
Surrey will try to bounce back on the road against premier newcomers Estrella de Chile in Burnaby Friday.
z Elsewhere, the Newton derby between Newton Athletic Park roommates ICST Pegasus and Rovers CCBTU settled nothing as the two sides played to a scoreless draw.
"We knew it was going to be a tight battle and that's exactly what happened," said Rovers coach Ted Hans. "Last year they had the upper hand on us but it's a new year and there's always changes. It was a close game and while we didn't get a win, we didn't lose either and now we have to get ready for the next game."
The Rovers host the Metro Ford Wolves on Saturday at 4 p.m. while Pegasus hits the road to play Norvan Pacific the same day.
z The Delta Hurricanes were the only team from south of the Fraser to pick up a win Saturday as they outlasted the Richmond Hibernians 3-2.
Harpreet Khakh spotted the Hurricanes with a 1-0 lead in the first half.
Richmond tied the game up in 55th minute but five minutes later, Delta was back on top thanks to a Daniel Badesha goal off a free kick.
The Hurricanes stretched their lead to 3-1 in the 70th minute when Johti Thind made the most of a breakaway chance.
Undeterred, Richmond battled back and cut the lead to one in the 75th minute. That set up an exciting finish but Delta's defence rose to the occasion and preserved the 3-2 win.
"The guys played really well," said Hurricanes manager Billy Dhaliwal. "It was nice to see us convert our chances because last year we struggled to score at the start of the season. It was good to score those goals and overall, our team defence was good as well.
"It was a good first game but we have to be better at finishing these games. Once we went up 3-1, we kind of sat back a bit and that gave Richmond some life and a chance to come back."
Delta will try to build on its opening weekend success when the Hurricanes take on Columbus in Vancouver Sunday.
z In women's soccer, nine-time defending provincial champion Surrey United opened the season with a 2-2 draw in North Vancouver against the North Shore Renegades.
The rematch of last year's provincial final was a seesaw affair with Surrey taking the lead twice only to have the Renegades rally to tie each time.
Surrey's Nicole Stewart opened the scoring with the lone goal of the first half.
After North Shore tied the game early in the second frame, Rachel Pelat headed home a corner kick to put Surrey back up by one.
North Shore then leveled the count at 2-2 with a goal in the final five minutes.
Surrey returns home to Cloverdale Athletic Park Saturday to host the Vancouver Whitecaps Under-18 team beginning at 2 p.m.