Langley United ousted by defending champs

The Surrey United Firefighters ended Langley United’s season Saturday night at Willoughby Turf.

When the final whistle blew, in overtime, the Firefighters came away with a 2-1 victory in the Provincial A Cup men’s premier soccer quarter-final match-up.

While his team came up short, United coach Rob Keam was proud of the effort his lads put forth.

“I felt our team played well overall, and the game was also very good with a huge crowd watching,” Keam said. “The pace of the game was very, very fast. We started off slower than usual. I’m not sure if it was due to the pace of the game or if we were giving Surrey too much respect, as they are one of the top teams in the province and are the reigning provincial cup champions.”

It took the hosts most of the first half to match the pace of the two-time defending provincial champion Firefighters.

Surrey jumped out to a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the match on a goal from Angus Burke, and without some huge saves from goalkeeper Colton Keam and a few good plays from United’s back four, Langley would have been down by two or three markers at the half.

At halftime, Langley regrouped, changed its style of play a bit, and controlled the play before tying the game at 70 minutes, off a Mitchell Rohla rocket that sailed over the head of Surrey goalkeeper Andrew Fink and into the top corner of the net from 35 yards away.

The hosts were unlucky to have not scored late and come away with a win, off a corner kick head ball from Brent Wantke.

In extra time, Langley created many chances, with Surrey counter attacking until the visitors found the net at 115 minutes, when Surrey’s Sean Einarsson poked home the winner to send the defending champs into the final four.

While Keam lauded Paul Ballard and Wantke for their excellent defensive play, and Rohla and Tyson Keam for their work in the midfield and the many shots and chances they created, he credited his entire team for stepping up and doing what was asked of them to try and achieve the win.

Sunday’s loss put an end to a very long nine month season for the Langley United premier men.

“I am very pleased and appreciate the players’ commitment this year – we had a fantastic group of committed players,” Keam said, reflecting on the season as a whole. “Though we are very disappointed about the loss, our team needs to know they still have had a very good year overall, being one of the top teams in B.C. and winning some very nice trophies, the Pacific and Pakenham cups.”

For the players, it’s time to rest, recover, and get refreshed for a few months, Keam said: “We will soon start planning on how we can get improve, to take another step towards winning Langley a provincial championship. We will be starting back up in early August.”

EXTRA TIME: The Firefighters move on the Provincial A Cup semifinal against the Metro-Ford Wolves.

– With files from

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