The Surrey United Firefighters came up just short in an attempt to defend their Imperial Cup championship.
United lost 1-0 in overtime to West Van FC in the cup final at Kinsmen Park in North Vancouver April 1.
United was the fourth-place finisher in the Vancouver Metro Soccer League’s Premier Division this past season with a 12-2-8 (won-tied-lost) record, 12 points out of the top spot and eight back of the runner-up West Van squad.
Injuries and suspensions left Surrey without several stars, but spectacular goaltending from Paul Shepherd carried the game into extra time. West Van netted the winner late in the 30-minute overtime.
United will now focus on the Provincial Cup tournament, a 16-team knockout competition featuring teams from four different leagues. The winner advances to the national championships next October.
Surrey will visit Peace Arch United in a first round match on Saturday (April 14). Kickoff is at 2:30 p.m. at the South Surrey Athletic Park.
Three other local teams are also in Provincial Cup play.
ICST Pegasus, champions of the Premier Division with a 15-5-2 record, have been seeded third and will host VMSL rival Metro-Ford Wolves.
The Delta United Hurricanes, fifth in the VMSL Premier Division at 10-5-7, will host Vic West FC of the Vancouver Island Soccer League.
North Delta FC of the Fraser Valley Soccer League, the runner-up team in the Premier Division at 8-5-5, will be on the road against Langley United.