United men moving on in cup play

The Vancouver Island Soccer League’s hottest team played like a favourite and easily advanced to the next round of cup playdowns.

Nanaimo United’s Div. 1 men defeated Bays United Div. 2 on Saturday night at Merle Logan Field by a 5-0 score in Jackson Cup play.

United coach Scott Davison said his team played well against an unfamiliar opponent.

“We ended up trying a defensive formation initially, just to measure them up,” he said.

That style of play was still enough to help Nanaimo to a 2-0 lead at halftime.

“We could tell we had a bit more so we changed the formation and in the second half, proceeded to steamroll them,” said Davison.

Thomas Anderson led the offence with two goals and Chris Merriman, Andrew Adams and Dan Cato were the other goal scorers. Keeper Mack Zirkl registered the shutout.

Nanaimo’s victory sets up a quarter-final matchup against Bays United’s Div. 1 men. Nanaimo hasn’t beaten Bays’ top side yet in 2011-12.

“Which could conceivably allow them to take us lightly,” Davison said.

He said Nanaimo never faced Bays with a full squad. These days, Nanaimo’s squad is full to overflowing.

“I’ve got 17 guys vying for 11 positions on the field, so that keeps them hungry,” said the coach. “Practices are ramped up … They’re excited, they’re primed.”

GAME ON … Nanaimo will face Bays United Div. 1 on March 10 in Victoria … Nanaimo’s U21 side advanced in George Smith Cup playdowns with an 11-0 win over the Saanich Braves Sunday. The team faces Gordon Head Gold on Friday (March 9) at 7 p.m. at Merle Logan Field … United’s Div. 2 men were eliminated from playdowns with a 2-0 home loss Saturday to Gorge FC Div. 1.

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