The storm is over for the Squamish Thunder.
In a hard-fought aggressive battle Saturday (April 17), the underrated, over-achieving Squamish Thunder gave it all they had but couldn't match the offensive talent of Team Amsterdam, losing in the final of the Premiership Cup 5-2.
The game featured everything any die-hard soccer fan or player would want - fast-paced, tight-checking action full of adrenaline from both teams in the match.
"It was pretty rough out there," said Thunder forward Dalmar Joseph. "Pretty bump and grind the whole game - we were fighting for every inch of the field out there."
Amsterdam bolted out of the gate and charged to an early 2-0 lead, utilizing speed and quick passes to get through the Thunder defense.
Amsterdam scored once more before the first half was over, taking a convincing 3-0 lead into the second half.
"Our game plan backfired," said Thunder forward Kevin Schellenberg. "We knew we needed to score first because we didn't want to have to chase them from behind. From a defensive standpoint, we could have played better."
Even though they were down three goals, the Thunder still had some life left in their legs and in their hearts. They kept applying pressure on the Amsterdam defense in their own zone and were rewarded with a nice goal five minutes into the second half by Greg Joseph Jr. Danny Muir scored the Thunder's second goal to give the squad a glimmer of hope for a comeback.
"They definitely came out storming and didn't let up," said Amsterdam captain Shaun Hughes. "It was a 50/50 battle out there today - a really great game."
For Amsterdam, the victory in the final enabled them to walk away from the 2003/04 season with a rare double-double. They also finished atop the overall regular season standings before hoisting the trophy as winners of the Premiership Cup.
"That's what we set out to do at the beginning," said Hughes. "Winning the league wasn't enough; we wanted both."
In the final, both teams displayed strong passing plays and exceptional speed, fuelled by the intensity that comes from playoff soccer. Even though there was a total of 10 yellow cards handed out during the match, the referees were forced to let the aggressive play go and allowed the game to run its own course. Amsterdam scored the final two goals of the game to put it out of reach for the Thunder.
"It was a really good, aggressive match," said league official Jose Oreamu. "It was excellent to see the quality of soccer progress throughout the season. We went from experiencing some dirty soccer to very good, clean soccer at the end of the season."
More than 100 fans showed up at Centennial Fields on Saturday, when the afternoon sun broke through the morning rainclouds to provide perfect playing conditions.
For the Squamish Thunder, losing in the final was disappointing but not earth-shattering. It was the first season that a full team had been assembled, with a majority of players from the Squamish First Nations.
"Even though we took second we still had a great season," said Thunder goalkeeper Richard Moody. "We're gonna keep this team together and come out charging next year. We'll get 'em next season."
After the game, the Premiership Cup was presented to Amsterdam, and league officials handed out the rest of the hardware and individual trophies for all the team MVPs.
Khalsa - Andre Jensen
Carney's - Sean Sweeney
Amsterdam - Devon Jodrey
Ellis Moving - Mike Bishop
Thunder - Danny Muir
Brew Pub - Scott Lamond
Rangers - Shane Rouse
Amsterdam also received the trophy for winning the league championship. In the Divisional Cup final, two Squamish teams squared off for third place honours, with Khalsa defeating Ellis Moving 2-1. The Sportsmanship Cup was awarded to the Squamish Rangers, the team with the fewest yellow cards received over the season.