Down, but not out

Men’s soccer team suffers third straight loss this weekend

Kyle Owens (17) attempting to weave through the Varsity Blues defensive line in their 4-0 loss.
Kyle Owens (17) attempting to weave through the Varsity Blues defensive line in their 4-0 loss.

This weekend the men's soccer team (4-3-1) faced off against two of the league’s tougher squads, playing the #3 CIS ranked Ryerson and the University of Toronto Varsity Blues and falling short both times. 

The Ryerson Rams (8-0) opened scoring on Saturday with a fast goal in the eight minute of play and proceeded to control the flow of the match, scoring again in the 45th minute. 

Despite five shots on net, the Gaels were unable to get a goal to catch up. Subsequent quick scores in the beginning of the second half led to the final score of 4-0.

Gaels captain Andrew Martin said that Saturday’s match served as motivation for the team going into Sunday’s game. 

“We were obviously still motivated to come out and steal three points,” he said. Martin attributed part of Saturday’s loss to the Gaels not being able to “connect as a group or as a team.”

The Gaels came out at the beginning of Sunday’s match against Toronto (6-1-2) much stronger than the day before, especially on defense. However, the Blues kept the ball in the Gaels’ end for the first ten minutes of play, putting constant pressure on keeper Daniel van Woerkens. The keeper played superbly, making a crucial save early in the match around the seven-minute mark.

The match was a vocal and emotional one, as the Gaels collected fouls in an attempt to shut down the unrelenting Blues attack.

Unfortunately, after a free kick from the Queen’s side in an attempt to relieve the pressure, the Blues regained possession of the ball and scored three back-to-back goals between the 36th and 42nd minutes of play. Martin referred to the free kick as “a little demoralizing” and saw it as the turning point in not only the game, but also the attitude of the team.

Hopes for a second half comeback were put to rest with a short cross from the Blues that resulted in another U of T goal just nine minutes into the half. The Gaels continued to rotate players into the game, even with a four-goal deficit, notably subbing off Martin who was a major part of the Gaels midfield defense. 

While there were no more goals in the game, tension on the field remained high. There was no shortage of fouls, much like the first half. Both sides continued to contest for every possession, but the Blues had a slightly more organized attack and continued to control the tempo of the match.

With the team losing their third straight game, after opening their season with five straight wins without dropping points, Martin believes that the team needs to re-evaluate both their on-field play and off-field attitudes ahead of their matches next weekend.

He was confident, however, that the prospects for the Gaels season were still high, believing that the team could still come first or second in the OUA East.

The Gaels are on their back foot coming off the double loss, but they’re moving forward and getting ready to face off against the RMC Paladins this Wednesday. Last time these teams played, the Gaels won 3-0.

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