A Toronto road trip handed men’s soccer their first two losses of the season.
Facing the Ryerson Rams and Toronto Varsity Blues, the Gaels fell in a pair of one-goal games. Queen’s found themselves a man down in both matches after players were sent off with red cards.
The Gaels (5-2-1) faced off against the Rams (8-0-0) to open the weekend, in a match between teams atop the OUA East table.
The first half ended scoreless, with keeper Max Materne making some key saves to keep the Gaels in the game.
Misfortune struck Queen’s early in the second half, as fourth-year defender Rob Lannan was dismissed when he took down a Ryerson forward on a breakaway.
After Lannan’s ejection, the Gaels displayed impressive defensive prowess and even had some chances up front. They were eventually bested in the 83rd minute by a Ryerson back post header that found its way into the net, marking the match’s only tally.
Head coach Christian Hoefler said the loss was a difficult one for the squad.
“Ryerson was a quality side,” he said. “We suffered a red card early in the second half, but we did not give in and we still had opportunities – it just didn’t go our way.”
Hoefler said Lannan’s red card was a slight setback, but he was proud of the way the team reacted to being a man down.
“Obviously any time a team goes down a man it does become difficult in terms of getting forward or getting opportunities to score – but we had a system in place for that and we adjusted well,” he said. “The remaining 10 players really pulled through and we ended up having two or three more opportunities closer to the end of the game.”
Sunday proved to be just as frustrating for the Gaels, as the Varsity Blues (5-2-1) scored two goals late in the first half that put them in a tough position of catch-up for the rest of the game.
The Gaels pressed throughout the second half with striker Eric Koskins potting a goal in the 86th minute.
As Queen’s continued to press, some particularly passionate play from midfielder Chris Michael led to a red card for a late tackle.
Ultimately, the team’s efforts fell just short, with the game ending in a 2-1 victory for Toronto.
Hoefler said there were a couple of factors that led to the loss against Toronto.
“In my opinion you could see there were signs of fatigue and a lack of focus from certain areas of the field,” he said. “Toronto is a quality side — they capitalized on our mistakes and went up early 2-0 and it’s tough to come back from that.”
Hoefler said the losses aren’t the end of the Gaels’ season, and they’ll go into training this week with the continued goal of working towards winning the OUA title.
“I know that the young men here will work harder this week to ensure that we get the results next weekend,” he said. “We’ll have a good week.”
The Gaels will look to rebound this weekend as they travel to take on the UOIT Ridgebacks (1-4-3) on Saturday before hosting the Trent Excalibur (1-6-1) on Sunday.
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