Carabins 5, Stingers 1: Concordia’s Men’s Soccer Unbeaten Run Cut Short by Slow Start
Disastrous First 15 Minutes Overshadow a Hard-Fought Effort.
Going into their game against league-leaders les Carabins de l’Université de Montréal, the Stingers had just come off of drawing second-place UQAM and beating last place Sherbrooke.
However, by the time the 17th minute of the first half came around, the previous quarter-hour seemed to be something straight out of a nightmare. Defensive lapses in concentration as well as no pressure on the midfield meant that the Carabins ran rampant for the first 20 minutes and saw themselves go up 3-0 in no time.
“It was just a complete meltdown,” said Stingers’ head coach Greg Sutton. “There’s really no other way to put it. All eleven players out there were not at all at the level we expect out of them.”
The early goals from Carabins forward Heikel Jarras who found the net twice and a neat finish Guy-Frank Essomé-Penda meant that an uphill against the best defense in the league was a daunting task to say the least. However, the men’s team didn’t lay down and die but instead started putting more pressure.
The two full backs pushed further forward essentially had five players in the middle of the pitch and the midfielders attacked the ball immediately after possession was lost. This lead to some really good scoring chances that might’ve tilted the final scored had the Stingers managed to put the finishing touch on it.
“Aside from those first twenty-or-so minutes I thought we played a pretty solid game,” said Sutton. “We put pressure on the ball, we kept possession, and we put in a really good effort for 70 minutes. We just have to focus on making that 90.”
Freshman midfielder Otto Cardell came on as a substitute in the 68th minute had similar thoughts on the performance.
“Playing the top two teams two days apart was definitely tough and we were obviously lacking at the beginning but we regrouped as a team after the third goal and put some pressure on them,” said Cardell. “We sent a message to ourselves that we have a good team and that if we get in a complete, solid game we can play with anyone.”
A post, a no-call on a penalty and two missed open nets showed that a possibility of coming away with points just wasn’t in the cards for the Stingers. Simon Malaborsa did however finally convert on a penalty after a handball in the box. That let the Stingers ruin the Carabins keeper Louis-Philippe Simard’s clean sheet in the 84th minute.
The Stingers do face the two opponents on top of them in in McGill and Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières as well as last place Sherbrooke all while having a game in hand on the two latter. Ideally that means that there are still many opportunities to pick up points and challenge for the final playoff spot currently held by UQTR.