Concordia 1, Montréal 1: All Eyes on Sunday for Stingers Men’s Soccer

Men’s Soccer Team Minutes Away From Clinching Playoff Berth Against Defending National Champions

The Concordia Stingers are looking to reach unchartered territory for the first time in seven years. Photo Oseremen Irete

One of the most entertaining parts of any soccer season, in any league, is Decision Day. The last game of the season where every team plays at the same time and the final standings are set.

For the last few seasons, the Concordia Stingers’ men’s soccer team hasn’t had much of a stake in this drama-filled day.

However, after a heartbreaking draw against the defending national champion Université de Montréal Carabins on Friday night, the Singers missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot and now have to rely on last-minute drama once again.

“We’re going into the next game only focused on getting the result we need and we just need to focus on our game,” said head coach Greg Sutton. “But if it turns out the result we need changes then we’ll plan accordingly.”

For a while, it seemed as though defender Matthew Francois’ absolute stunner of a strike just before the hour-mark was enough to see the Stingers through in a massive upset against the second-ranked team in the country.

However, a 93rd-minute heartbreaker courtesy of the defending national champions left the game a disappointing 1-1 draw.

“It’s a tough result especially when you know how much was riding on today but it was a great effort and we just have to get ready for Sunday,” said captain Lester Gariba. “Trois-Rivières is a good team and we need to be ready for a battle since they’re gunning for first place.”

Life for the Stingers was a lot more complicated after they gave up that last-minute equalizer. It put them behind the 8-ball and forced them to play for a win next week against second-place Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières.

Nevertheless, following McGill’s shocking loss to last-place Sherbrooke, Concordia‘s options seem a lot better.

Going into Sunday’s deciding game, a point is all they need to secure a spot in the postseason for the first time since 2012-2013.

Currently sitting at 14 points—and level with the Université Laval Rouge et Or with McGill trailing behind at 11—all Concordia needs is a single point or for McGill to lose in order to book their ticket.

“If you go into the game thinking about all the math surrounding it, you’re already behind. If you treat it more than a normal game then you can’t focus on your game,” said Gariba. “What matters is that we’re in charge of our own destiny and we need to put in the work.”

While the Stingers may be in a favourable position, a playoff qualification is by no means a sure thing. UQTR has been in scintillating form recently, winning five of their last six games—with their only loss coming to UdeM.

“Early on in the season, they came here and frankly took us to school,” said Sutton. “I would like to go back and take it back to them a little. They’re a strong team but if they think it’s going to be a similar scoreline then we’ll have a surprise for them.”

The Stingers are looking to clinch their first playoff berth in seven years on Sunday at 1 p.m. as they take on the Université de Québec à Trois-Rivières Patriotes at Stade Gilles-Doucet. You can also watch a live stream of the game right here.