Men’s Soccer: “Broken Record”
Concordia’s Woes Continue As They Drop Game to McGill
Truth be told, it was the same old song and dance Friday night for the Concordia Stingers men’s soccer team. An inability to dictate the play, failure to finish, and lack of concentration all led to the demise of the Stingers, who fell 1-0 to the McGill Redmen at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium this past Friday night.
Before addressing the media following the match, manager Greg Sutton said, “I’m about to sound like a broken record here. You can probably just use the same quotes as last week.”
The Stingers entered the game tied with McGill for fifth place in the Reseau de Sport Étudiant de Québec conference, and both teams were searching for three crucial points that would inch them closer to the coveted fourth and final playoff spot.
McGill played with more urgency during the earlier stages of the match and were rewarded for their efforts 25 minutes in. After successfully defending a set piece, the Stingers were caught off guard when Redmen striker Alex Goldman received a pass just inside the penalty area, and slotted it past Stingers goalkeeper Remo Taraschi, who was making his second start of the year.
It was a dream start for the Redmen, but it left the Stingers having to chase the game again, a position they have become all too familiar with this year.
“Again, I don’t think we played to our ability. We didn’t do the right things from a tactical standpoint to start the game. We went down a goal and then had to switch things up,” a clearly agitated Sutton said.
The Concordia offence, who were shut out five times prior to this game, were dormant again for the rest of the first half. The only real opportunity came when Eli Barutciski managed to have a shot from just outside the box in the 38th minute, but saw his effort sail wide left.
The teams would disperse into the locker rooms at halftime to beat the ever-growing cold weather, and when they re-emerged, it seemed Concordia were the better side in the second half.
As shaky as the offense was in the first 45 minutes, things began to click as the second half transpired. The addition of Gabriel Quinn as a substitute only helped matters, while the quality of midfield play by Brandon Anderson increased.
“In the second half we had an improved performance. The coaches gave us an inspiring talk at the break. We began to drive forward after and created chances,” Anderson said.
Several set pieces and corner kicks threatened McGill goalkeeper Max Leblond, but were successfully cleared. With 20 minutes remaining, Barutciski again took a shot, but only to see Leblond get his fingertips to it.
With just five minutes remaining, the Concordia supporters almost had their moment to cheer. A ball bounced towards an unmarked Amadou Lam in the box, who dove to head it, but to the dismay of the Stingers, put it over the crossbar.
When the full 90 minutes were up, previously added time plus an injury to a McGill player resulted in nearly eight minutes of extra time. McGill successfully navigated two Concordia corner kicks and two set pieces to secure the victory..
Laval, who sits fourth in the playoffs with nine points, was defeated on the same night by UdeM. Therefore, as things stand, Concordia is still three points out of the playoff picture, with McGill and Laval tied for fourth.
On Sunday, Concordia will host UQTR in another pivotal matchup. The Patriotes defeated the Stingers 2-0 earlier in the year.
“I think from here on out, we have to win at least three out of four,” Sutton said.
Meanwhile, Anderson simply described this Sunday’s looming game: “It’s a must win.”