Stingers 2, Redbirds 1: Concordia Dominates in Rivalry Win
Midfield the Key to the Game as Stingers Pick Up Second Win
Another twist has presented itself in the Réseau de Sport Étudiant du Québec’s men’s soccer title race with the Concordia Stingers handing rivals McGill Redbirds a narrow yet decisive 2-1 defeat on Sept. 23.
Chaos has reigned this season, with no team winning more than half their games and the gap between first and fifth place sitting at only two points.
“You just have to worry about yourself and continue to grow as a team,” said head coach Greg Sutton. “We’re not even at the halfway point in the season, but we’ve had a lot of learning experiences so far, and I think this is a step in the right direction.”
Concordia dictated the pace from kickoff, imposing their physicality and winning the ball high up the field. While dominating the pace of the game, Concordia forward Andrew Foote was played in alone, stopped by McGill goalkeeper Ludovyck Ciociola.
Just before the half-hour mark, McGill had their first big scoring opportunity. Reece Carlow got in behind the Stingers defence with only keeper Jordy Kerlegrand to beat but couldn’t convert the goal, sending the ball over the bar.
The chances continued to come for both sides, each looking to open the scoring. Only two minutes later, Jared Leheta was found all alone and had the chance to give Concordia the lead, but he missed his shot, sending it wide.
Five minutes later, the score was finally opened through Foote, getting on the end of an Angus Legault corner and giving Concordia the lead. The Stingers could sense the momentum shift and capitalized even more, dominating play further and continuing to push in front of the home crowd.
That pressure came to fruition only nine minutes later, as Foote made it a brace. Receiving the ball on the right of the box, the second-year student smashed a shot into the bottom right corner.
“We exploited their back line with those runs in behind and we got goals out of it,” said Foote. “It’s just what we needed coming off a difficult weekend [against Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières] and to get back at it.”
McGill pulled one back through Jake Gerenraich, who was found following an inch-perfect ball in from Carlow, ending a dramatic half at 2-1 in favour of Concordia.
The second half saw very little change in tempo, with both teams determined to secure their first derby win of the season.
Five minutes into the period, Carlow was played through once again and got around an overly-aggressive Kerlegrand but was denied by captain Sean Holmes, preserving Concordia’s lead.
The Stingers would proceed to spend the rest of the game with a composed grip on the game, minimizing potential McGill threats and dominating the midfield.
“We made the decision as a group to keep the lead and just defend. It worked out tonight we’re just going to have to adapt to every team we play,” said Holmes. “It’s not the win we wanted. If I’m being honest, we were way better than them. We didn’t show it, but we’re still growing.”
After seeing out the crucial win and three points against McGill, another huge test awaits Concordia as they travel to the CEPSUM on Sept. 25 to take on defending National Champions Université de Montréal Carabins.