On an incredibly stormy Sunday, the SFU Men’s soccer team took on professional side Whitecaps FC II. The team showed once again that they can compete with the best, as they drew 0–0. It was the exact same score that the team had against Toronto FC II two Fridays earlier.
“I thought we defended very, very well,” said Head Coach Clint Schneider afterwards. “The elements certainly equalized things, [so] that was nice. They’re a really good side, but I can’t say enough positives about the character my guys showed. We played this spring with 10 outfield players, and we haven’t conceded a goal at home in over a year. That’s pretty unbelievable.”
At the start of the game, the Whitecaps dominating possession, forcing the Clan to simply try and attack on the counter. The first good chance of the game fell to the ‘Caps, as SFU keeper Brandon Watson was forced to punch the ball out on a dangerous looking cross.
However, by the 30th minute, the weather started to become a huge factor. The rain was driving across the pitch, soaking everyone who wasn’t undercover, and the wind was so harsh that it knocked over equipment on the covered balcony I was standing under to cover the game. SFU, to their credit, continued to try and push forward, though they could have easily reverted to a defensive shell.
“No, we tried to play,” said Schneider. “I think they got into be a little bit more direct, and it punished them, because the ball would run out of bounds. But we kept things thing and compact, and it was good [. . .] it was nice to not concede a goal. But that’s football, it could have gone either way.”
The second half featured no let up on the weather. It got so bad that even Cedric left to go for cover. Surprisingly though, the second half featured the best chance for either team. In the 65th, Watson had to push an excellent Whitecaps free kick over the bar, saving what would have been a great goal. For SFU, their best chance of the match came in the 78th, when Mamadi Camara — wearing number 10 for this match — made a great run down the left flank, only to have his shot go right into the keeper’s hand.
The game also marked the return of former SFU Head Coach Alan Koch, who is now the head coach of Whitecaps FC II. He led SFU to two Final Four appearances in 2012 and 2013, as well as an undefeated season in 2011.
“Yeah, it’s always cool,” said Schneider, who served as an assistant coach under Koch during his time at SFU. “Those guys, I mean there’s a reason why they’re there. They’re very good at what they do. Any opportunity we have to play against alumni — it’s always very special. Again, I wish the weather would have been a little different for all of us, but I’ll take it. I’m very proud of our guys.”
The game marked the end of preseason friendlies for the Clan. The team went undefeated, and did not concede a single goal during preseason — although they didn’t score any goals either.