Though the night might have been cold, the SFU Clan men’s soccer squad continued their hot form with a 3–0 win over a defensive minded University of Mary Marauders side on October 24. This successful result gives SFU their third win in a row (all shutouts), their longest winning streak of the season.
The match was excellently officiated by FIFA and Women’s World Cup referee Michelle Pye, who said that the game “ebbed and flowed. It started off with everyone being a bit cautious, and as the score line changes emotion gets into it [. . .] it’s a game of emotion and in this match we saw it, it went up and down.” Her statements were a very accurate description of the 90 minute battle.
The last time these two teams tangoed, it ended with the Marauders winning 1–0, though it was SFU who held the majority of the shots. In the first half, it appeared that this match would follow the same script. The Clan held the lion’s share of possession, with U of M sitting back and comfortably absorbing the pressure. SFU piled on the shots but was rarely able to hit the target, while the Marauders were content to try and attack the Clan solely from counters and set pieces. It had all the makings of a classic smash and grab for the American side.
However, in the 51st minute, the Clan were finally able to break through. Adam Jones headed down a cross towards Brendan Shaw, who comfortably slotted away his first of the season. After 141 minutes of keeping the Clan off the scoresheet this season, the Marauders finally succumbed to overwhelming pressure from the Clan.
Instead of stepping back to defend their lead, SFU went for the jugular. Centre midfielders Mamadi Camara and Kyle Jones took control of the middle of the park, and their distribution kept the University of Mary back line constantly on the back foot.
This constant barrage led to the floodgates opening late in the game. In the 80th minute, SFU left midfielder Calvin Opperman expertly deked out a U of M defender and crossed in the ball for Anthony Van De Vendel to volley into the net. The trouncing was complete eight minutes later, when Calvin Opperman received a throw in, calmly turned and blasted a beautiful strike into the top right corner.
When asked what the SFU Clan did differently this time around against University of Mary, Head Coach Clint Schneider said, “We finished our chances [. . .] We’ve been creating chances all year round and it’s nice to score a couple. Three different players scored today, which is good.”
Commenting on their successful run of late, coach Schneider said, “It’s a collective effort. Every player understands what’s at stake, the fact that we need to win our games here on out [. . .] Collectively the guys have come together.”
The next home game for the Clan is this Saturday against Western Washington. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.