The SFU Clan men’s soccer team showed that they could play with the big boys after they went out and drew 0–0 with TFC II on a rainy Friday evening.
TFC II plays in the USL, which is the third division in the American/Canadian soccer pyramid, and they are a feeder team for the MLS side Toronto Football Club. On paper, TFC II should have torn the Clan apart, but the reality was a much different story.
From the get go, it was clear that both sides were in pre-season mode. There were quite a few uncharacteristically sloppy passes and touches, and neither team was able to get anything going in the opponent’s third. SFU was happy to keep possession for long periods of time, and whenever TFC II held onto the ball, the Clan was comfortable enough defensively to keep the attackers at bay.
“We did some good things; we did some bad things in a game like that,” said coach Schneider about his team’s play. “It was a time for us to try some players out, try different things out, and I told the guys to go for it, try to play.”
The first genuine chance actually fell to SFU in the 10th minute, when a piercing through ball by Kyle Jones went wide to #2. He then who put in a dangerous cross, but it was intercepted by the TFC II goalkeeper.
In the 25th minute, Jones once again set up #2 with an excellent splitting pass, and he would have been through on goal if not for the quick reaction by the TFC II goalkeeper the slide out and catch the ball.
The most exciting moment of the half was in the 40th minute, when Magnus Kristensen realized that the TFC II keeper was doing his best Manuel Neuer impression, staying 20 yards off his line, so he took a shot from inside his own half. The bamboozled goalie was left completely in no-man’s land, but was bailed out as the shot ended up only inches wide. It was scoreless when the referee blew the halftime whistle five minutes later.
The second frame contained much of the same, with both teams holding much possession in their own half, but unable to get the final crucial touch in front of goal. TFC II put in a lot of crosses, but the stellar Clan defense was able to deal with all of them. SFU, in turn, had a few decent counterattacks, but they couldn’t get past the big, burly TFC II defenders. Both teams cancelled each other out, and the game ended 0–0.
After the game, coach Schneider was clearly happy with the Clan’s overall performance. “Obviously we still haven’t conceded a goal here at home, which is great, and I’m proud of the guys. It was gutsy. It was a good performance, and we’ll move on.”
The Clan’s next game is against UBC on Wednesday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. here at Terry Fox Field.