SFU men’s soccer took on Slippery Rock University on September 15 at Terry Fox Field. It was a game in which the Clan controlled the flow of play, and yet there were a couple instances in which the team was lucky to escape with the clean sheet victory. Although the game ended with a score of 1–0 for the home side, both teams — Simon Fraser especially — failed to capitalize on great scoring opportunities.
The first half saw SFU dominate possession, with midfielders Kyle Jones and Marcello Polisi playing an influential role in playing through balls and winning back the ball whenever it was lost. The Clan’s first chance came in the 14th minute, when Mateo Polisi was set up by Mamadi Camara, but just missed the outside of the post.
This was the story of the first 40 minutes, as the ball was continually in the opponent’s end early on, and SFU was unable to capitalize on any of the chances they created. This was evident in head coach Clint Schneider’s decision to sub on forwards Connor Glennon and Riley Pang, and midfielder Dzenan Bezdrob for Rahid Rahiem, Camara, and Matteo Polisi in the first half. This decision paid off, as Connor Glennon scored the game’s only goal by finishing off a beautiful cross by Michael North in the 43rd minute. The teams would go into the half with a score of 1–0, although the Clan certainly could’ve certainly had more.
While the score would remain the same in the second half, the game took a slight turn. While the Clan still had the majority of possession, they gave up a couple of chances that could have cost them the victory. One came when SFU goalkeeper Miguel Hof gave the ball away to a Slippery Rock University attacker, before making his only save of the game off of the opponent’s shot. The best chance of the game for the opponent, however, was when midfielder Kyle Boyer got the ball past the Clan defence and was off on a breakaway. When Hof charged out, Boyer chipped the ball over his head towards the empty net. The sure goal was missed by inches, as the ball hit the crossbar before being cleared by Simon Fraser.
Although it didn’t result in any goals, Camara had a dominant second half, consistently embarrassing defenders with his dribbling prowess. These efforts resulted in a group of SFU supporters chanting “come on, you Pogba” throughout the second half, comparing Camara to the Manchester United superstar. Head coach Schneider summed up Camara’s play and role to the team saying, “Hopefully he[…] starts to finish off his chances . . . because he will continue to create them for himself and others.” Camara would finish the game with four shots (three on goal), same as teammate Matteo Polisi.
Coach Schneider was happy with how the team played, but was “very disappointed in [the team’s] finishing.” This is partly due to opposing goalkeeper Jonathan Sharp, as he made 11 saves.
This 1–0 win extends the Clan’s win streak to four to start the season, and they are now ranked as the second best team in the NCAA. They play next on September 21 at Seattle Pacific University, with kickoff starting at 7:30 p.m.