By: Victor Gouchee
On Tuesday, the SFU Men’s Soccer team moved up the national rankings to take over the #1 spot across the entirety of NCAA DII. For the last two seasons, the Clan have been ranked as high as #3 nationally, but after starting the season 8–0–0 and outscoring their opponents 31–3 in those eight games, it is great to see SFU get the credit they deserve and be rewarded as the best team in the NCAA this season.
Fast forward to Thursday, September 27, as the clan looked to continue their winning streak as they hosted the Concordia Cavaliers on Terry Fox Field. A rare non-raining contest saw the Clan, who are atop the Great North Athletic Conference (GNAC) standings, face off against the Cavaliers who are in third place. Concordia has proven to be difficult in the past for the clan, as they are a team who is always well disciplined and look to pounce on the counterattack.
On Thursday, the Cavaliers’ game plan seemed to be no different. The first 30 minutes were quite hectic, neither team maintaining possession for extended periods of time and no concrete chances for either team, but most of the action took place in Concordia’s half. Despite a lack of clear-cut chances, the Clan were still able to keep Cavalier goalkeeper Grant Alcorn very busy on the day.
At the half, it was locked at 0–0, with SFU settling into a groove in the last 15 minutes, but Concordia yet again proving to be a disciplined wall on top of their own 18-yard box and something that the Clan found tough to break down. As the second half began, it kicked off right as the first half ended, SFU dominating possession around Concordia’s box.
This time, however, it only took sophomore forward Connor Glennon six minutes to score his eighth goal of the season for SFU. The goal came after extended pressure from SFU and the ball popped out to Glennon inside the box who was able to connect on the volley and blast it into the far corner to give SFU the 1–0 lead in the 52nd minute.
The Clan were determined to add an insurance marker, but the Cavaliers goalkeeper was not to give in so easily. Making a number of solid saves, and luckily seeing a beautiful curling effort from junior Rahid Rahiem bounce off the post, Alcorn would go on to put in a man-of-the-match performance to hold the lethal Clan attack to just the lone goal on the night while making 13 saves. Thanks to strong defensive performances from Michael North, Florian Langenegger, Joost Mangert and Eric De Graaf, goalkeeper Luciano Transolini would only be called into action once, making the save and preserving his sixth clean sheet of the season for SFU.
A 1–0 victory Thursday saw SFU extend their record to 9–0–0 overall and 3–0–0 in GNAC play.
Peak player of the game: Connor Glennon
The obvious choice, Glennon’s effort was the main difference in order to keep the Clan at a perfect record. With him, Matteo Polisi and Mamadi Camara as attacking options, it was always unlikely that SFU would be kept off the scoresheet.
The Clan heads back on the road next week as they visit Nampa, ID to face Northwest Nazarene on Thursday, October 4 and then Seattle Pacific on Saturday, October 6. SFU faces the Cavaliers again, this time in Portland on October 11 before returning home on October 14 to host their border rivals from Western Washington, that game kicking off at 7 p.m. on Terry Fox Field.