By: Victor Gouchee and Andrew Ringer
The number three nationally ranked SFU Clan men’s soccer team began their 2018 GNAC season Thursday night on top of Burnaby Mountain. This was the Clan’s first home game of the season, and although the weather was full of rain, it was a warm welcome home for the boys who returned from two lengthy trips south, which they walked away from with a perfect 6–0–0 record.
A notable absence from Thursday night was that of the Clan’s captain midfielder Marcello Polisi, who missed the contest due to a red card suspension he received in their last road game.
A big loss on paper, SFU would not miss Polisi on the field as they got off to a flying start when Montana State University Billings star forward Ricardo Palomino got sent off for a retaliation kick on Clan defender Eric De Graaf. Just seven minutes in, the red card to MSUB proved to be a turning point — just two minutes later, sophomore winger Connor Glennon flew down the right side, beat a defender, and drew out the goalkeeper before delivering a perfect pass square to senior forward Mamadi Camara. Camara had the easy job of tapping the ball into the open net.
Just seconds later, SFU would again use the numerical advantage to their benefit when junior midfielder Rahid Rahiem, who came in to replace the suspended Marcello, danced around in the opponent’s 18-yard box and eventually got hacked down to draw a penalty. Of course, sophomore Matteo Polisi stepped up and confidently smashed the ball to the opposite side of the MSUB keeper to double the Clan’s lead.
SFU would continue to dominate possession high up the field, eagerly searching for a third marker. Eventually, senior forward Dzenan Bezdrob found a pass from Camara and Bezdrob ran with it, blowing by a MSUB defender and then smashing it high above the yellowjackets’ goalkeeper who had come out to cut down the angle. Now 3–0, the Clan would conservatively keep possession away from their own goal and look to see out the first half.
When the second half got underway, nothing had changed from the first half. SFU continued to dominate possession while the Yellowjackets remained a tight block on top of their own box. In what would go on to be a less eventful half than the beginning of the game, the Clan continued to have chances but were unable to capitalize. Polisi had the chance to extend SFU’s lead on a free-kick just outside of the 18-yard box. His curling effort was a good one which froze MSUB’s goalkeeper, but unfortunately, the ball hit the post and went wide.
Montana State would not muster any chances of their own in the second half, which left Clan goalkeeper Luciano Trasolini with very little to do on a cold and rainy night on Terry Fox Field. SFU were able to land one more knockout blow upon their GNAC opponents before the final whistle when a scramble in the box occured: the ball popped out to junior midfielder Quinn Dawson on the top of the box, who smashed the ball first time into the top-right corner of the Yellowjackets goal. Leaving no chance for the goalkeeper, this goal alone summed up the night for the visitors.
SFU was just too much for MSUB, and the early red card to MSUB’s star forward did not help their cause. The Clan would go on to secure the 4–0 win, bringing them to a perfect 7–0–0 this season, and 1–0–0 to start off their GNAC campaign.
Peak player of the game: Mamadi Camara
Camara came up huge in the SFU men’s soccer team’s GNAC season opener. He finished off a Connor Glennon cross for the first (and winning) goal in the ninth minute, before setting up Dzenan Bezdrob for the third goal of the game in the 18th minute. Camara has moved to the striker position this season after spending last year predominantly as a left-midfielder, and performances like this are the reason why.
Saturday vs. Saint Martin’s University
It was more of the same on Saturday, as the Clan dominated the Saint Martin’s University when they travelled down to Lacey, Washington. The Saints had no answer for the forward trio of Connor Glennon, Matteo Polisi, and Mamadi Camara, and all three had two goals in the contest.
The Clan took a 2–1 lead into halftime before exploding in the second half for four more goals. The game really could not have gone much better. One of the highlights was Polisi’s second goal, where he scored on a perfect free kick from just outside the both in the 67th minute.
Camara and Polisi both ended with two goals, while Glennon had two goals as well as two assists. Rahid Rahiem, Michael North, and Marcello Polisi all had assists in the contest as well.
Matteo Polisi now leads the Clan with nine goals, followed closely by Camara with eight and Glennon with seven.
With the win the Clan are now 8–0–0 on the season and 2–0–0 in GNAC play.
Peak player of the game: Connor Glennon/Mamadi Camara/Matteo Polisi
While Glennon had the two extra assists, it wouldn’t be right to not name all three players as the players of the game. The three worked together beautifully, and are in line for a lot of goals this season.
The Clan will host Concordia University on Thursday, September 27. They will be looking to extend their winning streak to nine games. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.