No matter how well the Clan play in the GNAC (having won three straight championships), they cannot seem to escape the curse of playing Cal Poly Pomona in the West Regional Championships. On Saturday in Seattle, this curse continued in another heartbreaking loss to the SFU men’s soccer team’s Achilles’ heel. The Clan fell 1–0 to their rivals in an overtime loss, one that probably stings more than any other loss that SFU has ever faced.
The Clan were ranked #1 in NCAA men’s soccer DIV II for a majority of the season, but given that they are the only Canadian team in the NCAA, are not able to host playoff games on Canadian soil. For that reason, the game was held at Seattle Pacific University’s Interbay Stadium — a much different atmosphere than Burnaby Mountain. Not to make excuses, but this rule has very little reasoning behind it, as the team is able to play home games during the regular season. It must be changed for the sake of fairness in the NCAA.
For the most part, the Clan outplayed Cal Poly Pomona and should be disappointed that the result did not reflect that. They dominated possession and created more scoring chances than their opponents, but many of these offensive opportunities were countered by timely defensive plays. Nevertheless, the Clan attempted nine shots, five of which were on target, while the Broncos attempted six shots, with the only one on target being the lone goal of the game.
The golden goal happened in the first overtime period, as Cal Poly Pomona midfielder Eduardo Faria dribbled into the box and crossed the ball to teammate Eduard Lucas who had an easy tap-in. There really was nothing goalkeeper Luciano Trasolini could’ve done, but still, allowing one goal on one shot on target is harsh for the entire team.
For Cal Poly Pomona, this is a fantastic story, as the team has now defeated the Clan in three straight West Regional Championship games despite not being favoured in any of the matchups. For perspective, when the teams met in out-of-conference play at the beginning of the season, SFU won 3–0 and looked comfortable the entire match.
For the Clan, this is an incredibly disappointing end to the season, especially considering that the team was a legitimate National Title contender this campaign. Nonetheless, the team will need to use this loss for motivation next season, as they look poised to have another strong year in 2019.
Not much more can be said about the loss. It’s just hard to believe that this happened again.