McGill Redmen score late in the game to spoil Concordia’s homecoming
The season opener for the Concordia Stingers men’s soccer club was spoiled on Sunday afternoon, following a 2-1 loss against the McGill Redmen.
The Stingers found themselves energized and motivated to succeed against their local rivals, as McGill knocked them out of playoff contention last season.
“We wanted to prepare the team for three points, to start the season at home and we didn’t do that, so we’re highly, highly disappointed,” said Stingers assistant coach Francois Bastien.
The match began with a very defensive, yet aggressive style. The first half displayed minimal chances from both teams due to relentless effort from Concordia and McGill’s defensive units.
During the 22nd minute of play, Concordia’s goalkeeper raced a streaking McGill forward, Valentin Radevich, who managed to get to the ball first and flip it lightly over the goalkeeper’s head for a 1-0 McGill lead. The lead would ultimately stand until the end of the first half.
Although the first half showed very few scoring chances from the Stingers, Bastien said that they wanted to apply what the team practiced and not make any dramatic changes to their strategy.
At the start of the second half, Concordia showed a lot of energy and endurance. Just over five minutes in, Concordia midfielder Karim Haroun placed a perfect corner kick to Nick Sisti who scored to tie the match.
Following the tying goal, both teams set their tempos even higher than before. Efforts from both teams showed no results until late in the match, when a cross from McGill forward, Antoine Chauvel, found fellow striker, Alexander King, for the late 2-1 lead. The lead was just enough for McGill to hang on for a Stingers spoiled homecoming.
“We have a lot of new players especially on the starting eleven so we were preparing for the entire season to get our formation and set plays organized,” said Bastien. “This was the first test and there are things that we obviously want to get better at and work on.”
There was no lack of persistence when it came to Concordia’s effort on the pitch. The defensive unit and goalkeeper played a terrific match, allowing for very few opposing opportunities. Meanwhile, their offensive unit was able to apply a sustainable amount of pressure to the Redmen mid-fielders.
“We wanted to pressure them and that’s what we did. Put pressure on their midfield [and] take over the midfield area, and I think we succeeded in doing that,” Said Bastien. “We didn’t succeed in finishing. We should have, of course, capitalized on some opportunities and we should have minimized those mistakes. We made two mistakes in the back which led to two goals.”
Despite the team’s first loss, coach Bastien can still pick out the positives of the failing effort.
“We started off with I think seven recruits today, so it’s always nerves that make the season hard to get started, especially if they haven’t played in university yet,” said Bastien. “Since we’ve taken care of that, we can really move forward.”
Concordia’s men’s soccer club aims to turn things around on Sept 12. against Laval.