By: Aaron Walsh- The Brock Press
The Brock University men’s soccer team (0-7-3 OUA) lost to the number one ranked York Lions on September 29.
With Marcus Bernard (Thornhill, Ont.) ruled out for the season, the side welcomed back their top scorer Sammy Orlando (Woodbridge, Ont.) from serving a one match ban after accumulating three yellow cards.
The weather was glorious and the battle was underway. As anticipated, the Badgers started very defensively, playing deep and expecting York to keep the ball for long spells. York as usual was switching play from right to left trying to find a way to penetrate the Badgers back line but with crunching tackles being launched by the Brock defence, the Badgers were showing their claws and held the Lions back.
With hard challenges, the Badgers gave away a free kick down their left flank from roughly 35 yards out. A wonderful delivery was met with a header by a towering York Lion and it looked like York would easily score but an incredible save by goalie Jake Sweetzer (Mississauga, Ont.), denied the Lions from taking the lead in the 11th minute.
With a free kick falling to Brock from around 45 yards out, Brock had a half chance to capitalize but this chance was converted into York’s favour. A poor delivery into the box was easily cleared and the Lions hit on the counter attack. The clearance fell down the Lions attacking left flank and with electric pace from the wing York picked up the loose ball. With tight ball control, the left winger was able to weave through the Badgers’ centre-backs and play a squared ball across the box into the path of Carlos Nogueira (Brampton, Ont.) to dispatch from close range.
With the 8-0 thrashing that occurred last time the two sides met, nerves were running high but the York side did not look as dangerous as last. Carelessness surprisingly came from York within the 31st minute and the Badgers capitalized on the golden mistake. A lethargic back pass from the Lions left-back was cancelled out by Orlando who read the play. The interception turned into a loose ball and became a foot race with Orlando and the centre-back. Orlando was able to turn on the after burners and blaze past York’s last man to go one on one with the keeper and slot the ball home to level the score at one apiece.
The momentum had shifted and an upset was on the cards but a controversial decision by the referee would ruin any chances for the Badgers. Roughly five minutes after Brock scored, centre-back Benjamin Haggith (Paris, Ont.) was shown an instant red card for dissent.
Hopes for the Badgers picking up their first win were slashed by the red card and the men came out for the second half and understandably sat back on their tying goal. Instead of playing safe, Brock attempted to force plays at times that were unnecessary, which only added to the pressure. For long spells the Badgers held strong and in the 65th minute their valiant efforts came undone. A skillful play by the Lions cut through the Badgers left defensive side and allowed the shot to be fired from just outside the box. The daisy cutter of a strike was tipped on to the post by Sweetzer and the reaction time of a tired Brock defence allowed Mark-Anthony Kaye (Toronto, Ont.) to score off the rebound from close range.
Again the Badgers defence held out for long spells but conceding the second goal took the steam out of the ten men. With five minutes remaining the Badgers conceded another two goals and lost the match 4-1.
The Badgers next home game takes place Oct. 5 at 3:15 p.m. vs. UOIT.