August 25 2018 Vancouver – The UBC Thunderbirds closed out their pre-season friday night with a 3-1 loss at the hands of their cross-town rivals the Simon Fraser University Clan. Under the lights at the newly painted field at Thunderbird Stadium, UBC looked to polish up their form ahead of next week’s Canada West opener against the University of the Fraser Valley.
SFU finished the first half with a two goal advantage over the hosts. After 20 minutes neither goalie was tested too much, although there were many shot attempts; only one save had to be made between the two keepers. UBC had an early chance with a long shot from former Whitecaps 2 midfielder Thomas Gardner in the 12th minute, but Luciano Trasiolini was up to the task as he came up with a sprawling save in the top corner for SFU.
SFU would eventually find the breakthrough in the 24th minute when an arid ubc backpass was too short to get to the goalkeeper, allowing Connor Glennon to pounce upon the loose ball and tip it around the goalkeeper roberts before sliding it into the gaping net. The Clan were right back on the attack after the goal, quickly forcing a cat-like save from Roberts off the kickoff. The excitement settled down after the flurry of chances as the Thunderbirds fought their way back into the game with some chances of their own. Simon Fraser would extend their lead right at the end of the half as Polisi was taken down in the box and he slotted home the resulting PK.
The second half was highlighted by two goals and a straight red card. UBC came out with a clear mission to play more on the front foot and it was displayed from the kickoff as they had multiple chances within the first ten minute. Eventually the ‘Birds would get their first and only goal of the night in the 56th minute off a set-piece which was sent in by first year midfielder Mitch Piraux and headed in by Connor Guilherme. One would expect the momentum to shift in the hosts favour after the goal, but in fact is was the exact opposite.
SFU was woken up by UBC’s tally and promptly got back to offense of their own. Right from the kickoff the Clan found themselves a three on one chance, the pulled back ball was skied over the empty net from Camara, keeping the Thunderbirds within a goal. Despite the missed chance, SFU would still find their third goal in the 68th after a mystifying run from Michael North beat four defenders before firing it on the ground past the UBC goaltender.
The night’s final excitement was that of a straight red card to UBC’s Riley Pang for a high challenge on SFU’s Joost Mangert. The 15 minutes of the man advantage proved un-usefull for the Clan as they saw the 3-1 result out to secure the win.
Throughout the night both teams had their chances, but this chapter of the rivalry went to the boys from Burnaby. UBC will have to tighten things up ahead of their Canada West kickoff, which begins a season of hope as they begin their quest to bring a national championship to UBC. As well as a championship, many players will be hoping to impress this season as they try to earn professional contracts ahead of the Canadian Premier League’s inaugural season.
Written for Northern Starting Eleven (Northernstartingeleven.com)