By Gavin Mackenzie
A second-half collapse by the Ryerson men’s soccer team turned a game they appeared to have in hand completely upside down against the University of Toronto Varsity Blues on Sunday.
After the Rams went up 1-0 in the first half, the Varsity Blues erupted for three unanswered goals en route to a 3-1 victory.
The Rams, now 1-4 this season, came out flying. They out-hustled the disorganized Blues to lose balls and controlled the midfield. Ryerson’s hustle kept the Blues’ defence reeling and generated several quality scoring chances.
Ryerson midfielder James Scott opened the scoring in the 19th minute when he took a cross just inside the 18-yard box and promply scored a left-footed volley past the diving Blues goalkeeper.
The Rams took the lead into halftime, but lost captain Tim Clarke to a concussion 10 minutes before the break.
Eight minutes into the second half, the Blues were awarded a penalty kick and striker Anthony Capotosto stepped up to the spot and calmly slid the ball past the Rams’ Julian Angelone.
Capotosto’s goal changed the complexion of the game as the intensity the Rams played with in the first half disappeared and the Blues began winning the battles for loose balls and controlled the midfield.
Ryerson assistant coach Jimmy O’Hare admitted the loss of Clarke likely distracted the team, but itw as when U of T tied the game up that the Rams lost all concentration. O’Hare was forced into coaching duties because head coach Stuart Miller couldn’t be at the game for personal reasons.
Scott said the resurgent Blues attack left the Rams on their heels for the rest of the match.
“We started sitting back and lost our focus. We began playing for a tie,” he said. “We couldn’t play for 90 minutes.”
Ryerson finally conceded the go-ahead goal with seven minutes left in the game. A defensive collapse left Blues forward Kristopher Racette all alone for an easy goal.
The game-winning goal followed 20 minutes of sustained pressure by the Blues, who were repeatedly turned away by Rams keeper Angelone who played outstanding despite giving up three goals. U of T sealed the win when it scored its third goal just four minutes later.
Earlier in the week the Rams cracked into the win column with a 2-0 victory over the traditionally weal Trent Excalibur in a home game at Birchmount Stadium in Scarborough.
On Saturday, the Rams took on the York Teomen, perhaps the best team in the division, and were hammered 6-1.
Ryerson will be on the road this weekend for a pair of games. On Saturay, the team will be in Sudbury to tangle with the Laurentian Voyageurs. The squad will head across the Canadian Shield to Nort Bay to play the Nipissing Lakers on Saturday.