By Jay Saran
The men’s soccer team has left itself open for criticism all season.
They have blown leads late. They have misfired in front of goal. They have not always had the killer instinct it takes for a team to win in the OUA.
But on the final weekend of the regular season, the Rams made a statement against the Carleton Ravens.
Ryerson beat Carleton, ranked eighth in the CIS, 3-0 at home on Saturday. It was the first time Carleton had allowed more than one goal in a game all season.
After a goalless first half, the Rams exploded out of the gate to start the second 45. Defender Markus Molder headed home a Kevin Souter free-kick to put the Rams up in the 48th minute. There was no looking back from there.
Carleton’s kick-and-run style did not produce much in the way of quality goal-scoring chances. And once they fell behind to Ryerson, the game was all but over.
Midfielder Sebastian Novais dominated on the left flank all game. And in the 58th minute, he drove a hard ball across the 18-yard box to the feet of midfielder Adrian Mancin, who wasted no time slotting the ball into the back of the net for his team-leading seventh goal.
Forward Armin Tankovic would go on to score the third goal in the 83rd minute after some great work by midfielder Daniel Cameira led to an offensive break.
There should be a lot of excitement for the Rams and their fans going into the playoffs this season, and a big reason for that is the way the team has defended this year.
Ryerson recorded their eighth clean sheet of the season. Head coach Ivan Joseph credits the team’s collective defensive effort.
“When you’re talking about defense, you’re not just talking about the back four,” Joseph said. “It’s the defenders, it’s the flanks, it’s everyone.”
The victory keeps the Rams in third place in the OUA eastern conference. And if they continue their winning ways and beat the Trent Excalibur on Sunday afternoon, Ryerson will host its’ first ever men’s soccer playoff game.
This feat would cap off the best-ever season for Ryerson. The only thing left for them to do would be to improve on their poor post-season record. The Rams have only ever won one playoff game.
The game against Trent kicks-off at 3:15 p.m.
Photos by Marta Iwanek.