By Victor Ferreira
If disappointing was the one word to describe the Ryerson men’s soccer team’s season opener against the Carleton Ravens, a few more are needed to describe the way they outplayed the Laurentian Voyageurs in their second game of the season.
In a classic case of boys playing against men, the Ryerson Rams (1-1-0) crushed the Laurentian Voyageurs (1-1-2) by a score of 4-1 on Saturday afternoon at Lamport Stadium.
“We weren’t ready against Carleton but we had to get points from this game,” said soccer co-ordinator Kevin Souter. “We were able to address the issues of wing play and formation in practice and work paid off.”
Looking to rebound from their loss against the Ravens, Ryerson made a few changes to their roster, as midfielder Adrian Mancini was inserted into the starting 11 and Markus Molder, who is normally a defenseman, was penciled in as a midfielder. In addition to those roster moves, The coaching staff also decided to invert the midfield of the 4-5-1 formation to allow for further attacking prowess.
The changes saw Ryerson reach their full potential as one of the best teams in Ontario University Athletics (OUA).
From the opening whistle, the Rams established their dominance over the Voyageurs by passing the ball fluidly through their opponents’ midfield, which forced the Voyageurs to chase the ball. The addition of Mancini into the starting line-up allowed the Rams to establish a link with striker Viktor Anastasov; something that was missing against Carleton.
After easily beating Laurentian’s left-back, left-winger Vince D’Elia cut outside and whipped in a pin-point cross to Anastasov, who had no trouble sliding the ball into the back of the net for his second goal in as many games.
Continuing to devastate Laurentian with the wing play of D’Elia and right-winger Zach Mahrady, the Rams almost made it 2-0 a minute later when Mahrady whipped in a cross which D’Elia headed wide.
In the 33rd minute, rookie forward Jamie Baker and winger Misel Klisara replaced D’Elia and Anastasov.
Less than a minute after the substitution, Klisara’s presence was felt.
After a run down the left by Mahrady, the sophomore winger crossed the ball directly to Klisara who was easily able to put the ball in the back of the net.
Not to be outdone, Baker added a more physical presence upfront for the Rams as his timed runs between the two Laurentian centre-backs were causing panic in the already shaky Voyageur defence. After missing several open chances, Baker capitalized from a cross by left-back Michael Jan to head the ball into the back of the net in the 56th minute.
Baker admits he felt the pressure on the field but was happy with his play.
“I wasn’t nervous but when I came on I felt the pressure of replacing someone who scored,” said Baker. “There were a few chances but I was able to [score] so I was happy.”
Four minutes later, after some physical play which demonstrated the hard work and ability to recuperate second balls which Molder brings to the team, the adapted defensive midfielder was able to find an open Jan who made no mistake from ten yards.
The Rams coaching staff were content with playing a slow possession-style game to close out the match but with many of the bench players wanting to make an impact on the game, mistakes happened.
After a sloppy give-away, Voyageurs forward Andrew Posteraro was able to complete a counterattack with a goal from a cross that keeper Aaryon Gaeeni should’ve had controlled.
Gaeeni was disappointed in the lack of team concentration.
‘I feel that the goal was a lack of keeping the ball in possession, but a goal, is a goal, is a goal,” said Gaeeni.
Souter knows his team still has to work on possession play.
“Possession is really important when we get into these situations to close a game,” said Souter. “If we have [the ball] and they don’t, they can’t score but [our play] is still not where it needs to be.”
Despite seeing his claim for a clean sheet squandered, Gaeeni was impressed with his team’s performance.
“We sent Laurentian home with a good message,” said Gaeeni. “They’ll have something to think about on the six hour ride home.”
PHOTO CREDIT: DASHA ZOLOTA