By Victor Ferreira
With another classy performance, the Ryerson Rams Men’s soccer team continued to run through their competition with ease.
In the second game of a weekend double header at Lamport Stadium, the Ryerson Rams (2-1-0) thrashed the Nipissing Lakers (1-3-1) by a final score of 4-0.
Much like the game against Laurentian, Ryerson came out ready to play and dominated the game from the opening whistle. Using a high line of offensive pressure, the Rams barely allowed the Lakers to pass through the halfway line. It was only a matter of time before the Rams broke through.
On a quick counter attack which began with a long throw from keeper Christian Maraldo, left-winger Vince D’Elia ran nearly 40 yards and threaded a through ball in between the Lakers’ defence which looked to be going out for a goal kick. Defensive midfielder Markus Molder showed hustle to retrieve the ball and to cross to an open Viktor Anastasov who tipped it in to the back of the net in the 15th minute.
The sophomore forward now has three goals in as many games and is tied for third in the OUA scoring charts. He looks well on his way to improve upon his tally of five goals from the previous season.
Anastasov knows he had to improve due to the absence of several core players from last year’s squad.
“We lost some of our key players and it’s up to some of the second year players to step up. This is me stepping up,” said Anastasov.
Five minutes later, Molder once again found himself in the middle of the Rams offensive play after a run from left-back Michael Jan produced a cross which found the adapted midfielder in the six yard box. After having his first shot blocked, Molder made no mistake on the second attempt and increased the scoreline to 2-0.
The spirited midfielder was everywhere on the pitch, adding the grit and physicality that the Rams were missing in their opening loss to Carleton. Whether he was closing down passing lanes, making bone-crunching tackles, scoring goals, or walking away from tackles that would have had other players rolling on the ground, Molder made a difference in midfield.
Molder is relishing the new opportunity to play in the middle of the pitch.
“There was a chance for me to jump into the team in midfield and things have been working well for me,” said Molder. “But it’s been a team effort overall.”
After another inspired double substitution which placed rookie forward Jamie Baker and rookie winger Misel Klisara on the field, both managed to repeat the impact they made a day earlier.
After spinning around the Nipissing right-back, Klisara drove a well-placed and powerful shot from outside the box into the back of Lakers’ net to give the Rams a three goal advantage by halftime.
Although the floodgates closed in the second-half, Baker did not allow his influence to go unnoticed. After being found in the six yard box by rookie midfielder Alexander Protsenko, Baker tapped the ball in for his second goal of the season to match Anastasov’s production of a goal per game.
Having two in-form strikers is a headache that soccer co-ordinator Kevin Souter welcomes.
“It’s a great problem to have,” said Souter. “[Anastasov] is a player who we liked a lot last year and who has been playing with more confidence and can score from anywhere. [Baker] offers us something different as he’s a little more physical on the ball and gets around better defensively.”
Souter attempted to avoid future selection headaches in both weekend games by switching from a 4-5-1 formation to a 4-4-2 when he is confident that the result has been obtained. This formation allows both Anastasov and Baker to play at the same time as a striking tandem.
The two have not yet produced while on the field at the same time.
“I believe that [Baker and Anastasov] can play together but they need more time,” said Souter. “It’s a great option with a lot more attacking prowess.”
The Rams will need to count on the production of both strikers as they will host rivals Toronto Varsity Blues (2-1-0) on Sunday at 3:15pm at Esther Shiner Stadium.