By Devin Jones
The Ryerson men’s soccer team won their season opener Saturday afternoon, defeating the University of Toronto Varsity Blues 1-0 at their home field, Varsity Stadium.
Tight defensive play from both teams, as well as key saves from both keepers, kept the game tied until late into the game. It was the 76th minute of the match that saw Midfielder Adam Hemati score the only goal of the game, giving the Rams a 1-0 lead and securing their first victory of the season.
“I had a feeling before the game that I would have an impact on the match,” said Hemati. “I visualized scoring here and I’m just glad that when I made that run forward the ball fell nicely to me and I could finish, help the team out.”
The start of the game saw the Rams implement their style of play. Ball control and a slower east to west passing generated early chances for Ryerson, including forward Luca Lee, who had multiple scoring attempts throughout the game.
An aggressive and pressing Blues front line gave the Rams some trouble heading into half, disrupting set plays and passing attempts. According to head coach Filip Prostran, this aggressiveness caused the Rams to deviate from their original plan and become more direct in their approach, matching the style of their rivals.
“Everything wasn’t right down to our game plan. UofT played well and had their chances, so we had to adapt a little bit,” said Prostran. “We’re still in the first third of the season, so you can see we’re still trying people out, the team is still building that cohesion which is the most important thing.”
Second-year keeper Praveen Ahilan started for the Rams on Saturday and performed strong throughout. Helping his back-line during defensive breakdowns, Ahilan was able to stop the Varsity Blues’ best chance that came early in the game, off a free kick from twenty yards out deflecting the shot up and over the crossbar.
“Praveen is an outstanding keeper and to see him make that save definitely gave us the energy, that fight to keep pressuring,” said Lee after the match.
You can catch the Rams at their next game Wednesday Sept. 16 against the University of Ontario Institute of Technology at Downsview Park with a start time of 8:15 p.m.