By Nashra Syed
The Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) Bold men’s soccer team won their first game of the season against the Trent University Excalibur at Downsview Park on Sept 18.
It was the team’s second match of the week after losing 2-1 against Ontario Tech on Sept. 15. However, being back home at Downsview Park did wonders for the group.
“It was good to be back home and we had a lot of support from the crowd and that helped a lot,” said midfielder Faisal Ghaffur. “I thought we did pretty well, maintaining the ball, playing the way we know how to play and we scored a couple of goals as well…it was a pretty good performance from everyone.”
The Bold held possession of the ball, applying pressure to the Excalibur early on in the match. Trent was unable to shake that off, despite their best efforts.
Some strong plays made by the Bold earned them their first home goal of the season. Defender Kai Martin’s assist helped forward Zakaria Abdi put the ball into the back of the net.
Trent grew frustrated as their goalie could be heard shouting “leave it” to his team members. The Bold used that frustration to their advantage by adding another goal to their total.
First-year midfielder Bilal Reslan was able to score his first career goal in the 16th minute, leading the Bold to a two-goal advantage.
“I’m here to do what I can,” said Reslan. “That’s what I’m here for…it’s my job to work for the team and if that results in a goal, it results in a goal.”
The Bold held possession throughout the first half making it difficult for the visitors to try and score. A few missed opportunities weren’t enough to end their streak as Martin scored, sending the Bold into the halftime break with a 3-0 lead.
The second half started off slow with Trent maintaining possession. Some scoring attempts were made by both teams, but they were unable to capitalize.
Trent was issued two yellow cards following collisions with TMU players. Following some defensive and offensive attempts on goal made by Ghaffur, the Bold subbed in fifth-year midfielder Sean Fafinski.
The team erupted in celebration as Fafinski landed the final goal of the match when a free kick bounced off the goalpost and in.
Following Thursday’s game against Ontario Tech, the Bold were issued three red cards which forced them to make changes to their lineup due to an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) rule that states that any player that is ejected from a game will be suspended for one contest.
“Some of the changes were forced…The whole second half, we brought on everyone that was able to play,” said TMU head coach Filip Prostran.
This was the team’s first home game without the program’s top scorer, Abdallah El-Chanti, who has since graduated. It’s TMU’s first win of the new era, which came in dominant fashion.
“I talked to Abdallah last night,” said Prostran. “Abdallah’s more than just a player on our team. I consider Abdallah a legend of the program and a good friend.”
The Bold go head to head against the No. 3 Carleton Ravens on Sept. 24. Kickoff starts at 3:15 p.m. at Downsview Park.
“We always play very well at home,” said Ghaffur. “This is our ground and the place that we defend. We’re going to come out strong and hopefully have a good result.”
UP NEXT: The Bold’s next match comes against the No. 3 Carleton Ravens on Sept. 24. Kickoff is set for 3:15 p.m. at Downsview Park.