Lancers come close to beating No. 2 ranked York Sunday
WINDSOR | 1 GUELPH 0
YORK 3 | WINDSOR 2
The Lancers Men’s Soccer team had perhaps its most exciting series of games of the season on the weekend at Alumni Stadium, achieving a brilliant victory Saturday against Guelph, 1-0, and a painful, but thrilling loss Sunday to York, 3-2.
Saturday’s match started with a mild Gryphons dominance, led by team captain Robbie Murphy, who organized the midfield well and created many plays. The Lancers fought back relentlessly, using the offside line to prevent scoring opportunities.
The Lancers started to take control near the end of the first half, with Chris Lanni creating some interesting plays. Lanni put Christian Mayorga in front of the goal. The Guatemalan took the shot, which was saved by Guelph’s goalkeeper Chad Paparoni.
The Lancers momentum grew stronger in the second half. Mayorga switched positions with midfielder John Bahdi and started to add pressure to the Gryphons defensive. Lancer Michael Watson gave a precise assist to Mayorga, who took a hard shot. It was saved once again by Paparoni.
Moments later, Mayorga gave Eric Cirovski an opportunity to score. After a second of hesitation, Cirovski lost his momentum and his scoring chance.
It appeared, however, only a matter of time before the Lancers scored.
Windsor’s goal came in the 83rd minute, when Joseph Camaj— who had played a mostly defensive game— advanced from the left side and put forth a perfect cross finding the head of Cirovski. Cirovski did not hesitate this time, heading the ball hard to score the first and only goal of the match.
The Gryphons strove to make a comeback, but were stopped by a well-organized Lancers defense. In a curious moment near the end of the match, Gryphon Timothy Flynn took a two touches corner kick, passing the ball to himself before making the cross over the Lancer’s area. Nothing was called by the referee.
Sunday, the Lancers faced undefeated York, currently ranked second in the nation, in a battle between the league’s two best defenses. The Lancers had allowed only three goals prior to the match while the Lions had their net touched by the ball only twice this season. York’s Adrian Pena was the man to be watched, as he had scored at least one goal in every single game throughout the season.
The Lions started off in a very intimidating manner, oppressing the Lancers into their field. Making use of a very fast combination of one touch, short passes, Pena kept up his scoring streak with an opening goal in the ninth minute.
The Lions dominated until about the 25th minute, when Lanni robbed the ball from York defensive midfielder Arthur Casupanan, and then gave it to Mike Pio. Although Pio missed the goal, the Windsor Lancers had discovered their momentum.
At the 29th minute, Pena missed an easy goal that could have been tragic for the Lancers, who counter-attacked with another great Lanni play. Lanni gave the ball to Camaj, who missed the equalizer.
Camaj redeemed himself in the 50th minute, heading a cross from the right side of the field for the tying goal.
The Lions started putting pressure on the Lancer’s defense, with Pena a constant danger. He scored in the 11th minute of the second half on a free kick from 25 yards, while the Lancers were still organizing the wall. Lancer’s Goalkeeper Dejo Olagbegi was not ready for the low shot.
Ten minutes later, Mayorga took a phenomenal shot from 30 yards, clearing York goalkeeper Colm Vance and equalizing the game 2-2.
“As soon as I saw that ball, I knew it was going to end in the net,” Mayorga said.
After that, the Lancers temporarily took control of the match. Massimo Megna put the ball underneath the legs of intimidating York defender Branko Majstorvic and then took a perfect shot. It would have been the goal of the year had Vance not been able to stop it.
The Lancers kept on attacking, pushing the Lions back. When the match seemed to be going for the home team, another foul took place. York’s Daniel Alonzi scored on the free kick.
The Lancers kept on searching for the third equalizer. In the very last moment before the final whistle, Windsor’s Tony Falkestajn took a hard shot after a corner kick rebound, but the ball found the hands of the goalie.
“I am a bit disappointed,” head coach Steve Hart said. “We have all of the respect for this squad, but today, in my opinion, we were the best team in the field … They scored two goals from set plays. This should never happen.”
“We scored two goals against a team that had only allowed two goals in the whole season,” Hart added. “We have to stay positive. After all, we played against a very good team today.”
Name of the Match
Not only did Mayorga add Latin spice to the Windsor squad, he scored an amazing goal and also displayed a great amount of guts and skill burning Lions defense villain Branko Mastorovic. Mastorovic actually showed a good amount of roughness during the game. Mayorga, the Aztec warrior, in spite of the match result, overcame his large Eastern European foe.
Runner-up: Adrian Pena’s a very impressive striker. He is one of those guys that knows exactly where to position himself in order to find the net. On Sunday, he found it twice.
“I guess a big share of luck was on my side today,” Pena said after the match.