The UTM Varsity Men’s Soccer team played their first home game of the 2019-2020 season, and the first of a double-header weekend against Windsor’s St. Clair Saints. Our Eagles looked to follow up their win over the Mohawk Mountaineers last weekend, a 2-0 victory. However, they fell 1-3 in a hard-fought fight to the visiting St. Clair Saints.

UTM conceded a goal earlier in the match, with a quick assisted goal in the left corner by St. Clair’s Matt Montaleone at the four-minute mark. Despite the early concession, UTM stayed composed and aggressive, and answered with a goal of their own. Just two minutes in, UTM’s number six, Jaiman Rehal, hit a sniper of a shot in the high right upper corner, tying the match at 1-1.

The match intensified with our Eagles playing with great physicality and aggressiveness, which St. Clair matched. They played a little too physical, picking up early fouls leading to multiple free kicks to the Saints and a yellow card for number five Jasjack Bharma.

Despite multiple opportunities from free kicks and attempts at goal, defender Andre Pinto made critical defensive plays down the stretch to keep the Saints from taking over. Unlike the Women’s team who played just before, the Men’s team matched St. Clair shot-for-shot in shots on goal. In the winding minutes of the first half of the match, at the 39-minute mark St. Clair’s Evan Mendonca scored another goal in the bottom right corner through the fingers of goalkeeper Andrey Volkov. The Saints entered half-time with a 1-2 lead over the UTM Eagles.

The Eagles started their second half of the match with the same aggressiveness and physicality they began the game with, once again forcing St. Clair to match them blow for blow. Despite a few good opportunities to score, with shots on goal by number six Jaiman Rehal and number nine Mohammad Golmakani being shot too wide off target or being stopped by the visiting goalkeeper.

A defensive lapse lead to St. Clair’s Bastien Aguilera shooting and scoring a shot in the bottom corner with ten minutes left to play in the match. Despite their efforts, the Eagles weren’t able to close the gap and lost to the Saints, 1-3.

Following the defeat, Assistant Coach Corey Baker encouraged his players to take the loss as a learning experience, by taking responsibility for their mistakes and looking at ways to avoid making them again. This was just the second game in the Eagles season, and the first home game.

They hope to build on their success from last season where they made it to the OCAA provincials for the first time in the program’s history, in which they placed sixth overall in the province.

The Varsity Men’s Soccer team hopes to bounce back in the second game of a back-to-back against the visiting Lambton Lions, from Sarnia Ontario.

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