By: Matt Penstone
After a strong campaign highlighted by being the league’s only undefeated team and a late game goal against cross-town rivals La Cité Collégiale that clinched the division the Thunder’s run has come to an end.
A full house of fans filled the seats of the Thunder Dome on a warm Saturday afternoon to see the Thunder men’s soccer team take on the Sheridan Bruins in a quarterfinal match up that went down to the wire with the Bruins coming ahead 1-0 putting the Thunder’s playoff hopes to rest.
“It was a big game,” said midfielder Derek Boakya-Yiadom. “A lot players on our team are young and have never been in this kind of situation before so they can carry this feeling into next year.”
The two teams battled it out for over 90 minutes with scoring chances, set pieces and possession evenly split between the two teams. A late game surge came from the Thunder in the dying moments of the game but unfortunately they were unable to capitalize on the multiple scoring chances the team generated.
“Our strategy was the same strategy we had all year,” said Boakya-Yiadom. “We failed to execute our chances on set pieces. We failed to defend and they capitalized on their opportunity.”
Possession was split evenly during the opening minutes of the game as each team had a shot on goal. An offside call on the Thunder in the fourth minute ended a promising chance. Keeper Marco Brundia brought a Sheridan attack to end in the eighth minute.
A strong showing came from the team’s defence who stopped numerous passes and crosses into the box from becoming threats. Together the team held the Bruins scoreless for the first half of the game.
Tensions flared throughout the first half escalating into a heated scuffle when two Sheridan players were awarded separate yellow cards for their play. Despite the added injury time neither team was able to score a goal in the first half.
The game deciding goal came in the early minutes of the second half. Sheridan lined up for the corner kick and managed to score after an attempt to clear the ball was deflected.
“This years Algonquin men’s varsity team won the east division crown going undefeated in the process. Unfortunately in the teams cross over game they ran into a very strong team from Sheridan,” said head coach Jimmy Zito. “The goal came off a corner kick. Unfortunately Algonquin could not score to equalize the game.”
“Algonquin had 14 first year players and look to be returning such players like Isaac Johnson, Rowen Martino, Abe Kamara and possible a few returning players like captain Saro Panuccio and Marco Brundia. With all these players gaining valuable experience Algonquin should be a very strong team next year,” said Zito.
The team is looking to build on this year, with many players returning next season there is little doubt that the Thunder will be a preseason favourite in 2013.