By Eric Thompson
In their final home game of the year the team trailed for the first time in 2014, as the visiting Seneca Sting held a 1-0 lead. It was unfamiliar territory for the Algonquin men’s soccer as they sat at half time, having just surrendered their first goal all season. But in the face of adversity the Thunder showed why they were the top team in the OCAA East, scoring three second half goals on the way to a 3-1 win.
“We knew we were so much better than them, but the first half we looked a little slow,” said forward Abe Kamara. “We weren’t moving the ball as quick as we wanted to. When they scored the first goal, we all got a little discouraged. After halftime our coach told us ‘keep your head up, go play the way you guys do in training’ and we got a result.”
The game changed after Trevor Turner broke through the backline in the 48th minute. Turner was dragged down in the box by Seneca’s goalie Luis Rodriquez resulting in a red card for him and a penalty shot for the Thunder. Kamara buried the shot, en route to a hat trick on the afternoon.
Playing a man down, Seneca merely tried to hang on to a single point as the Thunder dominated possession throughout the second half. The team finally took the lead in the 83rd minute when Kamara took a cross-crease feed from first-year Kish Kipusi and tucked it in the far side. Kamara would then put the game out of reach in extra time, following some fancy footwork and a beautiful finish.
Seneca gained the lead in the first half following an Algonquin corner kick. The Sting took advantage of the amount of Thunder up front, sending Kyle Laborde-Ayres, who broke through two defenders and chipped the ball over sprawling goalkeeper Simon Brown.
“We realized over the top we they were vulnerable,” said manager Jordan Pagani “We tried to get more numbers there than we should have, we realized they were still a threat and unfortunately they got the better of us on the counter attack and finished a beautiful goal.”
The match was a heated affair that saw four yellows issued to each side, to go along with Rodriguez’s red. Referees spent most of the afternoon breaking up scrums and having words with the players.
“They get emotional, they’re passionate about the game, they want to get the win,” said Pagani. “They just need to learn how to express themselves in a different way other than getting angry at the ref, because it’s not going to help us in the future.”
Algonquin also saw their goalie leave the game after Brown was injured second half, giving way to Kris Holford-Walker to finish the game. The diagnosis for Brown was bad bruise, but he shouldn’t miss significant time.
The win clinched a playoff spot for the Thunder, who will finish their season on the road before traveling to Niagara College in late October for provincials.
“I think we have a good chance of making it out of the province,” said defender Mahar Husseini. “It’s just a matter of working on those little details, to see how far we can go.”