The first Great Northwest Athletic Conference [GNAC] home game of the 2016/17 season will be a memorable one for the Clan. Having spent a few weeks on the road, the Clan marked its territory with a 3–1 win over the Seattle Pacific University (SPU) Falcons. Ryan Dhillon delivered two spectacular assists, resulting in a pair of goals by Adam Jones.
Half an hour into the game, the ball found its way to forward Mamadi Camara, who volleyed it to Dhillon. The team captain made acceleration into the middle of the pitch before assisting Jones with a smooth pass.
In the 55th minute, Dhillon showed some technical footwork destabilizing SPU’s defence, before finding Camara in the box. Camara, who scored five goals and 11 points last season, notched the second goal of the game early in the first half.
“Scoring a goal for your team always feels good. I give a lot of credit to Brandon [Watson] who managed to cover the player running in the left wing, and as soon as I saw this action I knew we had an opportunity to score. The defence was perfect tonight,” said Camara.
In the last 15 minutes of the game, the Falcons opened the score with a penalty kick in the 75th minute. Michael North was called on a foul in a box on SPU’s forward Gabe Kellum, who converted the penalty to make it 2–1. The Clan was determined to win its first home game, though. Three minutes later the Clan made it 3–1, as the ball found Jones in the box. The Clan fought until the end, despite a hard time finishing in the last 15 minutes.
“That’s what we’ve come to expect out of these guys,” said head coach Clint Schneider. “Honestly, I feel that we have the best footballing midfield in the league. Some teams might be more athletic but we have the most skilled footballing midfield out there. Teams all over our conference would love to have even one of these guys. We’re fortunate to have a plethora of them, all through our lineup.”
Schneider expressed his confidence in the team for the rest of the season. “We have a group of guys who are not afraid to play anybody, we played two professional teams in spring with that same team and we managed to create chances; [. . .] it is about being consistent and if [we] get that right it could be very special.”
Even with an outstanding performance and a satisfying result, Schneider and his players remain humble and still believe that there is room for improvement. “We’re definitely happy with the result [. . .] but we have more in the tank, and that should be scary for the rest of the conference.”
On the same reflective note, Mamadi added that “we will try to go less back and forth on the pitch and maintain consistency. Playing at home definitely [felt] good, the atmosphere was incredible.”
Slowly and surely writing history, the Clan is on the road to something that has eluded them for the past five years: the national championship.
The SFU men’s soccer team is more than ready to pursue its quest, and will be facing Concordia University at home on September 29.