The Clan firmly marked its territory on September 29, winning once again at home. Freshman striker Riley Pang netted two goals, while Mamadi Camara also notched two goals in the net, including a spectacular lob goal. Adam Jones was brilliant with a goal and an assist.
The start of the game didn’t look like such a sure thing, though: the Clan conceded a goal seven minutes in. Concordia’s forward Trent Lowe took advantage of a corner kick to notch the ball behind SFU goalkeeper Brandon Watson.
However, the Clan kept faith, as three minutes later Robert Hyams assisted with a long pass to Adam Jones, who stepped into the box and tricked Cavaliers goalkeeper Grant Alcorn. Five minutes later, captain Ryan Dhillon’s impressive speed stripped the ball from the Concordia midfielder and assisted Pang, who didn’t give it a second thought before quickly making it 2–1 for the Clan.
Twenty-two minutes into the game, Mamadi Camara made his presence felt on the pitch. The sophomore dribbled in from the right before netting the ball straight into the right corner of the box with his left foot.
The boys were ebullient in the second half, and created a total of 14 shots to finish off the Cavaliers. Sophomore striker Camara finished Hyams and Jones’ work in Maradona-like style, chasing the ball through the defence and volleying it past Concordia’s goalkeeper with an astonishing lob over to score.
“We can be a very special group this year”
At the hour mark, Jones easily found Pang who came in front of the right side and decided Concordia’s fate, making the final score 5–1.
The men’s soccer team, which seemed to be more static in the last 15 minutes of its previous home game against Seattle Pacific University, left no chance to its opponent this time, implementing a tiki-taka style on the pitch and dictating the level of possession until the last minute.
“We talk a lot about rhythm in our play,” said head coach Clint Schneider after the game. “Our goal is to compete for the GNAC [Great Northwest Athletic Conference] championship and being in the national tournament picture. You have to [be] able to win; you have to be able to play good soccer.”
After missing out on last year’s title, the success of Schneider’s new tactics seems to bring the men’s soccer team closer than ever to the ever elusive National Collegiate Athletic Association [NCAA] national championship. “There is a group of guys here that don’t want it to happen. They’re hungry. They know what it takes and they know that they have to go out and to perform well in every game, that’s our standard.
“Although we popped five goals in or popped two in, it does not matter. We have standards at the level we play and how we operate things. We played really well tonight.”
Schneider was full of praise after his players’ outstanding performance. “I told the guys: listen, finish them off. Score the next goal and the game will be over. We were lucky to get two in there. We did what we did against a very good team. Concordia would have tried to change the narrative for sure if we played at their place, but I have a lot of belief in my players. We can be a very special group this year, and to play the way
we did against a very good team was impressive.”
Freshman Pang, who scored his first two-goal game in his collegiate career, reflected on the immediate comeback of the Clan. “We always manage to finish strong,” he said. “It is my first year, but I’m pretty confident with the group [to win a] championship.”
The men’s soccer team will come back home on October 15 to take on Western Washington University.