It was a game that, on paper, would have been worthy of a matchup much further along in the tournament.
SFU was the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) champion, coming off a 14–1–2 regular season in which the team outscored opponents 46–13. The opponent, Cal Poly Pomona, was the Division II finalist the season before, and had a 12–5–3 record this season. The two had also played each other earlier this season, and SFU won 2–0 on goals from Erik Morden and Rahid Raheim.
But in a win or go home situation, anything can happen. The Clan outshot the Broncos 12–4, but despite that, SFU was forced to go to penalties. When they got there, they weren’t able to convert, despite senior goalkeeper Brandon Watson saving the first two Broncos kicks.
It marks the end of a fantastic season for SFU, albeit probably a lot sooner than they would have liked. The Clan was undefeated for most of the regular season, the lone loss coming November 3 against Western Washington. Adam Jones was named GNAC Player of the Year, a year after winning GNAC Freshman of the Year. Magnus Kristensen was named Defensive Player of the Year, and Riley Pang was named Freshman of the Year. All those players will return next season.
However, the elephant in the room is the situation of hosting their half of the bracket on the road in Seattle at Interbay Stadium, home of the Seattle Pacific Falcons. Despite earning home field advantage, SFU had to play the game in the United States, being the only Canadian team in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). One has to wonder how different this game would have been had SFU played this at Terry Fox Field. The Clan had an amazing home record this year, not losing a single game. The last time they lost at home in fact, was October 16, 2014 against Seattle Pacific.
Would the team have won if was a true home game? We’ll never know. But if the NCAA values SFU as an integral member, this is going to have to change sooner rather than later.