Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics
CALGARY – Another early goal against forced the MacEwan Griffins men's soccer team into playing catch-up on Saturday at Mount Royal University.
They could never find a way to get even, conceding three more throughout the 90 minutes before dropping a 4-1 decision to the Cougars.
"We started fairly well," said head coach Adam Loga. "We just conceded a foul off a free kick. Simon (Dawe) was able to get a hand on it and then off the crossbar and in. It's still an early goal. We need to kick that out of our locker. It's just unfortunate."
The goal by MRU's David Schaefer, coming 11 minutes into the contest, was the Cougars' first of two in the opening half as Miguel Da Rocha gave them a 2-0 advantage in the 33rd minute.
Schaefer and Justin Anderson-Louc scored second-half goals within seven minutes of each other to give MRU an insurmountable 4-0 lead before MacEwan broke the goose-egg on Alvin Mazaheri's tally moments before the final whistle.
"It was a nice goal, to be fair," said Loga of Mazaheri's second tally of this, his rookie Canada West season. "It was a good buildup, played out wide to Nick (Stefansson) and Nick swung it in back stick to Alvin for a one-touch finish."
Dawe finished with five saves as the Griffins were outshot 20-11 (9-3 on goal).
"Clearly there are things not working," said Loga. "Some of those things may not be tactical, so that's what we need to acknowledge and iron out.
"We're a talented group. We know that and we just need to make sure those intangibles are rising to the surface."
With the loss, the Griffins fall to 1-3-1 on the season, while the Cougars improve to 2-1-3.
While that puts MacEwan five points back of the final playoff spot in the Central Division, they're not out of it, which is the key message as they head into the rematch against MRU on Sunday (3 p.m., Canada West TV presented by Co-op).
"Belief," said Loga when asked what they can take into the contest. "It's a word that's tossed around, but feeling it is different than saying it.
"So, we've got to be stubbornly optimistic moving forward and just have that positivity and belief within each other and ourselves that this is a job we can successfully complete."