Griffins suffer devastating 12-3 loss to Cougars that breaks two Canada West records

Ricky Yassin unleashes a shot during a match against Saskatchewan last weekend. He scored the Griffins' opening goal on Sunday and added an assist (Joel Kingston photo).
Ricky Yassin unleashes a shot during a match against Saskatchewan last weekend. He scored the Griffins' opening goal on Sunday and added an assist (Joel Kingston photo).

Jefferson Hagen, MacEwan Athletics

CALGARY – To say the MacEwan Griffins men's soccer team will quickly try to forget Sunday's 12-3 loss – yes, you read that right – to the Mount Royal Cougars on Sunday is an understatement.

Unfortunately, the result will likely live on for a long time in the Canada West record book after it shattered two marks – 1) for most goals in a game by a team (beating Victoria's 9-0 win over Saskatchewan in 2004) and 2) for most total goals by both teams (beating UBC's 8-2 win over Calgary in 2003).

"I've never been a part of anything like that in my life," said Griffins head coach Adam Loga. "Even my counterparts at MRU were very empathetic. It's pretty disenchanting to be a part of."

The crazy thing is the Griffins actually held a 3-1 lead just 11 minutes into the contest after scoring three times in a span of five minutes.

In a normal soccer game, that often carries a team to three points at the finish line. But there was nothing normal about Sunday as MRU stormed back with 11 (!) unanswered goals to post the most devastating loss in MacEwan program history.

Both Miguel Da Rocha and Dane Domic scored hat-tricks for the Cougars, while Mohamed El Gandour led the way with two goals and two assists to push MRU's record to 3-1-3 on the season.

MacEwan, now with three losses in a row, sit at 1-4-1 with their playoff hopes on life support.

Without starting goalkeeper Josh Stayko, who is still recovering from an injury against Saskatchewan last weekend, the Griffins started backup Simon Dawe.

After conceding five goals against in the first half on seven shots, Dawe was then handed a harsh red card for a late first-half foul that sent the game spiraling out of control for the Griffins.

"It was a through ball and he came out to clear it and the guy jumped over him and stumbled after he went over him," said Loga who was displeased with a red on the play.

Not only were the Griffins forced to play a man short for the second half, they were forced to play third-string goalkeeper Mason Perras. Seeing the first Canada West action of his career, he allowed seven goals against on nine shots in 45 minutes of work.

MacEwan has now allowed 26 goals against in six games and one of those was a Stayko shutout.

To be sure, they've had some tough breaks that are out of their control, but there's also no doubt where the improvement has to come if they're to ever going to crack the Canada West playoff ranks for the first time since joining the conference in 2014.

"It's something we need to address," said Loga of their goals against. "For many reasons we want to clean that up. We've been doing a lot of work on our defensive organization. Unfortunately, we're giving the ball away in very vulnerable areas. It punishes us."

If there are any positives to take out of Sunday's loss it's that it was their best start and best offensive output of the season.

Rakan Yassin (on a penalty kick), Stefan Gajic and Alvin Mazaheri, who scored for the second-straight game, tallied within five minutes of each other inside the game's first 11 minutes.

"The goals were great goals," said Loga. "Obviously getting multiples was a huge positive. They were created by our game model. They followed our plan – we made some tweaks this week and we saw them come to fruition on those goals. It was nice to see. It was a great start. We were buzzing."

Next up for the Griffins is a pair of home games against Lethbridge on Oct. 16-17 (both 2:30 p.m., Clarke Stadium, Canada West TV presented by Co-op).