Late lapse leads to 3-1 loss to Alberta, but Griffins remain in a playoff position

Chance Carter, seen in action against UNBC earlier this season, scored the lone goal for MacEwan in a 3-1 loss at Alberta on Saturday (Rich Abney photo).
Chance Carter, seen in action against UNBC earlier this season, scored the lone goal for MacEwan in a 3-1 loss at Alberta on Saturday (Rich Abney photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

-With files from Bears and Pandas Communications

EDMONTON – Conceding a pair of goals in less than six minutes in the second half, the MacEwan Griffins men's soccer team suffered a 3-1 defeat to cross-town rival Alberta on Saturday at Foote Field.

Garry Onyejelem and Rilind Idrizi scored in the 70th and 76th minutes to break open a tied game, sending MacEwan to its fifth loss in its last six games.

Despite the loss, the Griffins (3-6-3) remain in a playoff position, tied with Calgary (3-5-3) in points, but the Dinos have a game in hand. Both are only two points ahead of fifth-place Saskatchewan (2-6-4) with the Dinos and Huskies set to face each other Sunday.

"Missing time training together over the first month of training camp is obviously showing itself a bit," said MacEwan head coach Adam Loga. "We need to try to find a way to overcome this and stick to the game model and game plan and not go rogue with it. 

"We didn't play well," he added of Saturday's loss. "We have to be honest with ourselves. A lot of that comes with being a bit disconnected out there and not being within ourselves and our game model. We've just got to go through our reps this week and hopefully we'll come out with a better performance next weekend."

On Saturday, the start of the game was fairly slow-paced, with each team creating a few chances and the defenses standing strong for the most part. 

Alberta largely controlled possession, and in the 29th minute the attack was fruitful with third-year midfielder Jake Bosch scoring his first of the year on a rocket from just inside the box. First-year Habib Assem, the Bears leading scorer, played a beautiful ball that found the right foot of Bosch. 

The second half started with a bang, with a miscommunication between Alberta second-year Luke Withers and fourth-year keeper Chris Ezoua led to a Griffins goal off the boot of second-year Chance Carter. Carter was a halftime sub and made an instant impact on his first touch. 

"It was a bit of a different goal," said Loga. "He's been battling some injuries, but he was able to get in for 45 today and he helped us out like he always does. We've missed him, of course, but he was able to lend a hand today, which was awesome."

The score remained 1-1 in the 60th minute after a phenomenal save from Griffins keeper Joshua Stayko on Bears defender Morgan Graham from in close. Another Bears chance came knocking in the 69th minute when Ibrahim Jetishi missed a sitter from in the box after pressure from Stayko.

The Bears broke through a minute later however, when Onyejelem finished from in close on a phenomenal pass from Bosch to put the Bears up 2-1. The offence did not stop there for Alberta, as third-year midfielder Rilind Idrizi potted home a phenomenal pass from Onyejelem to set the score at 3-1 which would be the final.

Both the Bears and the Griffins take the trip down the QEII next weekend to face the Calgary Dinos (3-5-3) and Mount Royal Cougars (8-0-3) on alternating days.