Griffins spurred on by electric goals before conceding twice late to fall 3-2 at Victoria

Ricky Yassin scored MacEwan's opening goal in a 3-2 loss at Victoria on Friday night (Peter Oshkai photo).
Ricky Yassin scored MacEwan's opening goal in a 3-2 loss at Victoria on Friday night (Peter Oshkai photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

VICTORIA, B.C. – Antony Caceres rushed onto a ball flicked forward by Egzon Jetishi to score the go-ahead goal in the 51st minute – an inspired team effort that seemed to indicate the Griffins men's soccer team was on its way against a tough Victoria Vikes squad.

Unfortunately, they couldn't hang on, conceding two late goals to fall 3-2 on Friday night at Centennial Stadium.

"It was again some of the same kind of mental errors that we've been dealing with the last few weeks," said MacEwan head coach Adam Loga, whose team is now 2-4-0 in the Canada West standings. "It's a little bit of inexperience and maybe some maturity that we need to find quickly. 

"Similar errors are happening, and we can't continue to concede three plus goals a game and expect to get results. It's been a bit disappointing."

Victoria's Javier Sagaste opened the scoring in the 13th minute, but the Griffins found the equalizer before half-time. 

Nicolas Luczkiewicz beat a defender in midfield and launched a great ball up the left side that sent Rakan Yassin in alone. The veteran striker made no mistake on the 26th minute play, scoring his third goal in the last two games at Victoria, going back to a two-tally night in the 2021 playoffs.

"The goal must be five feet bigger here at least from his perspective," joked Loga of Yassin. "He's still scoring goals and that's great to see. He's finishing off a great career here and we've been lucky to have him. His development in the other phases outside of the attacking phase – he's really become a complete player."

Former FC Edmonton player Caceres scored two goals in a span of less than nine minutes against Saskatchewan on opening weekend before an injury took him out of action. Working back into top form, he came on Friday as a half-time sub and logged 45 minutes, scoring MacEwan's second goal.

"He's almost there," said Loga of his recovery process. "He definitely lights a spark for us in the midfield. He's super talented. His playing background definitely speaks to it as well. 

"He's able to come and change the tempo of the game and he gives us that freedom to move other guys around knowing he can lock down that central lane and bring us a spark offensively."

Victoria's Matthew Pearse scored twice in a seven-minute span later in the half to force MacEwan into the loss column.

"These are all learning moments," said Loga. "It sounds cliché but at the end of the day, it's a new group. This year, we've got a lot of new faces, so to go through these moments and try to endure them as a new group, it's just another lesson to be had today. 

"We have to learn from it. If we don't, that's the real loss, to be fair."

The Griffins will have a day off on the West Coast before visiting UFV on Sunday (1:30 p.m. MT, Canada West TV).