Griffins drop 2-0 decision to Golden Bears under high winds at Scottish field

Philip Masri goes flying over Alberta goalkeeper Chris Ezoua on a close play at Edmonton Scottish on Wednesday (Joel Kingston photo).
Philip Masri goes flying over Alberta goalkeeper Chris Ezoua on a close play at Edmonton Scottish on Wednesday (Joel Kingston photo).

Jefferson Hagen
MacEwan Athletics

EDMONTON – So wicked was the icy wind that carved across the scape at Edmonton Scottish on Wednesday afternoon, that a sudden gust peeled pieces of siding off the clubhouse right as the MacEwan Griffins and Alberta Golden Bears took to the pitch outdoors nearby.

Somehow, they managed to play a full Canada West men's soccer game in the tough conditions – a makeup contest for Sept. 2's match that didn't happane at all, due to the air quality index.

Alberta survived the best and emerged with a 2-0 victory that pushes their record to 6-1-2, while MacEwan falls to 2-6-1.

"It was tough for both teams to judge its trajectory," said MacEwan head coach Adam Loga. "It's not the best conditions – personally, it's my least favourite element to play in. But both teams had to play in it, and I think both teams managed it pretty well."

It's possible the wind played a factor in the game-winning goal, though, as Rilind Idrizi's 39th minute header from the middle of the box slipped through the hands of MacEwan goalkeeper Marko Ilich and was tapped in by Marcus Velado-Tsegaye.

Velado-Tsegaye scored his second of the game in the 83rd minute, taking advantage of a MacEwan giveaway deep in the zone to bury an insurance marker.

"They're a talented team on the other side," said Loga. "They're second place, they were first place for a while, and they may still end up first place. To get a draw with them on Saturday and go toe-to-toe with them for another 90 today … we just came up short. They didn't break us down. We gave them the two goals, let's be real here.

"It could have been another draw. If we're going toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the conference and it's midseason, it's (positive). It's not where we start, it's where we finish. So, hopefully we can carry it on and carry this momentum through."

The Griffins' best chance of the contest came in the 53rd minute when Rakan Yassin undressed a defender in the right corner and sent in a dangerous low shot that bounced off goalkeeper Chris Ezoua but found an Alberta boot instead of a MacEwan one for a clear.

Several times, though, the Griffins mounted attacks through midfield with pinpoint passing, only to be turned away by a stingy Golden Bears' back line.

"We got there quite a bit, especially the second half," said Loga. "There were some 50-50 situations that didn't go our way. Maybe they will the next one. 

"We got it there and there were some very good opportunities to break through. We were just unlucky today."

Ilich finished with eight saves in a losing effort, while Ezoua had four stops for Alberta. The Golden Bears also had two shots saved off the line by defenders – Jakob Sievert in the fifth minute and Abass Ajibade in the 37th.

Next up for the Griffins is a huge home game against the team they're chasing for the final playoff spot in the Prairie Division – Calgary (3-5-2) on Oct. 14 (12 p.m., Edmonton Scottish Dome).