The UBC Thunderbirds men’s soccer team concluded their preseason with a match against cross-town rivals SFU Clan. The ‘Birds won, 1-0, in front of an impressive crowd of over 900. With the victory, UBC finishes their preseason campaign undefeated, previously picking up draws on the road against Seattle Pacific University and Evergreen State before winning against Western Washington on Tuesday.
“Every week we’ve developed and gotten better,” said head coach Mike Mosher. “We’ve got a lot of new faces in the group and I think there’s a lot of quality. It just takes a little bit of time to put our stamp on things and get the group to gel.”
Mosher’s team did not get off to the start they were hoping for. With the exception of one opportunity from UBC, SFU controlled the play for most of the first half. Forward Michael North had the better of his team’s opportunities. A 43rd minute chance from North was marked for the top corner but UBC goalkeeper Chad Bush, who recently played professionally for Ottawa Fury FC, rose to the occasion, steering the chance behind for a corner.
“I thought SFU was the better team in the first half,” said Mosher. “It was good to get out of it 0-0 and reassess and regroup.”
Mosher’s halftime pep talk proved to spark some motivation in the second half. The Thunderbirds got their breakthrough in the 61st minute when Justin Wallace, a former SFU footballer, side-footed the ball past Brandon Watson to give his team the lead.
“I think it started on the sideline,” said Wallace when asked about the goal. “Gagan [Dosanjh] and Sean [Einarsson] played a good one-two, I found myself at the top of the 18, took a touch and just wanted to hit it on net.”
Mosher had nothing but positives to say about the fifth-year striker.
“I thought he was awesome,” said Mosher. “I thought he was one of the best players on the field without a doubt. There’s a little bit of extra motivation being a former SFU player but that’s the player we’ve seen evolve over the last few weeks.”
SFU thought they had the equalizer in the 83rd minute after Mamadi Camara slotted the ball into the back of the net. However, the play was called offside and UBC was able to hang on for the win.
“SFU’s a good team, a good opponent and that’s what you want in preseason,” said Mosher. “You want to play good opponents so that you’re ready for Canada West and no better opponent to play than Victoria first game off. They’re gonna be one of the top teams in Canada West as they always are.”
UBC’s first regular season game against Victoria will take place next Saturday at Thunderbird Stadium.