With their most competitive match of the year staring them in the face, the University of Winnipeg men’s soccer team showed how professional experience and depth makes all the difference in big moments. Behind a huge goal in the last fifteen minutes by Yiannis Tsalatsidis, the Wesmen were able to finally break away for a 3-1 win – but the score masks how competitive this game was.
Undefeated through most of the season, the Wesmen took on the upstart Red River Rebels, who were closing out their first season in soccer competition. After outscoring the Rebels 8-1 in two regular season matchups, the Wesmen were slower out of the gate in the championship final.
Although a quick opening goal from Kenny Sacramento, his fourth of the tournament, got the Wesmen rolling, they failed to capitalize on dozens of subsequent opportunities. Taking advantage of the open door for Red River was All-Conference forward Tyler da Silva, who’s breakneck speed gave him a breakaway goal at the beginning of the second half to tie the game at 1.
The following 30 minutes were the most competitive the Wesmen men have seen all year. They continued to get chances at the net, but failed to capitalize until the waning moments, when Tsalatsidis’ goal secured the win.
The University of Winnipeg, who were already suffering from injuries, lost regular season MCAC MVP Adam Bromley in the first half after he was given a red card. Playing shorthanded the rest of the way, Bromley’s experience was a huge loss for the team.
As for Red River, a team that came together weeks before the start of the season, the men’s team took home a well-earned silver after an outstanding tournament where they upset Providence before playing hard-nosed soccer against the vaunted Wesmen.
In the bronze match, the Providence Freemen made up for Saturday’s loss, trouncing the University of Saint-Boniface 4-0.
For more results from the soccer championships and to see a complete list of All-Conference selections and MVP’s, click here.
For photos from the entire Soccer Championships weekend, visit our Facebook page here.
– John Gaudes