A sunny and blustery fall afternoon in Brandon greeted the four teams competing for the 2021 MCAC Men’s Soccer Championship semi-final matches, hosted by Brandon University, on Saturday, October 30.
An upset occurred to the top seed and now CMU Blazers will face BU Bobcats in the championship final on Sunday, October 31.
#1 PUC Pilots vs. #4 CMU Blazers
In the upset of the day, the #4 seed Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) scored in the first half and held on to a 1-0 win over the #1 seed Providence University College (PUC) Pilots.
There was 16 points separating the teams in the regular season standings but that is why the playoffs is a whole new season.
CMU’s goal scorer was Matheus Moreno who scored just inside the box on a high shot for the eventual game-winner early in the first half. The Blazers kept attacking with the strong wind but could not add anything to the lead and it stayed 1-0 after 45.
In the second half, the top seed Pilots threw everything at the Blazers as they had the wind and several glorious chances but were thwarted by CMU’s goalkeeper Brayden Abbott. The rookie keeper made a big save to start the half to dive on a quick low shot, then made another stop on a deflected shot midway through and punched several corner kicks away from harm way throughout the last 45.
With a couple minutes left, PUC’s Johannes Barnes found the ball in front of the net but could not tie up the score for the last good chance for PUC.
The Blazers (4-7-1 regular season; 1-0 post-season) move onto the Finals and stop PUC’s seven game unbeaten streak as they only suffer their second loss of the season (9-2-1 regular season record; 0-1 in playoffs).
Player of the Match for CMU was goalkeeper Brayden Abbott and forward Garreth Rayner for PUC.
#2 BU Bobcats vs. #3 USB Les Rouges
In the other semi-final, the #2 seed Brandon University (BU) Bobcats took full advantage of the #3 seed Université de Saint-Boniface (USB) Les Rouges playing with ten players for the majority of the match to secure a 2-1 come-from-behind victory on their home field.
It did not start out well for the hosts. USB’s winger and All-Conference winger Ibrahim Bezzahou scored early in the third minute to silence the mostly pro-Bobcats fans.
The game turned when one of the USB players was sent off and Brandon responded with a penalty kick in the ninth minutes as 2021 MVP and All-Conference midfielder stepped up and scored to tie it at 1-1 and remained a draw after 45 minutes.
In the second half, Brandon had a chance to put away Providence and on a free kick, midfielder Sam Wetstein responded with a goal off a rebound from goalkeeper Alexandre Kouassi-Lenoir for the winner.
The Bobcats (9-1-2 regular season; 1-0 playoffs) extends their unbeaten streak to ten games (nine wins, one draw) while Les Rouges finish with a 6-0-6 regular season mark and the post-season loss after a hard fought, intense match against BU.
Player of the Match for Brandon was Sam Wetstein with Alexandre Kouassi-Lenoir for USB.
In the 2021 MCAC Men’s Soccer Championship Final, Brandon looks to defend their title when they play against the Blazers at 2:30 p.m. CT on Sunday, October 31 at the HLC Field in Brandon.
2021 Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference Soccer Championship
Hosted by: Brandon University
Saturday, October 30
12 p.m. WSOC: #1 seed USB 5 #4 seed CMU 0
12 p.m. WSOC: #2 seed Brandon 1 #3 seed PUC 0 – extra time
2:30 p.m. MSOC: #4 seed CMU 1 #1 seed PUC 0
2:30 p.m. MSOC: #2 seed Brandon 2 #3 seed USB 1
Sunday, October 31
12 p.m. Women’s Championship Final: #1 seed USB vs. #2 seed Brandon
2:30 p.m. Men’s Championship Final: #2 seed Brandon vs. #4 seed CMU