The Varsity Blues men’s soccer team were looking to even their record at 1-1-0 on Saturday when they played host to the Royal Military College (RMC), and did just that with a 4-0 victory.
Second-year striker Jermaine Burrell, buried his first of two goals for the match in the 11th minute, on a beautiful heel pass from third-year midfielder Ezequiel Lubocki inside the 18-yard box. Freshman Adrian Dannel put a header in the back of the net in the 31st minute, off the foot of first-year striker Marko Miketic.
Striker Mario Kovacevic, who started in the opening loss to Carelton, came on for the second half and scored on a beautiful bicycle kick off a long cross from third-year defender Jean Giroux in the 62nd minute. Rookie defender Tyrell Rayne came on late in the second half and with a burst of speed sprinted up the right side of the pitch to set up Burrell for an easy tap into an empty net in the 84th minute.
However, the win may have cost the Blues their starting goalkeeper for at least one game. Rookie goalkeeper Rab Bruce-Lockhart, came out to the edge of the 18-yard box to challenge for a ball in the 36th minute, and collided with one of his defenders who was jockeying for position.
“It was quite a collision,” Blues head coach Anthony Capotosto said after the game. “He decided to come out for the ball, and it kind of died in the wind so he was forced to punch it. He was late getting to it and collided with one of his defenders.”
Bruce-Lockhart took a blow to the forehead and injured his hip in the process. Capotosto said they are not worried about a concussion, but are concerned about Bruce-Lockhart’s hip. Fellow rookie goalkeeper Anthony Spanopoulos, did not dress for the game as he continues to recover from a finger injury during last week’s warm-up before the Blues season opener against Carleton.
With no backup goalkeeper on the bench, fifth-year midfielder Dylan Bams donned the gloves and protected the net for the remaining 55 minutes.
Although there is nothing fortuitous about having to substitute your goalie due to injury, the Blues already had a 2–0 lead at the time of the collision, and had the game well in hand against a weak RMC team.
Toronto started five different players and altered their style of play greatly from the 3-1 loss to Carleton in their season opener.
“We changed our formation from last week,” said Capotosto. “We’re trying to play to our players’ strengths and have the players dictate what system we play, and I thought it was more effective today.”
Capotosto was pleased with the way that his team played, but is still unsure which formation the team will use in the future. “We’re going to try to work two different systems, and we’re going to see and choose the one that best suits our team. It’s really early right now, and we’re still trying to get a feel for the team. We lost 10 players from last year, so it’s about fitting the right people in the right spots in the right formation.”
The team is still recovering from preseason injuries, but Capotosto is optimistic that he will have a full complement of players soon and peak at the right time as playoffs approach. “Hopefully, we’re healthy for the playoffs. Now it’s about playing in the regular season and preparing ourselves for late October.”
The Blues fell 2–1 to the Queen’s Gaels in a close contest on Sunday. Toronto striker Mario Kovacevic scored the only Blues goal in the 70th minute to tie the game at 1–1. However, despite ample opportunites, the Blues were unable to keep pace with the Gaels.