TRU WolfPack men’s soccer team kicked off its 2016 Canada West season at home at Hillside Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 27, losing to UBC Thunderbirds 2-1. The Thunderbirds are the defending Canada West champs and bronze medal winners at the CIS Nationals.
First goal came from TRU’s Justin Donaldson (2nd year mid, Kamloops), from Mitch Popadynetz (3rd year, forward, Nelson) off a header from a corner kick. TRU led 1-0 after the first half.
UBC’s Titouan Chopin (2nd year, forward, Kaslo) took long shot at 55:30 that bounced off the crossbar and hit TRU keeper Clay Harsany.(2nd year, High River, Alta.) in the back and wound up in the net.
For UBC's second goal, Manpal Brar (1st year, forward, Surrey) took a pass from Bryan Fong (Canada West first team all-star, defender, Vancouver) and went far post on Harsany.
“The first half was solid,” said TRU head coach John Antulov. “We kept our shape defensively and didn’t give them a lot of opportunities. We knew they would come out ‘guns a blazin’ in the second half. It was up to us to keep what we were doing. The boys got a bit rattled in the beginning. They got a bit of a lucky one on their first goal. I thought Yuya (Nakano, 1st year, Aichi, Japan) , Mitch (Popadynetz) and Colton (4th year, middle, Sicamous) and our entire back line played well. They held pretty strong. A bit of a mishap on their second goal but overall I thought it was a pretty solid effort.”
“The boys really stepped it up,” UBC head coach Mike Mosher said of their second-half comeback. “Putting Manpal Brar and Zach Verhoeven (1st year, Surrey) in helped change things around. That and the other guys on the field really switched it up. What we saw in the first half is not acceptable. What we saw in the second half is what we expect. Those guys — true freshmen really changed the game. Manpal is a beast. He is a big body that is tough to deal with. Zach is as tricky as tricky as they come. And with Titouan (Chopin, 2nd year, forward, Kaslo) going on the other side-it really changed the game.”