Despite being repeatedly smacked down, this baby-faced squad keeps coming back for more.
Heading into the weekend, the Dinos men's soccer team knew they had to pull up their proverbial socks and learn to hold a lead. Unfortunately, a Sat., Oct. 4 match up with the powerful University of Alberta Golden Bears was the same old song.
After coming out guns a-blazing, the soccersaurs staked themselves the ever-dreaded 1-0 lead courtesy a great individual effort by fullback Adam Onulov and impressive finish courtesy co-captain John Remmer.
But that was as good as it would get.
The Bears showed why they are the cream of the Canada West crop five minutes later on a goal by Mark Korthuis. Despite a valliant effort by the home side, the U of A notched two more goals, taking the game 3-1 and extending the Dinos season-high losing skid to three games.
"We were unlucky over the last few games and made some stupid mistakes," spat frustrated midfielder Matt Houston.
The following afternoon, the Dinos took to the pitch again, beneath the sweltering early October heat, for an uninspiring tilt with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
"It's like a Sunday afternoon after everyone's roast beef--we were going to sleep in the second half. No matter what I tried to do I couldn't get this game going or pump it up," mused Dinos Head Coach Andy Gibbs. "And then the referee woke it up for us."
Indeed, when Onulov was sent off with a questionable red card in the 75th minute, it snapped both squads out of their sleepwalking doldrums and the final 15 minutes were frantic to say the least. The only side to capitalize on the increase in tempo were the Dinos, as Houston hammered a goal home in the 76th minute playing a man down, propelling the soccersaurs to a much-needed 1-0 triumph.
"We pretty much had to win this game or we'd be screwed," Houston explained after the match. "We have to keep winning or else it doesn't really matter."
Gibbs agrees with his veteran, adding that the timing was perfect.
"Because they've won a game and we have two weeks off, instead of festering over losing four in a row they've got it in their minds that 'Hey, maybe there's still some spark in us yet,'" the bench boss enthused.
When Onulov was sent off late in the Huskies contest, he was also assessed an automatic one-game suspension to be served when the Dinos take on the Trinity Western University Spartans Sun., Oct. 19 at Foothills Stadium. While they will miss his creativity, Gibbs thinks it could be for the best as Onulov is nursing a leg injury that could use the time off.