Men's soccer down one

'Stangs allow one goal, suffer first loss of season

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Paul Arnold

Jon Purdy

HE HASN'T MADE THAT FACE SINCE HIS LAST PHYSICAL. Mustangs forward Paul Arnold registers his surprise as the soccer team suffered their first loss of the season on Sunday.

The Mustangs men’s soccer team lost their first decision of the Ontario University Athletics season, falling 1-0 to the Brock Badgers on Sunday afternoon at TD Waterhouse Stadium. The loss gives Western a 3-1 record for second place in their OUA division.

Western fell behind in the 42nd minute of the first half when first-year Badgers player Lucas Van Beek knocked in a header at the edge of the six yard box, after the referee awarded a free kick on the left wing. The ball looked to take a deflection off a Western player but it made no difference as ’keeper Haider Al-Shaibani could not get a hand on it.

The goal ended Al-Shaibani’s shutout streak, after the ’Stangs started the season with three 1-0 wins.

“Definitely it was a tough loss to swallow,” Western defender Steve Meagher said.

“We won our first three games and we hadn’t let up a goal, so this is definitely kind of a wake up call for us. We have to go back to the drawing board at practice and come out fired up with more intensity.”

The first half was a competitive affair, with both teams committed in their challenges. Western’s midfielder Dante Biscaro was even cautioned for a late tackle eight minutes into the game.

Soon after, ’Stangs forward Michel Daoust crossed the ball in from the left wing after a poor clearance from Brock, but striking partner Paul Arnold’s weak left foot shot rolled just wide.

After falling behind at the end of the first half, Western was more determined in the second frame. However, Badgers goalkeeper Chris Cutaia was up to the task, tipping away a deflected free kick in the 66th minute from 30 yards and then smartly diving to his left to punch away a close header from Daoust in the 80th minute.

“Generally our game plan is to keep possession as much as we can [and] switch the point of attack until we get a chance to penetrate,” Western head coach Rock Basacco said. “That didn’t happen much in the first half, [but] in the second half we were able to generate a number of chances, but their goalie came up big on a couple of shots.”

“We’ve got very good goalkeeping and we were solid at the back " it frustrated them because everything they threw at us we were able to handle,” Brock head coach Bill Millar said after the game.

Western almost found an equalizer in the 74th minute when Daoust ran onto a wayward back-pass from a Brock defender, but the Badgers’ Mark Bennett scrambled back and put in an important tackle.

“I think we played with a lot of passion today, and we liked playing on the turf,” Millar said. “I think it allowed us to pass the ball short.”

Al-Shaibani had to be on his toes, as Brock’s counter-attack caused problems for Western’s back four.

In the 75th minute Brock’s Brett Baker released a strike on the left wing and Al-Shaibani had to get down low to his right to make the save. The rebound broke to the oncoming Brock midfielder Odean Thompson, but he blasted over the top of the net.

“Luckily, Haider made some big saves and kept us in the game right to the end, but we just couldn’t put one in,” Meagher said.

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