The University of Victoria Vikes men’s soccer team played to a 1-1 draw against the UBC Thunderbirds at Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver on Sept. 5. The Canada West regular season opener featured just 11 minutes of scoreless action before both teams capitalized within a 41-second span beginning with Abbotsford, B.C., native Gagan Dosanjh’s 12th-minute strike before Victoria’s Craig Gorman answered with the equalizer moments later.
“[Craig] Gorman has been outstanding, in particular his ability taking free kicks and creating scoring chances with his crosses,” said Vikes head coach Bruce Wilson about the Vikes captain. “He played very well for us today and, deservedly so, earned our man of the match.”
This was a single-header game to open both teams’ Canada West season. Both teams earn a point and move to 0-0-1 on the season. The two teams face each other again on Oct. 9 on David Sidoo Field At Thunderbird Stadium to cap off their two-game season series.
Arguably the T-Birds’ most coveted addition this season, Dosanjh made his presence immediately felt as the fifth-year veteran scored in the 12th minute pouncing on a loose ball at the edge of the goal area. The shot found the far corner and beat Vikes’ goalkeeper Noah Pawlowski, a 2014 CIS First Team All-Canadian. Dosanjh last played for the Thunderbirds in 2012 when he earned the CIS Championship MVP honour before playing two seasons with FC Edmonton.
The lead lasted a mere 41 seconds as the Vikes immediately marched downfield and buried the equalizer as Gorman capitalized on a Sam Prette pass from the right edge and beat UBC’s Chad Bush (Ottawa, Ont.) low corner from the top of the 18-yard box. Gorman has been on fire to start the season, having scored six goals in five preseason games entering Saturday extending his goal-scoring streak to five games with his strike in the 13th minute.
Around the 25-minute mark, Victoria’s Prette was sprung on a partial break and managed to corral and fire a shot that was marked for the top left corner before Bush denied him the go-ahead goal. The UBC keeper settled in nicely after conceding the opening goal displaying the form that earned him the 2013 Goalkeeper of the Year in the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (and youngest to do so).
Play was isolated to the midfield for much of the remaining half-hour, as the game remained a 1-1 deadlock heading into the second half of play.
The duo of Prette and Gorman continued to give the T-Birds trouble in the second half, as in the 58th minute, Prette made a move around a UBC defender and sent a soft strike on goal but was turned away by Bush. Gorman was first on the rebound but sent his attempt high over the bar. The Vikes also had a pair of corner opportunities that preceded the scoring threat but couldn’t capitalize.
Five minutes later, Victoria’s Tarnvir Bhandal had a go from about 25 yards out but was tipped by a fellow Victoria player inside the box sending the attempt high. At that point, the Vikes were in the midst of continued pressure as Canada West’s No. 2-ranked team controlled the play for 20 minutes midway through the second half.
Titouan Chopin (Kaslo, B.C.) broke that trend in the 70thminute with a bullet from about 22 yards out that sailed high but kept Vikes’ keeper Pawlowski on high alert. Just three minutes later Han Sol Kim sent a soft chip over the Vikes goalie that trickled just wide as the mid-game substitute searched for the go-ahead goal.
The Vikes nearly broke the deadlock in the 79th minute when a curling cross into the box found the head of Prette who sent the redirected attempt off the top of the crossbar and out of play to the delight of the Thunderbirds faithful. Though three yellows were handed out in the latter stages of the game, the score remained unchanged as the game ended in a 1-1 draw.
Saturday’s game was characterized by a ton of missed shots, as UBC managed 14 shots to Victoria’s 10 but only eight of those strikes were on target, four to each team. Bush made three saves for UBC in his Canadian Interuniversity Sport debut, which was equally matched by Vikes’ keeper Pawlowski, who also finished with three saves on Saturday.
“We can take a lot away from this evening, we we were at least equal in this game and thought there were several opportunities to win the game,” added Wilson. “We still have a few injuries and a few more players that will debut next week so overall very pleased with the game, from our goalkeeper through to the rest of the team. Our fitness level is very good and it’s going to be an interesting season.”
The Thunderbirds will face the Washington Huskies in Seattle on Friday, Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. PT as the team takes a bye week from Canada West league play. Following its non-conference game against the NCAA Division I Pac-12 powerhouse, the T-Birds will play back-to-back away conference games against Fraser Valley and Trinity Western on Sept. 18 and 19, respectively.
The Vikes will be in action next week for its home opener when the team hosts the UNBC Timberwolves at Centennial Stadium on Sept. 11-12. The games will be broadcast live on pay-per-view at uvic.canadawest.tv while ticket information can be found at govikesgo.com/tickets.