The University of the Fraser Valley men’s soccer team picked up a huge victory on the road on Friday evening, defeating the CIS No. 4-ranked Trinity Western Spartans 4-1 in Langley.
The game’s turning point came late in the first half when TWU’s Elie Gindo was sent off after being shown a second yellow card – both of them assessed for fouls on Cascades forward James Najman.
The ensuing free kick led to a goal by UFV’s Justin Sekhon, and the Cascades added goals from Najman, Elijah Sampson and Nate Trampleasure against a 10-man Spartans side in the second half.
Cody Fransen scored just before the final whistle for Trinity Western (8-3-2), which sustained its first home loss and is now tied on points with the UBC Thunderbirds for first place in the Pacific Division. The victory boosted the Cascades (5-5-1) from fourth to third in the Pacific.
The two teams clash again on Sunday in the back half of the home-and-home set, with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m. at MRC Sports Complex in Abbotsford.
“The lads were immense tonight,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes said. “They bought into the way we wanted to attack the game. Our shape was good, and our work rate and our effort were phenomenal. To come to No. 4 in the country and be up 4-0 with 30 seconds left . . . it’s a sign of where we’ve come and the level that we can be at when we play the way we want to play.”
After a feisty first half, the match turned when Gindo was given his second yellow of the night – both picked up within four minutes of each other. Immediately thereafter, Sekhon collected the ball on a scramble in the box, turned and fired home his team-leading fourth goal of the campaign.
Najman continued to be a thorn in the Spartans’ side in the second half – Herman Gill sent a cross into the box that found the fifth-year forward and he made no mistake, converting in the 58th minute.
Sampson put UFV up 3-0 in the 82nd minute. Bronson Hartley sent Michael Mobilio in on a breakaway, and TWU keeper Andrew Hicks got his fingertips on Mobilio’s low shot labelled for the bottom right corner. But the ball continued to roll toward the goal line, and Sampson came swooping in for an easy tap-in.
Trampleasure rounded out the scoring for UFV in stoppage time, finishing off a picture-perfect cross from Brady Weir.
Keeper Alex Skrzeta finished with five saves for the Cascades, and midfielder Daniel Davidson picked up player of the game honours.
“We weathered the storm in the first half . . . and we came out in the second half with the same desire,” Lowndes analyzed. “The first 10 minutes we were under pressure and actually scored against the run of play. They had a few chances, but we scored, and from there we kept the ball well. We were disciplined, we were organized, and going forward we caused havoc at times.
“One through 18 tonight, the squad was fantastic.”
– with files from TWU Athletics