If there was ever a Golden Bears soccer game to see, it was today. Making the trek out to Foote Field, however, meant one thing: freezing your ass off with a cold wind blowing on your face. Somehow, the LRT sign adjacent to the field noted 0 degrees Celcius, but the wind chill made the temperature feel more around -20. The fact that a solid contingent of fans made the game makes the 3-1 victory over the visiting Trinity Western Spartans that much better. With the victory, the Bears have booked a spot in CIS Nationals, and a Canada West finals rematch with UBC. This was a pretty captivating game, so simply stating the 3-1 score and the three scorers (Scott Gilroy, Marcus Johnstone and Cam Schmidt) does not suffice. Thus, here is a detailed breakdown of the match, from the on-field antics to the stuff in the stands.
Let’s begin with the temperature. The fact that fans sat around in cold Foote Field seating is astounding. Either the fans were so into the game that they simply forgot the cold, or they brought some thick wooly socks (or both). For those fans that brought a thick pair of socks, well done. You won the game. Others didn’t (including the writer of this article), slowly feeling their toes turn numb, eventually removing their socks to see nothing but colourless skin. Frost bite perhaps? Quite possibly. The only remedy for the cold was the Foote Field bathroom, oh so nice and toasty. Moreover, the Saville Centre next to the field made for some quick warm-up breaks built on corn chowder soup.
The fans were definitely immersed in the game, creating a fairly high-energy and raucous environment. This was Old Trafford in Edmonton. A row of about four university students brought a sign reading something along the lines of “UBC boys can’t handle the show,” as well as a horn that was sounded every few minutes. Lower down in the stands near the front of the field, over a dozen Golden Bears players and friends chanted throughout the match and heckled the opposing players. Some of the stuff relayed onto the pitch was hilarious, though it’s difficult to tell whether players even heard the jabs thrown their way.
In terms of the game, TWU cried wolf for 80% of the match, going ape-shit on the ref, particularly in the final minutes of extra time. One player on TWU, wearing number nine, said something along the lines of “Do your damn job ref,” to which he received a yellow card. Derp derp. Several TWU players with a propensity for diving were booed by Bears fans every time that they controlled the ball. Just before TWU’s game-tying goal in the 80th minute, one of their players was ‘taken down’ right around the penalty box. The entire TWU team went berserk, kind of like those Berserker monsters in Gears of War 1 and 2, jumping up and down while telling the ref that he’s being unfair in not awarding the penalty spot kick to the Spartans. (TWU would score, but that only prolonged the inevitable, apparently. In hindsight, the TWU players’ dramatic goal celebration in front of the Golden Bears bench probably backfired a tad. They lost, after all.)
The first goal of the game came on a penalty shot, by Scott Gilroy. Everyone in the stands went quiet prior to the shot, and then Gilroy deflected the ball off the TWU keeper into the left side of the twine. In extra time, Marcus Johnstone, known for his meme-sprees, notched the game-winning goal for the Bears. NOTE: whenever Johnstone touched the ball in the final 15 minutes of the game, he fell. Every time. On one occasion, however, he was actually awarded a free kick. What is truly weird was the Bears’ last goal, as it was the sort of thing you’d see out of a lopsided game of FIFA 2013. You know, when you’re down by five goals against your friend, and you decide to throw in the towel. So when your friend is on yet another breakaway, he nonchalantly dribbles PAST the keeper, waiting until the goalie dives, before passing/running the ball into the net. This was Cam Schmidt’s final goal. LITERALLY NO-ONE on TWU tried to stop him. It was Schmidt on goalie, and goalie could not save ball. Goalie was very VERY angry. Goalie yells and gestures with his arms, perhaps at ref, or perhaps at team for not trying.
Following the game, everyone on the Bears celebrated, knowing they’re now one step closer to a CIS Nationals victory. The motto of the game?
It’s obvious: UBC boys can’t handle the show.