Courtesy of University of New Brunswick sports information
November 8, 2013, FREDERICTON (ISN) – Milad Mehrabi of Coquitlam, B.C., scored the game-winner in the 59th minute to lead the defending national champion University of British Columbia Thunderbirds to a 2-1 semifinal victory over the York Lions at the CIS men’s soccer championship, Friday afternoon at the BMO Centre.
The 2013 Canada West champions advance to Sunday’s final at 2 p.m. AST where they will face either Laval or tournament host UNB. A year ago, UBC captured its record 12th Sam Davidson Memorial Trophy – eight more than any other team – thanks to a 1-0 gold-medal win over Cape Breton in Quebec City.
The T-Birds, who go into the championship match on a 15-game overall winning streak since dropping their second game of conference play back on Sept. 8, are now a mind-boggling 40-5-1 all-time at the CIS tournament (.880) and will play in the final for the 17th time in 19 appearances at the competition.
One of UBC’s four all-time losses in the national title match came at the hands of York in 2010 (1-0), the last time the rivals had met at the CIS tourney.
The Lions, this season’s OUA champions, will battle for bronze Sunday at 11 a.m. AST.
York opened in the 12th minute on Dylan Sacramento’s second goal of the championship.
The Ontario champs played a great first 20 minutes and held the Thunderbirds without a scoring chance early on, but that wouldn’t last much longer.
UBC started to put on the pressure, earning countless opportunities, until Sean Einarsson, who had scored the lone goal against Montreal on Thursday, went down with an apparent head injury halfway through the first period. He was lying on the pitch for a minute or so, until he got up and went off the field to receive treatment.
Moments after he came back on with bandages on his head, in the 25th minute, Einarsson headed the ball to the back of the net off a corner quick from Navid Mashinchi to tie the affair at one all.
UBC head coach Mike Mosher said the tying goal was huge for his team. “It was very inspirational to us, I told our team at halftime that we needed everyone to play like Sean.”
The T-Birds got off to a great start in the second half and took the lead in the 59th minute thanks to Mehrabi, who accepted a beautiful behind-the-back pass from Mashinchi before tallying the winner.
York bench boss Carmine Isacco said there was nothing his team could do on Mehrabi’s goal.
“It was a great goal. We thought we were playing them great, but they made a perfect play and it ended up in the back of our net.”
The remainder of the second half was back-and-forth but the Lions couldn’t get the equalizer, even though they ended up outshooting their opponents 5-3 in the game. A late corner kick was York’s final chance but the OUA titlists couldn’t convert.
Mark-Anthony Kaye, who had two goals for York in Thursday’s quarter-final win over Saint Mary’s, was kept in check by UBC and Mosher said his team did a great job defending him.
“They have so many skilled players on their team, and I thought we did great against them in the second half, including keeping Kaye in check.”
Einarsson and Sacramento were named player of the match for their respective team.
- UBC: 1-1:2
- YRK: 1-0:1
- 1. YRK Dylan Sacramento (2) (unassisted), 12th
- 2. UBC Sean Einarsson (2) (unassisted), 25th
- 3. UBC Milad Mehrabi (1) (Navid Mashinchi), 59th
- UBC: Luke O’Shea (W, 1 GA, 4 saves, 90:00, 2-0)
- YRK: Sotiri Varlokostas (L, 2 GA, 2 saves, 90:00, 1-1)
- Shots: UBC 3, YRK 5
- Corners: UBC 4, YRK 8
- Fouls: UBC 17, YRK 14
- Yellow cards: UBC 1, YRK 3
- Red cards: none
Players of the game:
- UBC: Sean Einarsson
- YRK: Dylan Sacramento
SCHEDULE & RESULTS (ATLANTIC TIME)
Thursday, Nov. 7
- 11:00 Quarter-final 1: York 3, Saint Mary’s 0
- 13:30 Quarter-final 2: UBC 1, Montreal 0
- 16:00 Quarter-final 3: Laval 3, Ryerson 2
- 18:30 Quarter-final 4: UNB 2, Saskatchewan 1 (OT)
Friday, Nov. 8
- 11:00 Consolation 1: Montreal 2, Saint Mary’s 0
- 13:30 Consolation 2: Saskatchewan 3, Ryerson 2 (4-3 PK)
- 16:00 Semifinal 1: UBC 2, York 1
- 18:30 Semifinal 2: Laval vs. UNB
Saturday, Nov. 9
- 14:30 5th-place game: Montreal vs. Saskatchewan
Sunday, Nov. 10
- 11:00 Bronze medal: York vs. TBD
- 14:00 Championship final: UBC vs. TBD