Vancouver, BC – The UBC Thunderbirds men’s soccer advanced to the Canada West Final Four with a convincing 3-0 victory over the UBC Okanagan Heat Friday night at David Sidoo Field at Thunderbird Stadium.
UBCO started the Canada West quarter-final very well and were on par with the two-time defending national champions. The Heat had their first shot in the 13th minute when defender Brandon McCallum’s strike just went high. The Thunderbirds responded with a great curved shot from left back Chris Serban but was brilliantly saved by Heat goalkeeper Christopher Cuthill in the 27th minute.
The Thunderbirds finally broke through with a mishandled Navid Mashinchi corner kick. Cuthill fumbled the ball and midfielder Sean Einarsson capitalized on that error to easily put the ball in the net making it 1-0 in the 38th minute.
After halftime, Mashinchi exploded to his usual self and scored in the 48th minute. Mashinchi received an assist from Niall Cousens on the edge of the box, battled through a defender and placed the ball in a dead corner making it 2-0.
The game was put to rest in the 55th minute when Mashinchi produced a brilliant freekick that left Cuthill frozen. The brilliant goal made it 3-0.
UBCO had a chance to get back into the game in the 74th minute when striker Logan Abbott got in a one-on-one position with UBC’s Luke O’Shea, but failed to get it past the solid goalkeeper.
Thunderbirds’ midfield dynamo Einarsson produced a wonderful through pass to put Mashinchi alone with the goalkeeper, but Cuthill was came up big this time to keep the game 3-0 with a quick run and block.
The game ended 3-0 and the Thunderbirds are through to the Canada West Final Four They will have to wait until Sunday to know who and where they are playing. The FInal Four will be hosted by the top seed from the Prairie Division.
“We are coming back from two national titles, so today we just wanted to prove to our fans that we still got it, especially after the two losses at the end of the season,” said UBC’s Milad Mehrabi. “We have to treat every coming game as a national final.”
The Thunderbirds will play the lower-seeded team that makes it from the Prairie Division. Check back at www.gothunderbirds.ca for more details.