Top five 2019 MRU men soccer moments
By Daniel Khavkin, Sports Editor
5. Second 5-0 beating, first ever MRU MSOC hat-trick
In late September, the Cougars faced their first test of adversity… having their perfect 5-0-0 run snapped while also suffering its first sweep of the season.
MRU came back to the friendly confines of Mount Royal Stadium Field in dominating fashion.
Sure the 2-1 victory against the Thompson Rivers WolfPack was special. Fourth-year vet Justin Anderon-Louch had come back after 392 days since tearing his ACL and other ligaments on opening day last year in 2018.
But the Cougars shook off their only sweep by redeeming their back-to-back losses with a sweep of their own after dumping the Trinity Western Spartans 5-0 on Sep. 22.
Not only was it a huge six-point weekend against B.C. opponents, the result also saw the first ever MRU men’s soccer hat trick as defender Travis MacPhee tallied three times during the win.
4. T-Wrecking the Dinos on opening day
Derby Day opened the 2019 Canada West campaign for the boys in blue as they hosted the Calgary Dinos to open their historic campaign.
Hanging a 5-0 ‘L’ on your city rival was important but also brought a feeling of school pride and excitement that couldn’t have started a soccer season any better.
Anderson-Louch says that as much as they’d like to, his team can’t ignore the rivalry between the Cougars and the Dinos. Winning the opening game “felt unreal,” he says.
3. The clinch
Oct. 3 marked the day the Cougars clinched the program’s first ever Canada West Prairie Division after blanking the Lethbridge Pronghorns 2-0 on the road.
MRU already held a vice-grip over the division sitting at 8-2-0 and even squeezed inside the USPORTS top 10 for the first time since 2016 the week prior.
The win brought epic memories. Another goal was checked off the list but plenty of work was still to come.
Sophomore and first-team Canada West forward Moe El Gandour recalls the feeling on route to the vital road game.
He says: “It finally set in that this game was going to be massive, not only to just gain three points, but this would clinch the Prairie Division for MRU for the first time ever while securing our spot in the playoffs.”
2. First playoff home game, birth of MRU Ultras
“I felt the season was very disappointing after a 3-0 loss to UBC in quarter nals where the program has never surpassed,” El Gandour notes.
This was it.
Four years of quarter-final exits came down to this program-defying moment when the Cougars hosted their first ever playoff game.
MRU hosted the TRU WolfPack for the second time this season but this fixture made a dent in the Cougars’ history as they came through with a 2-1 win on Oct. 26.
The atmosphere was nothing like the Mount Royal campus has ever experienced before. The gray skies were masked by blue smoke. Drums were beating in a rhythm the whole 90 minutes. Banners were impossible to miss and were waved and planted along the touchline all… game… long.
Every MRU dispossession, WolfPack turnover… any Cougar play and Wolfpack mistake brought an earth-moving reaction from the frozen bleachers, led by the debut of the MRU Ultras.
When the game-winning- goal was slapped into the net by Anderson-Louch, you can only dream of the MRU hopeful’s reaction as school history was made.
“I blacked out,” Anderson- Louch says after scoring the go-ahead goal against TRU.
“This win, this season, wasn’t just for us. It was for everyone involved around this team, for everyone who supported us this whole time.”
1. Dirty gold
The boys in blue representing MRU topped off their historic campaign by bringing home Mount Royal’s first ever Canada West medal after beating out the Saskatchewan Huskies 3-1 in Vancouver.
It marked Mount Royal’s first ever Canada West medal. “This season’s memories will be apart of MRU history. Being an athlete who helped that is something to be very proud of. I truly believe this bronze medal is the start of something special for this school and I’m truly proud to say I was apart of this success,” says El Gandour.
El Gandour adds: “We still understood that we can make history by winning a bronze medal in our final game of the season. We not only wanted to do this for the school, program,and coaching staff, but for each other who have fought tooth and nail to get to where we are.”