By Rob South
If Dinos Head Coach Andy Gibbs were to write a fairy tale about the two home losses the men’s soccer team accumulated this weekend, he would be sure to include the three blind mice as characters.
"This weekend we were playing against 12 men," said Gibbs about the refereeing. "Our stats at home of cards are way higher than on the road; you figure it out."
Just before the end of the first half of Saturday’s game against the University of Victoria, Dino defender J.P. "Meal-money" Khouri was red carded because of a slide tackle. Victoria went on to score two goals in the second half while the shortmanned Dinos could only muster one from Chris Maurer.
"I got up after the tackle and tried to get back into the play," said Khouri. "One of the players from the other team came and tapped me on the shoulder saying I had been red carded. It didn’t merit a red card."
However, the overall spirit of the team was high after the defeat. Star midfielder Brian Newmarch laughed off Khouri’s red card.
"Meal-money owes one for that," joked Newmarch. "He should have to buy the whole team dinner in Lethbridge."
Right now it appears likely that the Dinos will to play the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds in the Canada West semi-finals, which will be held in Lethbridge. With that in mind, Sunday’s game against UBC gave each team a chance to size each other up. The first half of play was evenly matched, with neither side getting any good scoring chances. The Dinos might have put a loose ball past the Thunderbirds at the end of the half, but the referee blew the whistle to stop play while there was still a scramble for possession in the UBC box.
"It was a terrible, stupid, idiotic call," blasted Gibbs.
In the second half the Thunderbirds took the play to the Dinos, scoring early during a scrum in front of the Dinos’ net. Calgary tried to roar back, but most of their shots sailed far wide of the mark. UBC sealed the game with a sensational free kick from midfielder Iain Shepard that bent up and over the wall of Dino defenders.
While he was heavily shadowed in the second half, Newmarch believes he knows how to change the Dinos’ fortunes should the two teams meet again.
"I can do better at drawing defenders away from the ball," said Newmarch.
Gibbs too feels the Dinos know how to beat UBC in the future. He is particularly optimistic because Lethbridge has a narrow field that lends itself to a long-ball style of play. Gibbs is also enthusiastic about the Dinos’ solid blend of experience and youth.
"It’s a very good mix," said Gibbs. "You like mixture because it keeps you competitive while still developing young talent."
The Dinos will know soon enough if their mix of talent can overcome UVic and UBC, arguably the two best teams in the nation, as the Canada West finals and semifinals take place in Lethbridge on Nov. 4-5.