The Rustlers Men's Soccer team kicked off their season this weekend in Edmonton on Saturday against the King's University Eagles. The Rustlers would ultimately fall short to the Eagle's suffering a 0-2 loss to start the season.
The Rustlers are a young crew this year with 18 of their 22 players being in their rookie season. Head coach Kevin Wagner expressed his disappointment after the game as he felt the team "did not play to their potential." The Rustlers would maintain approximately 50% possession with the Eagles; however, they could not generate any scoring chances.
The Eagles would come out strong and score an early goal against the Rustlers in the sixth and 31st minute. The Rustlers would manage to fend off the Eagles for the remainder of the game, however, failing to get themselves on the scoreboard.
The Rustlers struggled with penalties throughout the game, receiving four yellow cards and one red card. First-year defender Stanley VanAsch would receive a red card late in the game and would be unable to play in Sunday's match.
On Sunday, the Rustlers would return home to challenge the Concordia Thunder. This is a change for the Rustlers as they are now a part of the North Division in the ACAC and face different opponents with completely different play styles. Up until this year, the Rustlers were a part of the ACAC South Division.
Sunday's game was an improvement from Saturday's game in Wagner's eyes as he felt the team performed better and "generated many chances but could not execute attacking in the third."
The Thunder would come out on top after a solo goal at the start of the second half in the 47th minute. The Rustlers didn't give the Thunder many scoring chances but when they did they capitalized. That's something the young Rustlers will have to learn quick if they want to put some wins on the board. Fourth year fullback Grant Skoretz had nothing but positive comments after the 0-2 weekend for the Rustlers. He stated that its all about a learning curve for the rookies "as college is very different from high school." Skoretz was pleased with the atmosphere and felt that the weekend was "a great step forward in the future."
Though it may seem that the results from the weekend were unfavourable for the Rustlers, they are all lessons learned, and it would appear that the young squad has a very bright future. A final quote from the head coach Wagner: "for a group of 18 rookies it was a good kick-off weekend, both well for out long-term success."