Gryphon soccer men shake off their finishing blues

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – Finishing problem? What finishing problem?

The Guelph Gryphons certainly didn’t look like a team that had a problem scoring goals and preserving leads as they ran to a 4-0 victory over the Laurier Golden Hawks in OUA men’s soccer league play Sunday at the Gryphon Soccer Complex.

“Today we looked like the team we are, which is – I keep calling them the Fab Four. It’s the new Beatlemania,” Gryphon coach Keith Mason said. “We’re very, very good going forward. We’ve got a lot of talent in that top four. Even when we make changes, the ones coming on are just as good so we’re very good in those areas. We’ve just got to get some people off the mark and get their confidence in finishing up and I think today will hopefully be the start of that.”

The Gryphs scored twice in each half in a game they dominated. Such was the amount of time they spent in the Laurier end that goalkeeper Ryan Collins didn’t make any saves in recording his first shutout of the season.

The win was Guelph’s first since their season-opening 2-0 win over the Windsor Lancers. Sandwiched between the wins were a 1-1 tie with the Western Mustangs and a 3-2 loss to the York Lions.

“To score four goals is always good and to finish it out is equally as good,” Mason said. “I asked before the game that we clean up a little bit in both boxes. We’ve created a lot of chances and haven’t put teams away, but today we did. We scored in open play three goals where we haven’t been doing it this year so the guys responded to that very well.”

Mason also wanted the Gryphs to concentrate on their defensive play, too.

“I asked them to be a bit more assured for 90 minutes in our own box because we’ve defended very, very well, but the York game and the Western game, a couple of mad moments and we end up getting one point out of six when we really should have had six out of six,” he said. “They were the two areas I asked them to improve upon today and I thought we did that so it’s a good day at the office.”

Jace Kotsopoulos scored twice, one on a penalty kick, and single goals were added by Johnson Amoo (the eventual game-winner in the ninth minute) and Atchu Silva. Mitch Lefebvre had an assist.

The Gryphs were looking forward to a bit of time away from the soccer field as Sunday’s was their eighth in 18 days including their four preseason matches.

“It’s been a very long and tiring stretch for the staff and for the players,” Mason said. “We all feel a little fatigued and we’re looking forward to our first day off since August 11th. We’ll get a day off (Monday) and Tuesday we’ll get back at it.”

The Gryphs are also into the part of the season where all games are scheduled to be played on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.

“Now we can have a week to sort of plan our building for next weekend,” Mason said. “It’s our first doubleheader (games on back-to-back days). It’s nice to get the break, but then we’re going into a doubleheader with two tough games – away to Brock on Saturday and home to Mac on Sunday. We’ve got a well-deserved rest (Monday) and we’ll get right back at it on Tuesday.”

The Gryphs are fourth in the West Division at 2-1-1. McMaster Marauders and York Lions are tied for first at 3-0-1 and the Waterloo Warriors are third at 3-1-0.

The Gryphs are to play at Brock Saturday at 3:15 p.m. and host McMaster 24 hours later at the Gryphon Soccer Complex.