Carleton, TMU rack up goals in Week 2 OUA men’s soccer takeaways

TORONTO, ON – Week two of OUA men’s soccer marked big returns and some more unexpected results. Most schools have played a few matches to this point, and the gap has started to widen from the top to the bottom of the pack. 

Regardless, there are instances where it doesn’t feel that large. For example, the Guelph Gryphons sit bottom of the OUA West, the caveat being they have two games in hand on most opponents. They’ll be sure to contend, which is why our vision of the contenders is still a bit foggy.

As always, do check out AC Lang’s articles for top-tier women’s coverage. Without further ado, here’s your recap of week two.

Match of the Week: Carleton Ravens 4-1 Queens Gaels (Sunday)

It was another instance of the Carleton Ravens warning the rest of the OUA that they are a contender for the title. That signal comes through a 4-1 win over the Queen’s Gaels at home this time. A free-kick brace by Luca Piccioli, swerving the ball around and over the wall, respectively, steals the show, but Carleton’s entire squad aided the cause.

Queen’s, without a doubt, pieced together some positive stretches, especially early in the second half, where a possession-based offence came out of half-time in control. They stopped playing Hail Mary long balls and moved up the pitch quicker by passing around midfield and working their way up through dribbles. 

Carleton employed a very high line led by Mouhammed Bouzidi, preventing Queens from playing those big passes up the pitch. You wouldn’t be wrong for thinking the Ravens could handle long balls, though, as the imposing back-line made quick work of any attacker looking to break it.

The red-hot Matthew Ciavarro, naturally, capitalized on some good Queen’s pressure and movements, heading home a brilliant cross in the opening stages of the second half. After that, Carleton woke up instead of the momentum ultimately shifting and played like they did in the first frame.

Make no mistake, the Gaels seemed alive and were able to put passes into the mixer without being picked off. It just came down to Moses Kafeero and the rest of the defenders immediately closing the gaps following the goal and instantly taking the ball away from Queen’s.

(Queen’s Gaels Athletics)

Carleton didn’t start to spring counters as a gameplan, but the switches in the direction of play benefitted them. They are incredibly fast, going down the left wing with both Anthony Domanicano and Piccioli had to have been a major headache for the visitors. They simply wouldn’t slow down, and Piccioli, playing as a central attacking midfielder as well, added dynamism down the middle of the pitch. 

Both were fouled relentlessly, seemingly gaining pace every time they went to ground. And who could blame Piccioli for getting some of that energy injected into him for every foul: he took those set-piece chances incredibly well.

Bouzidi’s goal, the icebreaker, set the tone early and was the crown jewel of Carleton’s early dominance both in possession and stretching the defence. It was Bouzidi who came out wide first, passing into the middle, then the ball was played through to the opposite flank for Raphael Garcia, who put in a grounded cross for Bouzidi to tap in. Carleton’s offensive bursts were defined by their players coming out of positions to fill others, and the flip-flopping dazzled Queens.

Piccioli gravitating out wide, only to be replaced in those deep pockets by Domanicano, then maybe Bouzidi helping out, demonstrated a well-oiled attacking corps that could be revamped game-to-game. Dewyn Viegas, a substitute, came through with an insurance goal late in the match with rocket from inside the box. It was a bit of a scramble, though in no means ugly. There is depth for Carleton, which is scary.

Everybody on Marcelo Plada’s side looked like they bought in to an offensive-heavy system where the priority is just getting the ball up the pitch. The defenders were doing all they could to knock the ball up the field, whether it was in one-on-one battles or long balls. The attackers’ formation switched, it is caught between Bouzidi at the top and then three midfielders working high up the field or Piccioli as the midfielder behind a front three. Either way, the flexibility is more than effective, and if Sunday was any glimpse of Carleton’s full capability, the OUA East will be fascinating to watch.

The next time we’ll see one of these teams in action will be Friday, when Queen’s looks to bounce back against the high-flying Ontario Tech Ridgebacks. After that, on Saturday, Carleton will host the struggling Nipissing Lakers.

OUA Headlines

  • There were goalfests around the province this week, but unfortunately, this was due to blowouts rather than high-tempo fixtures. The TMU Bold, after allegations of hazing made big news across the nation, returned emphatically with an 8-0 thrashing of Nippising. Reigning U SPORTS MVP Chris Campoli and Justin Santos led the way with five shots on goal combined, converting three of them for goals. Meanwhile, Campoli’s old school, Ontario Tech, handed out a beating to Laurentian. Maybe it’s their new school anthem doing the trick.
  • Going from Downsview to Downtown, the Toronto Varsity Blues have had a slow start to the campaign. Drawing Queen’s 3-3 and losing to Carleton 2-1, they had a prime opportunity to get back on track at home against a drained Nipissing. Although they won, it was narrow at 1-0, and you wonder what is going wrong for them; they need to turn the tide quickly, sitting fifth in the OUA East.

Canucks at School Player of the Week: Tyler Attardo, York Lions

A second week with strike partner Ronaldo Marshall didn’t quite go to plan in terms of the two playing off each other well, but with Attardo bagging a hat-trick, you can’t say it hasn’t been a complete failure. Marshall went down injured versus Waterloo in Thursday night’s fixture, but letting Attardo cook ended well.

Attardo is very good at receiving those long balls that York plays so often, and although they can be all over the place, Attardo is also a phenomenal dribbler down the left wing. Cutting into the box, his dribbles allow teammates to make run-ins and find space. More often than not, though, the final touch is his with three magnificent goals, including a great dribble around Warriors goalkeeper Lorin-Alexander Lopez.

Showing off a diverse skillset for another week, Attardo is quickly becoming a frontrunner for OUA Player of the Year. Yes, others had impressive goal contributions this week in blowout wins, but Attardo seemingly doing it all alone gives him the nod this week. The former Valour FC man is a step above the rest.

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