GSE chases playoff cup
Tier IV provincials a stepping stone towards winning the St. Albert Men's Soccer League
By: Jeff Hansen
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 06:00 am
ESA Complex – The championship contenders in the St. Albert Men’s Soccer League used last weekend’s Tier IV provincials as a tune-up for the playoffs.
GSE, ranked second in the SAMSL standings at 12-1-3, finished the provincial tournament with one win and three losses in round robin action.
“The league is what really matters to us,” said striker Brandon Kinley. “We came here knowing that we’re going to have a bunch of guys out of town with work commitments but we’ll have everyone ready to go for the playoffs.”
In Sunday’s semifinals GSE will play the winner of the group A playoff round at 1 p.m. at Riel Recreation Park. The final is Sept. 16.
The only team to give GSE a good game in league play was the Rummies (15-0-1). The teams battled to a 1-1 draw in June. The Tier IV provincial bronze medallists also handed GSE its only loss, 3-0 in July.
“The first game we tied them was an exceptional game. We should’ve won that game actually. It was just the same thing that has been plaguing us all year, a lack of guys because of work commitments. We never seem to have more than one or two subs a game,” Kinley said. “I don’t think it will be a problem if we make it to the final with them. We should be able to take it hands down.”
GSE tied for second in goals scored at 54, led by Terry Esposito’s 13 and Kinley’s 11.
“We’ve got some exceptionally strong midfielders who are great at making plays and a couple of strikers that can put the ball in the net,” Kinley said.
The second-year SAMSL team was also the second-best defensive squad with 17 against.
“We’ve got some of the smaller guys in the league on our defensive line but they’re also some of the strongest players in the league. It’s really difficult to get through our back line,” Kinley said.
The game plan for GSE is having fun.
“We have quite a few of our players who have all played together since we were 10, 12 years old. We’ve all branched off and now we’ve all come back together to play in the men’s league and have a good time together,” said Kinley, 20, a Paul Kane High School graduate.
Last year GSE qualified for provincials as one of the top SAMSL teams, but didn’t attend the Calgary competition because of a lack of numbers.
“We do a good job of showing up when we need to and qualifying for these big events but we have a small roster to start with so it really hurts us,” Kinley said.
This year a shortage of players contributed to the team’s losing record at provincials. GSE barely had 11 players in the 4-1 loss to Sportif FC to kick off the tournament. Logan Hordyski scored the lone goal.
“It was quite a good game. When we have a full line-up on the field like that, we’re great at moving the ball around,” Kinley said. “What really hurt us was our goalie getting a red card. We don’t have a backup goalie.”
Only eight players were available in the 12-2 drubbing by the Black Stars, despite some heroic netminding by Jarden Mujcinovic. Kinley tallied twice in the loss.
“I was really impressed with how everyone came out and gave it their all,” Kinley said.
The lone win for GSE was 5-4 over Grande Prairie. Tad Augustyn and Hordyski had two goals apiece and Mujcinovic also connected.
The last game was a 6-0 loss to the Kinosso Strikers.