Golden Bears draw with Lethbridge in home opener

Alberta and Lethbridge earn a 1-1 tie in Bears home-opener
Connor Hood | Sat Sep 2, 2017
EDMONTON - The University of Alberta Golden Bears soccer team earned a home-opening draw, leaving Foote Field with a 1-1 decision against the visiting Lethbridge Pronghorns on Saturday afternoon. 

Sophmore Bear Ajeej Sarkaria scored his third goal in as many games to start the 2017 Canada West season, while rookie forward Tyrell Thring scored his first career goal for the ‘Horns. 

The start of Saturday’s match was delayed due to poor field conditions, before being eventually moved to the artificial turf at Foote Field. The delay, however, had little effect on the home side, as Alberta opened the match strong in the opening minutes. Fifth-year striker Tolu Esan was turned aside early on a partial break in the fifth minute for Alberta’s first scoring chance, before ‘Horns keeper Nolan French made another key stop on Ivan Borka from in tight. 

Alberta’s persistence paid off in the 29th minute, as the reigning Canada West Player of the Year found the net with a fantastic left-footed shot into the bottom corner. 

Easily Lethbridge’s best chance of the first half came in the 42nd minute, however Stephen Primeau’s shot from inside the box was turned aside by a sprawling Connor James. 

The Golden Bears took their 1-0 lead into the second half, but couldn’t muster any noteworthy scoring chances, despite a massive lead in possession time. Any chance the Bears could muster was also turned aside by French, who made seven stops on Saturday. 

The Bears inability to capitalize came back to haunt them late in the second half, as Lethbridge was able to even the game at one in the 85th minute. Off a long throw-in from 35 yards out, Thring was able to find the loose ball in the Bears box, and slide a quick shot past James. 

The 2-0-1 Golden Bears will remain at home for their next match, as they host the Saskatchewan Huskies at Foote Field at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. Lethbridge (0-2-1), meanwhile, will remain in Edmonton and take on the MacEwan Griffins tomorrow.