For the second consecutive season the No. 5 University of Toronto Varsity Blues men's soccer team has qualified for the U Sports national championship defeating the No. 3 Ryerson Rams 2-1 Sunday afternoon (Nov. 6) for OUA bronze. The championship berth marks the fifth for the Varsity Blues over the last eight years.
U of T opened the rivalry matchup with a huge offensive surge as midfielder Harry Michelis found fellow midfielder Yousef Helmy who swiftly delivered a left footed strike past the Rams goalkeeper to put the Blues ahead 1-0 in the 11th minute.
The offence continued for U of T in the 35th minute as a cross delivered to the far post was mishandled by the Rams and in the ensuing scramble the Russell Rodrigues secured a second goal for the Blues to take a 2-0 lead into the halftime break.
Ryerson made things interesting quickly picking up a set piece goal in the opening minutes of the second half cutting the U of T lead down to one, and with Helmy receiving his second yellow card of the match forcing the Blues to play with just 10 men from the 64 minute mark on, defence became crucial for the Blues.
With several spectacular saves and clearances from goalkeeper Mark Rogal and a back line fighting for every loose ball the Blues stymied the Rams through the final 20 minutes and once again eliminated their cross-town rivals from national championship contention.
The Varsity Blues will now head to Guelph, Ontario next weekend (Nov. 10-13) to challenge the best from across the country in the U Sports national championship. Seeding and a full schedule will be announced later this week.