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CMU Blazer Athletics

Men’s Soccer Welcomes Friendly Foe In Season Opener

It must feel like Christmas Eve for CMU Soccer Fans as a new MCAC season is just one sleep away and a big gift awaits on Matchday 1. When you reflect on the greatest Men's Soccer matches at CMU over the past decade, the marjority of your memories will trace back to the MCAC classics between the Blazers and USB. Those who scored goals against USB have become CMU legends and wins over the MCAC's most decorated Men's Soccer program, though rare, can be retold like a minute by minute match report by any player who was blessed enough to take part.

The first stage of the 2018 edition of the "Campus Classico" is wrapped with an interesting twist as each team will be missing a key member when they take the field on Sunday night at the Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex. New CMU head coach Anderson Pereira will have to wait to make his CMU coaching debut until next weekend at ACC in Brandon after he and USB All-Conference Midfielder Derek Mains were among the 18 players invited by Canada Soccer to attend the National Futsal Team Selection Camp this weekend in Gatineau, Quebec. Pereira's absense leaves assistant coaches Cesar Carvalho and Paulo Nonnenmacher caretaking for the Blazers in Sunday night's home opener.

Carvalho and Nonnenmacher will field a squad that returns five players of the eleven that started the 2017 MCAC Men's Soccer Semifinals last October; defenders Aidan Beckingham, Daniel McIntyre-Ridd and Robbie Friesen along with midfielders Ryan Jensen and Roy Miller, who is expected to dawn the captain's armband when CMU walk onto the John Scouras Field at the Ralph Cantafio Soccer Complex.

The Blazers will need to draw on the experience of these veteran defenders as they try to clamp down on slippery and ever-skillful sophomore USB winger Imani Bujiriri who hopes to recover some of the goals that have departed from the USB attack now that 2017 MCAC Most Valuable Player Yahia Chihab completed his fifth and final season, winning the ultimate prize in individual recognition from the conference along with the MCAC Championship Trophy. Returning to captain Les Rouges is classy third-year midfielder Vinessen Vadivelu who will do his best to add some punch for USB going forward this weekend, filling the shoes of the missing Mains.

CMU drew USB in their first meeting of 2017, one of an MCAC-record, six draws that the Blazers accumulated during their ten game regular season, to go with 2 wins and 2 defeats. Jaime Hamilton headed in the equalizer late in injury time to eek out a 2-2 result against 10-men USB at Memorial Park after goalkeeper Eric McMurray was dismissed by the referee midway through the second half during an altercation.

Les Rouges captured all three points in their second meeting of 2017, the winning goal coming courtesy of a Chihab free-kick from 30-yards that stunned the Blazers on their home field.

The Blazers will spend the majority of the month of September away from home as the MCAC schedule takes them away to ACC and Providence on September 15th and 16th followed by a series of critical cross-conference friendlies in Calgary on September 21st and 22nd against the ACAC's Ambrose Lions and SAIT Trojans.





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