UFV’s Nawaf Binsaleh goes up for a header during the Cascades men’s soccer home opener on Friday. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

UFV’s Nawaf Binsaleh goes up for a header during the Cascades men’s soccer home opener on Friday. (John Morrow/Abbotsford News)

VIDEO: UFV men’s soccer drop first two games

Cascades lose home opener to UBC, fall in Victoria to the Vikes

The UFV Cascades kept the UBC Thunderbirds at bay for nearly two-thirds of the game, but the reigning Canada West men’s soccer champs broke through offensively in the late going to claim a 2-0 victory on Friday evening in Abbotsford.

On the opening night of the Canada West regular season, the Thunderbirds – unanimously voted No. 1 in the CW preseason coaches’ poll – got second-half goals from Victory Shumbusho and Logan Chung to pull away from the host Cascades at MRC Sports Complex. UBC goalkeeper Jason Roberts made six saves for the clean sheet, while his UFV counterpart, true freshman Ethan Duggan, posted five saves in his CW debut.

“I was happy with our performance,” Cascades head coach Tom Lowndes said afterward. “We let them have a lot of the ball – that was part of the plan, and we looked to try and hit them in transition. I thought we caused problems.

“Were there times we had to weather the storm? Yes. But the most pleasing aspect for me was the way we stuck together – our attitude, our work rate, and our desire. I thought we were unlucky – we hit two posts, and we had two or three chances in the six-yard box we could have put away. I’m just happy with the overall performance tonight.”

At the half, UBC owned a 6-0 edge in corners and a 12-2 edge in shots, but Duggan and the Cascades were level on the scoreboard.

The T-Birds broke through in the 59th minute. Off a throw-in, Duggan came out to claim the ball, but it deflected off his fingertips and into the path of Shumbusho deep in the box, and he bicycle-kicked it into the empty net.

The Cascades surged at that point – Manpal Brar’s shot from the top of the box forced Roberts into a tough diving save, and moments later, Mikael Mainella hit the far post to Roberts’s right.

Chung made it 2-0 in the 81st. Mackenzie Cole threaded a pass across the box to Chung on the right, and he worked his way past a Cascades defender and fired a shot inside the far post.

The Cascades followed that up with a 2-0 loss to the Victoria Vikes in the provincial capital on Sunday.

Isaac Koch and Ian Whibley did the damage for the Vikes (2-0-0), scoring in the 56th and 64th minutes, respectively, as the UFV side fell to 0-2-0 on the season.

“Over the balance of the weekend, we’re probably a bit unlucky not to take any points,” Lowndes said. “We created in the first half for some spells today, but we weren’t very good in the second half. We were moving too direct, we didn’t play the way we can play.

“The game is made up of moments, and two moments have changed the game. It’s a tough place to come, and when you find yourself 1-0 down in certain circumstances, it’s tough. We didn’t deal with the adversity well, and it’s something we need to be better at.”

The Cascades look to get on track next weekend, as they visit Prince George for a pair of games vs. the UNBC Timberwolves (Friday, Aug. 30 at 6 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 1 at 1 p.m.).