Rocket Robin Report: June 24/25 – League1 Ontario

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Result and details of the Saturday June 24, 2017 League1 Ontario game between Aurora FC and North Mississauga Panthers played at Highland Park in Aurora at 9:00pm.

Aurora vs North Mississuaga. Photo by Robin Glover
Aurora vs North Mississuaga. Photo by Robin Glover

34 min…Panthers Andi Motina GOAL…NMP Sundin Esperance takes a long throw-in from the left and Motina recovers the ball at about 20 yards near the center. He has a first shot blocked but recovers a few steps to the right and shoots a low 18 yarder to the left corner of the net beyond sprawling goalie Nicholas Luciani.

Final Score:……Aurora FC…….0…….North Mississauga Panthers……1…

Attendance was about 30 for this late night game with thousands of mosquitoes. It was moved from Aurora’s regular venue at St Maximillion Kolbe HS because the school had booked an event before the schedule first came out a team official answered me. The Aurora women’s team was still playing Vaughan when I arrived. Vaughan won that game 2-1 to make it a miserable day for both Aurora L1O teams.

I didn’t expect to be here but the Master’s vs Sanjaxx game was postponed for a week and a half I suppose by request because Master’s had played a midweek Cup game on Wednesday. I hadn’t been to Highland Park since 2002–I believe watching York Region Shooters. This facility isn’t too far from their regular venue. It has natural grass, no scoreboard, and limiting parking. A clubhouse facility makes it hard to determine how many people were watching. Also the field looked like it sloped downhill to the west. I saw the last twenty minutes of the ladies game and it was played in the west end but that may have been because Aurora was pressing for a tying goal. It didn’t seem to be a factor in the men’s game.

Referee Kuizan Weekes gave out three Yellow cards (two to Aurora). Both coaches would have liked more cards–to their opponents of course! I know the officials consulted about the lights and now I realize that must have played a factor to how they managed the game. The game ended at 10:59pm at three minutes of added time and exactly one minute later the stadium lights went off! Must have been some city bylaw for an 11:00pm curfew. Some fans in the parking lot turned on their car headlights to help the players get off the field.

Roberto Custodio Caranzza earned the shutout for North Mississauga. He made a few key stops but was greatly aided by this defenders of Daniel Whyte, Mathew Monteiro, Tom Wrobel, and Sundin Esperance clearing a lot of balls into the box or blocking shots. Black numbers on red uniforms were especially difficult to see with the just adequate brightness of the stadium lights. (Thanks again to Andi Motina for stitching his goal together for my recap).

Panthers looked the more likely team to score to increase their lead in the second half. 51 minutes had AFC Frederic Ameyaw take a free kick from 28 yards after a teammate dummied and the goalie pushed the shot wide left of the post. 62 minutes had NMP Sundin Esperance take a corner kick from the left that had NMP Andi Motina head an 8 yarder just over the bar. 80 minutes had NMP Lee-Victor Massunda cross from 25 yards on the left and Motina headed a 10 yarder wide right. 90 minutes had NMP Mathew Monteiro recover a clearance and blast a 28 yarder from the left that the goalie palmed over the bar.

North Mississauga improves their record to 3 wins, 6 losses, 0 ties for 9 points and sixth place in the West. While there’s no playoffs except a one-off East-West championship game and there’s not much chance of getting to that game nearing the halfway mark of the season, Panthers won their second round L1O Cup match over Toronto FC III ten days ago to advance to the semi-finals of that competition. The North Miss women’s team won the inaugural L1O Cup for women in 2015.

Aurora’s record falls to 1 win, 7 losses, 1 tie for 4 points and seventh place out of eight in the East.

Results of the Sunday June 25, 2017 League1 Ontario game between Vaughan Azzurri and Windsor TFC Stars played at McNaughton Turf in Maple at 2:00pm.

Jarek Whiteman scores on the Penalty kick. Photo by Robin Glover.
Jarek Whiteman scores on the Penalty kick. Photo by Robin Glover.

18 min…WTS Damon Johnson-Holder pulls down VA Jahsua Mills after long run down left side and into box.  Referee Fabrizio Stasolla gives Johnson-Holder a Yellow card and awards VA a Penalty kick.

19 min…VA Jarek Whiteman GOAL…Whiteman rolls Penalty kick to left side of net as goalie Kyle Vizirakis dives right.

51 min…VA Jarek Whiteman GOAL…Whiteman recovers a poor goal kick and shoots 15 yarder from sharp right into right corner of net over
sliding goalie.

Final Score:….Vaughan Azzurri……2…..Windsor TFC Stars…..0…

Attendance was about 30 on this warm day that was mostly overcast with rain before the game, then again at 41 minutes which turned into a hail storm with thunder and lightning.  I measured a 38 minute halftime because of the 30 minute rule from the last strike of lightning. Fourth official Jason Thomas ordered the WTS players back to the dressing room just before the hail started.  It did make sense as they wouldn’t have all fit under the player’s bench canopy.  Photographer Martin Bazyl and I were cowering under the fourth official’s canopy.  He was taking pictures and making movies to upload to twitter.  During the second half the sun even came out!  The hail had melted before the second half started. The stones were about as big as chick peas.

Windsor was stalling the game officials during the warm ups delaying handing in their lineups.  No wonder as they had only eleven guys. By the time of the national anthems they had two guys to spare and finished with four extra players on the bench.  Their starters were flipped around with the two extra guys to use more of the players they wanted. Captain Stephen Ademolu was still tying his shoes during the national anthem.

Sure they ended up having enough guys and a moderate bench but the uncertainty must have left them rattled.  Ademolu told me at halftime that they were caught in traffic then he was almost hit by a car crossing the street (as the players dressing rooms are on the other side of McNaughton Road at the Maple Community Centre.  This would be a five hour drive on a good day…measure Detroit to Toronto in your atlas you out of province readers.  Must have been some car pool. Windsor are direct descendants of the league I followed before and they had trouble getting enough guys out for GTA games back then too.

Referee Fabrizio Stasolla gave out two Yellow cards to each team. He got hit with the ball twice that I saw.  He also called a break at 50 minutes on what he expected was a head injury as two players crashed together just on the edge of the Windsor box.  When he checked on their condition and found nothing was wrong he ordered a drop ball. Whiteman deliberately rolled the ball over the end line to give Windsor a goal kick.  Ok sounds fair.  Goalie Kyle Vizirakis then places the ball for a goalkick and goes short so WTS could work the ball out but what it looked like he kicked it straight to Whiteman who quickly stopped the ball and scored on a sharp angle shot. Whiteman had a few more chances to get a hat trick.

Colin Vance earned the shutout for Vaughan.  He had a few key saves to make.  WTS most threatening player was Noah Pio.  Azzurri have only allowed six goals in eight league games which is best in the league.

The thirty fans disappeared over halftime with the storm but a little more than half returned.  I noticed a guy wearing a K-W United windbreaker. I started talking about them and asked who he was.  It was Jared Brown! He was not on the PDL champions team but he said he is on this year’s team! I was thrown because I am following them on twitter and read they were on a road trip in Ohio this week but he said he’d just got back.  He was on the 2016 team that came to Toronto with only 11 guys for the first game of the year and beat the Toronto FC Academy 7-0 in TFC’s last year in PDL. I had forgotten until I looked up his bio that he is the goalie.

The win improves Vaughan’s record to 8 wins, 1 loss, 1 tie for 19 points and were third place in the East at the start of the day.

Windsor’s record falls to 2 wins, 3 losses, and 4 ties for 10 points and would stay in fifth place in the West and may even drop a place depending on other results.

Now for me it’s off to Woodbridge to see them play FC London.

Result and details of the Sunday June 25, 2017 League 1Ontario game between Woodbridge Strikers and FC London played at Vaughan Grove in Vaughan at 7:00pm.

Strikers Dylan Carreiro scores on this Penalty kick. Photo by Robin Glover.
Strikers Dylan Carreiro scores on this Penalty kick. Photo by Robin Glover.

24 min…FCL Elvir Gigolaj GOAL…FCL Sandro Rajkovic receives short forward pass at center line and runs down the middle but is caught by two retreating defenders and pushes pass to right for charging Gigolaj who continues run from 30 yard line and shoots 20 yarder from right into short right side of net past diving goalie Quillan Roberts.

52 min…FCL goalie Aaron McMurray slides at 10 yards near left end line that trips up a WS player. Referee Lukasz Kowalewski calls for a Penalty kick.

53 min…WS Dylan Carreiro GOAL…Carreiro shoots Penalty kick low to left corner of net under diving goalie.

Final Score:…..Woodbridge Strikers…..1….FC London…..1….

Attendance was about 200 on this warm and sunny evening. It still wasn’t dark by the time the game ended. I’d been at the Vaughan vs Windsor in the afternoon and fans went through a rain storm and hailstorm besides overcast and sun all within two hours so it was nice to have the weather stay consistent for two hours.

A lot of action after the tying goal although it could have been part of anywhere in the game. Woodbridge overall had more chances for the ninety minutes. 55 minutes had WS Milan Beader make a long run up the middle on a 2 on 1 rush and his low 22 yard shot was stopped point blank by the sprawling goalie at 15 yards. At 58 minutes FCL switched goalies with Anthony Sokalski replacing starter Aaron McMurray. It didn’t look like there was any injury for the swap. McMurray was more aggressive with him coming out up to 40 yards to make a clearance. 63 minutes had WS Christian Cavallini recover a ball on a defender tripping on his own and he passed to the right and WS Emmanuel Issac get an 18 yard shot that was stopped by the sprawling goalie at 6 yards in WS’s fourth chance in the five minutes since the switch. 76 minutes had FCL Elvir Gigolaj get a breakaway on the left from 35 yards but goalie Quillan Roberts slid at 15 yards and Gigolaj pushed the ball past him and ran to the end line to recover but by then a defender cut over to block his angle. 86 minutes had WS Dylan Carreiro take a 25 yard freekick down the middle that hit the underside of the cross bar and the goalie flew back and swatted it away. Injury time had WS Luca Baldassarre take a low 15 yarder up the middle that the goalie dove to save. Two minutes later Baldassarre jumped to pop a 12 yard header from the left over the bar. Nope..gonna be a tie tonight.

FC London brought a mid-size charter bus tonight. They not only had a full bench but it looked like they had about two or three extra guys watching from the stands. After watching the Windsor TFC Stars team get to the GTA today in what must have been the car pool from hell—an empty bench until just before game time, and almost two hours further away south west than the three hour plus drive from London, a bus is the better way to travel for long distance drives.

Referee Lukasz Kowalewski gave out two Yellow cards to each team plus awarding Shooters a Penalty kick. He also ejected manager John Scarlato from the Woodbridge bench right after giving a Yellow card to WS Dylan Carreiro at 35 minutes within a few yards of their bench so it must have been for some kind of dissent.

A large L1O sized crowd tonight was nice. There were a strange collection of hecklers. A group of player-age guys wearing Croatia garb. The checker patterns of the national team, club teams, and there could have even been Toronto Croatia gear were singing and laughing out for referee’s assistant Braeden Krampert but lucky for him he was on the far side of the field so wouldn’t be able to hear them well. Also a family group were heckling WS cornerback Quante Abbott-Hill-Smith on almost every play. It started to make sense later when they answered me they were here to cheer on Kyler Smalling who the father said was an ‘oh-one’–hmm that would make him age 15 or 16 and waiting to make his L1O debut. He was an unused sub.

**Late addition: I found some of my old reports and Braeden Krampert played for both Toronto Croatia and Hamilton Croatia in the 2009 and 2010 season so that may explain the ‘fans’.

It turns out that this game was a rematch from Wednesday night where these two teams playing here with Woodbridge winning a second round L1O Cup match by a 3-0 score. That would have been a strange evening as at the Ontario Soccer Centre which is only about four football fields away, Vaughan Azzurri (who usually play at McNaughton Turf about 25 km away) were beating Master’s FA Saints 6-1 with exactly the same starting time.

Woodbridge and Vaughan met in last year’s L1O Cup final. We are now down to the semi-finals so it could happen again. It can’t be for the league championship because both teams are in the ‘Eastern Conference’ although both are west of Yonge Street but they were divvied out this way when the league was organized to ensure two strong conferences.

Woodbridge’s record improves to 7 wins, 1 loss and now 1 tie for 22 points. That’s still good enough to hang on to first place in the East but they lose ground to Vaughan who closes to 19 points to a tie for second place (after beating Windsor) with North Toronto Nitros who lost earlier today.

FC London improve to 3 wins, 2 losses, 3 ties for 12 points for fourth place in the West but they have exactly half the points of first place Oakville Blue Devils at almost the halfway point of the season. Only playoffs are the first place teams in the East and West in a one game final for the championship.

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Robin Glover

Robin Glover

Robin has been writing about soccer in the Toronto area for message boards and his own website since the early 1990s in the days of 2400 baud modems to USENET sites. In the 2014 season he attended 76 games in various leagues that played in the GTA area. Follow Robin on Twitter and on his website

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