Rocket Robin Report: June 30 – July 2 League1 Ontario

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Result and details of the Friday June 30, 2017 League1 Ontario game between
North Toronto Nitros and North Mississauga Panthers played at Varsity Stadium in Toronto at 8:30pm.

Panthers Bradley Fenton has just scored on this penalty kick at 10 minutes. Photo by Robin Glover.
Panthers Bradley Fenton has just scored on this penalty kick at 10 minutes. Photo by Robin Glover.

9 min…Panthers Bradley Fenton wins handball call as he breaks into Nitros box up middle and defender trying to hold him back has ball hit him in arm. Referee Scott Bowman calls Penalty kick.

10 min…Panthers Bradley Fenton GOAL…Fenton shoots Penalty kick low to left corner of net as goalie Mark Rogal dives right.

42 min…Nitros Harry Michelis GOAL…Nitros Jayden Doyle 30 yard freekick from right has charging Michelis head 6 yarder up middle between players just under bar past goalie Roberto Custodio Caranzza.

47 min…Nitros Nirun Sivananthan GOAL…Nitros Nikolay Saveliev kicks 30 yarder up middle that has Sivananthan in crowd of players flick header from 12 yards over goalie into top left side of net.

54 min…Panthers Andi Motina GOAL…Panthers Lee-Victor Massunda bashes way up right and taps pass forward to Motina at 20 yards on right and he rolls 15 yard shot through legs of sliding goalie.

71 min…Panthers Lee-Victor Massunda GOAL…Panthers Jordan Prescod on left rolls centering pass to Massunda who bumps with defender but gets by to get away 15 yard shot up middle to right side of net with goalie screened in middle.

89 min…Nitros Lukas MacNaughton wins Penalty kick with back to goal at 15 yards in middle when bumped over by defender just inside box.

90 min…Nitros Lukas MacNaughton GOAL…MacNaughton blasts low Penalty kick to left corner of net freezing goalie who shuffled to right.

94 min…game ends.

Final Score:..North Toronto Nitros….3…North Mississauga Panthers…..3..

Attendance was about 50 on this warm evening. The rain had stopped in the afternoon and didn’t start again until the game was over.

It was a very even game with chances going back and forth at both ends. Even the added time after the tying goal continued with end to end rushes by both teams. More accurate shooting could have had this game end 6-6.

Referee Scott Bowman gave out one Yellow card to each team as well as one Penalty kick for each.

Panthers wore white shirts with black numbers which were much easier to see than last week’s game with black numbers on red shirts (also they are one of the few teams with numbers on the front of their shorts). It was Nitros wearing black numbers on green shirts which were hard to see once they start to sweat. Good that by twenty minutes I can usually tell players apart by positioning, haircuts and shoe colours.

Nitros record improves to 6 wins, 2 losses, 2 ties for 20 points and is second in the East but they lose ground to Woodbridge Strikers who are two points ahead and have one game in hand which they will play Sunday.

Panthers record improves to 3 wins, 6 losses, 1 tie for 10 points and climb to a tie for fifth place in the West with Windsor who lost at home to Master’s FA Saints tonight.

Before the game there was a meeting of Toronto city Canada Premier League fans at the Duke of York pub. I left early so I could set up for the game but it turned out there were eight others that showed up. My thoughts (and they admitted it) are that they are months behind the organization of the Mississauga group trying for a CanPrem team. They haven’t agreed on a suggested name for the team, where the team should play, or even a name for the supporter’s group. Their debates, which I’m sure will continue. can be read on the Voyageurs message board. This meeting was promoted by podcaster Duane Rollins but he wasn’t here and then I read his tweets the rest of the night that he was at a birthday party. Anyway best thing for me is I ended a feud I had with David Bailey a few years ago. Most of them ended up coming to tonight’s game about a block away. The one’s I talked to after the game enjoyed it and were impressed by the caliber of play. I’ve always thought that maybe four or five players from the better teams might be drafted/given tryouts by the CanPrem teams when the league starts training camps.

Result and details of the Sunday July 2, 2017 League1 Ontario game between Vaughan Azzurri and Woodbridge Strikers played at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan at 4:00pm.

Sigma's Alex Halis chips freekick into box. Photo by Robin Glover.
Sigma’s Alex Halis chips freekick into box. Photo by Robin Glover.

18 min…Sigma Marcel Zajac GOAL…Sigma Kadell Thomas makes long run up right from center line including getting around VA Joseph Amato by stepping out of bounds and grabbing his arm as he steps back into play and getting to loose ball that stayed in bounds at 45 yard line and continuing upfield. He rolls pass from 25 yard line across to Sigma Alex Halis in middle and edge of box. Halis is cut off by retreating defender crossing his path but steers left to get away 10 yard shot that’s blocked by sliding goalie Colm Vance who trips him up. Zajac shoots in 12 yard rebound from left into center of net between three defenders on goal line.  (easy to believe that if a goal hadn’t been scored, a Penalty kick would have been given).

69 min…Vaughan Thomas Sklublak GOAL…VA Jarek Whiteman cross from 30 yards on right has Sigma defender on edge of 6 yard box head clearance forward to Sigma Arlic Ntabana on edge of 18 yard box in middle but VA Alexander Zis pokes ball away over to Sklublak who blasts 17 yarder up middle around goalie Triston Henry at 2 yards and into right side of net.

72 min…Sigma Faisal Ghaffur GOAL…Sigma Guliano Frano on run on left gets around sliding VA Devante Walker at 15 yards on far left and short centering cross falls to Ghaffur at 10 yards and his low shot is stopped by sprawling goalie on left side of net. Ghaffur steps forward to shoot 6 yard rebound over prone goalie into left side of net.

Final Score:….Vaughan Azzurri…….1…….Sigma FC…..2……

Attendance was about 90 on this warm afternoon after an early afternoon of rain and the sun came out in the second half. There was a strong gusty cross-field wind from the west throughout the whole game. This game was moved from the confines of McNaughton Field  23 km away and moved to two hours later to try and draw a large crowd and it was about double their usual crowd–maybe half Sigma supporters but the league had promoted this game hard. It turned out it is hard to get out a big crowd on a holiday weekend. TFC II had drawn a season low 156 last night at this stadium last night. The new rugby team Toronto Wolfpack drew 5 thousand downtown—down from 7 thousand other weeks.

Referee Alexis Vaughan gave out only two Yellow cards (one in each half to Sigma players). She also ordered a water break at 25 minutes and ejected Vaughan head coach Carmine Isacco at 80 minutes after much complaining throughout the game. He left the field then climbed a hill on the east side to continue to ‘watch’ the game maybe just signalling his players. Whispers in the crowd tracked his whereabouts. The hill is definitely outside the grounds and defending on the bylaws it may not even be part of the Ontario Soccer Centre property.

This was one game that could easily have finished in a tie as momentum 78 minutes onward was all Vaughan. It was one of those games where in portions the action was too fast to write down. VA Jarek Whiteman broke through defenders on a run up the left and cutting to the middle almost even with the left post and his 15 yard shot hit the left goalpost at 78 minutes. 82 minutes had VA Alexander Zis blast a shot from 15 yards that the flying goalie Triston Henry knocked down. Whiteman blasted the rebound from 8 yards down the middle that was deflected wide by the goalie. Henry had a few more routine stops to make as well as better protection from defenders blocking or at least deflecting VA shots in the box.

Sigma moves into first place in the Western Conference with today’s win with a record of 8 wins, 0 losses and 2 ties for 26 points. At this exact time in Oakville the first place Blue Devils (who held a one point advantage over Sigma) were being beaten 3-0 by Durham United.

I think this may be the year that Sigma wins the league. They have gotten off to 9-0-0 starts prior years but then at the end of July the migration of players starts for NCAA schools and by the time the season ends in October they are playing games with their high schoolers. Only two starters were younger than age 20. I’m guessing that anyone over 22 has likely finished school and are showcasing their skills for the upcoming Canadian Premier League which might start as early as next summer. You take six guys from Sigma, six from Vaughan in a similar situation, add six to eight foreign guys and some young guys who don’t care about schooling and you’ve got enough players for a team. (my comments made from what I’ve heard about the playing caliber the CanPrem will expect). Moving them up will also make room for those high schoolers to get first team time. Anyway, for this season it may be Sigma’s best chance with the older guys to win the West, win the championship game against the best in the East, then have a strong team to play in the early rounds of the Voyageurs Cup next spring as the CanPrem teams won’t have started.

Vaughan’s record falls to 6 wins, 2 losses, 1 tie for 19 points and are in third place in the East, six points behind (spoiler alert) as Woodbridge would pull further ahead in the game about the length of four football fields away that I would see about one hour after this game ended. Well let me get going!

Result and details of the Sunday July 2, 2017 League1 Ontario game between Woodbridge Strikers and Sanjaxx Lions played at Vaughan Grove in Woodbridge at 7:00pm.

Lions Kemar Rowe takes throw-in. Photo by Robin Glover.
Lions Kemar Rowe takes throw-in. Photo by Robin Glover.

11 min….Strikers Milan Beader GOAL…WS Christian Cavallini from 15 yards near right end line passes to Beader on right post and he shoots in 8 yarder to left side of net.

89 min…Strikers Luca Baldassarre GOAL…WS Michael Krzeminski at 40 yards rolls pass down middle and Baldassarre rolls 20 yard shot into right corner of net past diving goalie Nuno Goncalves.

Final Score:…..Woodbridge Strikers……2…..Sanjaxx Lions…..0….

Attendance was about 90 on this mild evening with the game ending before it got dark. That was about half of last week but attendance at games on the holiday weekend were low everywhere I went.

Woodbridge kept Sanjaxx in the game until the end because there was always a chance that the Lions would get a late equalizer although the ball was seldom within 35 yards on the Strikers goal through the entire second half.

Quillan Roberts earned the shutout for the Strikers with a few routine catches. I only remember one spectacular save and that was at 66 minutes when SJ Stefi Nikolic took a 33 yard freekick from the right that Roberts had to dive and push the ball wide right of the post. Lions have only scored nine goals all season and didn’t have many chances. The defenders blocked shots (tied for league best allowing only eight goals all year) and Roberts was aggressive coming to the edge of his box to pick up bouncers before any Lions could cause trouble.

Strange that I can say that both goals were scored by substitutes especially since the first one was at 11 minutes but that’s what happened as Milan Beader came into the game at 7 minutes after Francesco Sinopoli took a boot to the head on the ground on a slide to deflect a shot at just 45 seconds wide right of the post at 15 yards by SJ Samyr Oshin.

I dread watching the Lions, not because of their play but because they wear white numbers on yellow shirts and it makes it impossible to tell across field who has the ball or who took a shot even with binoculars. I’d seen some pictures from a game last month and they wore red shirts I thought and had heard they were getting new uniforms but they must have been just an alternative kit. It makes typing my more detailed play by play about impossible except to say “A guy at 30 yards passed to another guy in the middle and his 20 yard shot was wide”. It was the USA Olympic basketball team in 1988 who had white names on white uniforms so no superstar would be more important but there were only five guys on the floor at a time and it wasn’t hard to track Kobe Bryant etc. Doubtful that the fixed-focus YouTube video published later in the week will help me. Also the game sheet had a few guys who weren’t wearing the same numbers as they had listed.

In the crowd was the father of defender Kyler Smalling (age 15 or 16) who was an unused sub last week but this week made his league debut and played fine. He said his other ‘son’ was Ronaldo Marshall who subbed in at 74 minutes. To clarify he said he considers Marshall also his son as he’s coached both boys since they were eight.

Braeden Krampert was the referee tonight. He gave out only two Yellow cards—both to Sanjaxx players. He didn’t have any ‘hecklers/fans’ like last week when he ran the line as they must have been Croatian fans who came to watch the few players and coaching staff from FC London and remembered Krampert’s playing days.

The wins keeps Woodbridge in first place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 8 wins, 1 loss, 1 tie for 25 points.  They increase their lead over North Toronto Nitros to five points who managed a tie on Friday night against North Mississauga and six over Vaughan Azzurri who lost one hour before this game started.

Sanjaxx’s record falls to 1 win, 6 losses, 2 ties for 5 points and seventh place in the eight team West. They have only scored nine goals in nine games. Lions had won their last game two weeks ago against winless Toronto Skillz but then had last weekend’s game postponed away to Masters FA. That game will be made up this Wednesday night at 9:00pm but moved to Ontario Soccer Centre.

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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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