Rocket Robin Report: League1 Ontario vs PLSQ All-Stars

Editor’s Note: As Robin’s articles are originally published elsewhere and merely reprinted here, they are presented unedited. They are merely reformatted to improve the way they display on our site. NSXI takes no ownership or responsibility for the content, spelling, grammar or the opinions expressed below. 

Result and details of the Wednesday July 19, 2017 All Stars game between League1 Ontario and the Premier Ligue de Soccer du Quebec all star teams played at the Soccer Centre in Vaughan at 7:30pm.

42 min…L1O Giuliano Frano GOAL…L1O Dylan Carreiro takes cornerkick from left that has PLSQ goalie Gabard Fenelon swat forward to keep a L1O player from connecting on header. L1O Cristian Cavallini at 8 yards puts leg out and skies ball towards goal and defender heads off line while bumping with own goalie when ball drops down and his header is along left end line to 12 yards. L1O Jarek Whiteman is waiting and leaps and heads ball back to edge of 6 yard box and Frano kicks 6 yarder down middle over defender to top right corner of net with goalie who’d just got back up from left post trapped in middle.

Final Score:……League 1 Ontario……1…..Premier Ligue de Soccer du Quebec …..0…

Attendance was not announced but I’d estimate was at least 1000 to maybe 1200. This is better than the USL Toronto FC II games for all but their school day games. This was a great showing for a weeknight game. There were a lot of young male fans dressed in their jerseys or windbreakers from their soccer academies. I figured each team was consigned a number of tickets and did well to fill the place.

Referee Fabrizio Stasolla gave out no Yellow cards and called a water break in each half as the weather was at last cooling after a heat wave from earlier in the day.

There was a quality PA system with Ari Soroka who regularly announces at Oakville Blue Devils games calling out the numerous subs made during an All Star game. Four subs for each team at halftime alone!

The PLSQ players had a coach (bus) which would take them back (the driver estimated five hours). Of course now it’s not rush hour as it took me almost one hour just to cross halfway across Toronto to get here.

The PLSQ league is made up of seven teams mostly around Montreal with one near Quebec City and one in Gatineau (across the river from Ottawa Ontario). They had representatives from six of their teams but not the first place AS Blainville. Maybe a few of added players from that team may have swayed the result. They brought six subs which they had used by 55 minutes. One exception was at 85 minutes when they brought back on Sean Rosa who’d gone off at halftime but came back on to replace starter Mitchell Syla. Syla looked the most dangerous player for them with his crosses, cornerkicks, and shots.

League1 Ontario had announced 34 players as all-stars (a minimum of one from all 16 teams) but that was whittled down to a more manageable 23 the week before the game—also freezing out three of the also-ran teams. All players from their lineup got into the game (except for third goalie Gianluca Catalano from TFC III). 83 minutes Kembo Kibato replaced halftime sub Kadell Thomas for the only time a sub replaced a sub. Julian Dunn-Johnson from TFC III was the only first team all-star who didn’t make the game day roster but it wouldn’t surprise me that he will be with the USL TFC II on their trip to New York to play Red Bulls II on Friday night. He is only age 16 and has somewhat displaced TFC Brandon Aubrey who the team is trumpeting for 2017 Fans’ Choice USL Midseason Awards as Best Defender and Rookie of the Year. After Aubrey’s own goal against Harrisburg, Dunn-Johnson subbed in a few minutes later and hasn’t given his spot back yet!

I was expecting the Ontario side to win much more comfortably but with so many players taking the field and the fact that the players are scattered between so many teams, there were times where it looked like they’d never played together before, which was true except for a few practices. Passes were often mistimed and runs were not made after getting called offside a few times.

Vaughan Azzurri and undefeated Sigma FC were the best represented L1O teams with four players each.

The L1O team shutout was shared by starter Quillan Roberts from Woodbridge Strikers who made way for Triston Henry from Sigma at 62 minutes. I counted Roberts with having three 25 yard shots to save until the minute before he came off when he made a point blank save from 5 yards off PLSQ Mitchell Syla. Henry had four stops to make all from the 84th minute on.

Both goalies were greatly aided by their defenders who blocked or poked away all but that one shot attempt from inside the box.

It was somewhat appropriate that MVP of the game was announced as FC London defender Aaron Schneebeli. He was the only L1O player to play the full 90 minutes. Injury time found him doing the splits at 5 yards to clear a low cross sent into the box.

PLSQ goalies Gabard Fenelon played the first half and Horace Patient Sobze Zemo played the second.

I was watching from the stands by my choice so I’d have the sun at my back and could do my own photography. I did miss out on talking with any of the celebs or the new fan group. Jason Devos was there and Jim Brennan did the coin toss (although I realized later than may have been awkward as none of his Aurora FC players were in tonight’s game).

I did recognize PLSQ director Kambiz Ebadi from previous years. I asked him after the game if their league was noticing their rosters were being stocked with rather older players waiting for the start up of the new Canadian Premier League as soon as next year. His counterpart Dino Rossi in L1O and I have discussed that over the months. Yes he said that their mandate states each team has to have at least nine professionals on the team and he expects a lot of them will move along to the new league. That’s what I’ve heard about L1O too from execs and a few players.

Ron Smale, recently reelected president of the Ontario Soccer Association was handing out pins. I met other writers from the Northern Starting XI site before the game. Besides another one in the stands that will make four people rehashing the same story.

(Editor’s Note: Not all authors are covering the match, and those that are will be looking at different aspects.)

How good was the attendance? Although there was only one mobile concession stand operating tonight—doing BBQ (TFC II usually also brings in an ice-cream vendor), fans were saying the stand ran out of hot dog buns and change as they were given so many $20 bills.

There will be no November series to determine the best D3 caliber league in Canada between the best club teams in these two leagues. It was decided to wait until a possible matchup now that the Canadian Championships for the Voyageurs Cup will include the best L1O and PLSQ team qualifying for the competition next spring.

Tonight made the twenty-ninth L1O game I’ve attended so far this season.

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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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