Rocket Robin Report: League1 Ontario Week 12 Match Reports

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Result and details of the League1 Ontario game of July 15, 2017 between Pro Stars FC and Vaughan Azzurri played at Avondale Stadium in Brampton at 11:30am.

15 min…VA Jarek Whiteman GOAL…VA player’s cornerkick from left is short and another VA player runs it along end line towards goal and taps out for Whiteman in middle to shoot 10 yarder through crowd of players into top left side of net.

Vaughan's Jarek Whiteman turns to begin run up sideline. Photo by Robin Glover.
Vaughan’s Jarek Whiteman turns to begin run up sideline. Photo by Robin Glover.

20 min…VA Jarek Whiteman GOAL…Whiteman dribbles down middle fending off checks and he shoots low 15 yarder into left side of net.

26 min…VA Dante Pavan GOAL…VA Joseph Amato on left chips pass forward from 40 yards for VA Mario Kovacevic on left and he crosses from 25 yards to middle where open Pavan rolls 12 yard shot into net.

41 min…Joseph De Chiara GOAL…VA Christopher Mannella makes a good hold up play against two defenders at 22 yards before passing off. VA Jarek Whiteman tangled with another defender on edge of box makes a backheel pass over to De Chiara in open at 15 yards and he shoots forward into net.

51 min…PS replace goalies with Zlad Noilaty replacing starter Justin Barrett.

59 min…VA replace goalie with Liam McQueenie replacing starter Andrew D’Souza.

64 min…VA Jarek Whiteman GOAL…VA Chris Mannella taps pass over to Whiteman in middle and he shoots 15 yarder into low left corner of net.

67 min…VA Jarek Whiteman GOAL…VA player taps pass forward up middle for charging Whiteman to shoot 15 yarder over sliding goalie into left side of net.

72 min…VA Aidan O’Hara GOAL…O’Hara 20 yard shot from left is over sprawling goalie at 8 yards and into right corner of net.

73 min…PS RED card…Jack Crawford earns it. Defender Crawford pulls over VA player from behind racing up middle at 22 yards. Referee Vladimir Makarov was going to award a freekick since it was just outside the box and pull out a Yellow card but he put it away. He must have been called to the sideline because after he talked with assistant Joshua Smith he ran back across the field and pulled out a Red card. From Smith’s angle he could tell Crawford was the last man back.

80 min…VA Jarek Whiteman GOAL…VA player dekes goalie at 15 yards but is forced left. PS defender Mohamed Alhilo slides and saves that player’s shot low 12 yard shot. Whiteman gets rebound at 18 yards on left and shoots over goalie at 6 yards and into right corner of net.

85 min…Pro Stars Adel Rahman GOAL…PS Kibwe Dyer rush down left on 2 on 1 and rolls pass across field at 30 yards and Rahman shoots low 22 yarder from right to left corner of net beyond diving goalie.

89 min…VA Jarek Whiteman GOAL…VA Jospeh Di Chiara chips pass from 45 yards on right that finds VA Aidan O’Hara open at 20 yards in middle. He dekes goalie at 8 yards and hits left post on shot and Whiteman coming in behind him gets shot between defenders into net.

90 min…VA Ryan Raposo GOAL…Raposo gets pass at 25 yards on right and bends low shot around diving goalie into left corner of net.

92 min…VA Jarek Whiteman GOAL…VA Ryan Raposo beats charging goalie to rescue ball on right end line. He crosses from 20 yards along line and Whiteman nods 5 yarder into open net as he and VA Aidan O’Hara were both waiting on left post.

Final Score:…..Pro Stars……..1……Vaughan Azzurri……..11…..

Attendance was about 40 on this hot and humid day. The game was played at ‘Avondale Stadium’–a location I’d known for years as Victoria Park in Brampton. The James F McCurry Victoria Park Arena— the hockey arena was heavily damaged in a fire over a year ago and is still not in use. The story I heard is it frazzled a lot of the electrical elements/controls in the stadium. I looked before the game started and the regular field has no grass on it, it looks like it’s been recently graded to re-sod. Thankfully the newly installed washrooms and dressing rooms are untouched. The game was played on what I knew was a practice field in past years but with a crowd of this size the few rows of seats were more than enough.  The grass looked great, It gave me a flashback to when I used to play golf. I saw City of Brampton trucks in the parking lot with their logo ‘Garden City’.  Very appropriate.

Well the game was somewhat like what I saw a week ago when Oakville dominated Toronto Skillz but that turned ugly with a bunch of ejections at only 5-0 and Oakville playing keep away. This game played out cooly. Vaughan cycled through their bench by 65 minutes including their goalie sub. I suppose the one player they could have subbed off was Jarek Whiteman but he played on. It’s hard to get upset when young Ryan Raposo gets into the game and scores and has his parents cheering. For guys like him and fellow ‘1999er’ Aidan O’Hara, it is a chance to play for the main squad and show what they can do.

The bigger L1O clubs are stockpiling guys who are waiting to make the jump to the new Canadian Premier league. That’s the reason I see 27 year old Whiteman still with Vaughan and ex TFC first teamer Chris Mannella finding a place on the team this year. I talked with John Zervos a team official with Sigma FC where I was later in the afternoon and he said the club will be just as happy when these players move on as it will make space for their younger players to move up the chain. (more details in a separate report on their game). Teams like Pro Stars will be better when these better teams peel off their older players to this new Canadian league and it can go back to teenagers against teenagers.

A lot of people don’t like uneven games like this yet every two weeks over 7000 are in downtown Toronto watching the new pro rugby team ‘Wolfpack’ beat some third division English club teams by never less than 60 points and it has extensive media coverage. Do you go to watch the Harlem  Globetrotters more than once a year?

Vaughan had just played Wednesday night in a League1 Cup match semi-final on the road to Durham United that went to Penalty kicks which Vaughan eventually won and today didn’t look any worse for wear. Officially today the spot on their roster for head coach was left blank but suspended Carmine Isacco was in the stands watching with the crowd like that player from French Guiana—nothing for him to worry about. Wednesday’s clinching Penalty kick taker Thomas Sklublak wasn’t on the roster (Sklublak scored six goals in an early round Cup game this season) and Isacco answered my question that all of the three Mills brothers were at an event. I’m going to assume having watched the guys on this roster for a few years now, the number that are still at school at York University is less than in other year and they will be hurt less when that school schedule starts.

Pro Stars split there goaltending between Justin Barrett and Zlad Noilaty. Neither was their first choice as I was at their game last week when goalie Jonathan Albanese deep in injury time slid to make a save in a reasonable 2-0 loss to Master’s FA and took the shot in his face. I received a bunch of retweets during the week where he asked if there was some kind of mask he could wear as he’d broken his nose!  A later tweet had him outfitted with something but I didn’t notice him at the game today.

Referee Vladimir Makarov gave out just one Yellow and one Red (both to Pro Stars) that I counted in a game that never got rough.

The sound system wasn’t working for much of the game and goals and subs were not being announced. I usually do a better job of filling in assists by asking the goal scorers but they were so many I’ll try to play back the game when it’s posted on the league site in a few days for my own site report. I had so many markings in my notes I wouldn’t even be sure what to ask Whiteman. He must now hold the record for most goals in a game in this fourth season league.  He was one of the first to leave and they gave him the cooler to lug back to the change-room about 300 yards away. Some reward!

Pro Stars record falls to 0 wins, 10 losses, 1 tie for 1 point and eighth (ie last) place in the Western Conference.

Vaughan has their record improve to 7 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie for 22 points and they jump from fourth to second in the East although those other teams will play later this weekend.

Result and details of the Saturday July 15, 2017 League1 Ontario game between Sigma FC and Ottawa South United Force played at Hershey Centre Field at 4:00pm.

10 min…Sigma Faisal Ghaffur GOAL…Sigma player takes 30 yard freekick from right forward to Sigma Molham Babouli and he rolls ball into 6 yard box past goalie Thomas Hatch who dove forward. Ghaffur is about the third guy to have a chance to pound ball from 2 yards between bunch of defenders on goal line.

Sigma Alex Halis (9) steps over this freekick allowing Kyle Walton to take it sending it into wall. Photo by Robin Glover.
Sigma Alex Halis (9) steps over this freekick allowing Kyle Walton to take it sending it into wall. Photo by Robin Glover.

16 min…OSUF Abdulraham Akinwande GOAL…OSUF Myles Cornwall long run on right and cross through 6 yard box that goalie Triston Henry dives forward on right side of net to get hand to but Akinwande pounds in 6 yard rebound down middle into open net.

27 min…Sigma Molham Babouli GOAL…Sigma Kadell Thomas holds off defender at 25 yards on left to get cross to Babouli who steps to right from middle and blasts 18 yarder into right side of net just inside post about 5 feet high.

77 min…Sigma Justin Stoddart GOAL…Sigma Jerome Smith pass from 60 yards through players to charging Stoddart who redirects ball from 20 yards behind sprawling goalie at 15 yards and ball bounces into open net.

91 min…Sigma Giuliano Frano GOAL…Sigma Molham Babouli fakes freekick and steps around ball and Frano blasts 30 yard freekick up the middle into top right corner of net. Wow!

Final Score:….Sigma FC……4……..Ottawa South United Force…1..

Attendance was about 150 on this hot and humid late afternoon.

Kadell Thomas look great for Sigma leading rushes up the wing.  Johnny Grant was as effective on the other wing. Defenders Jelani Smith, Faisal Ghaffur, Dominic Samuel, and Kyle Walton were a curtain around the box keeping OSUF chances mostly from distance. Frano’s freekick goal at the end was what Sebastian Giovinco would do for Toronto FC. The goalie was frozen to his spot.

Sigma was never comfortable until 77 minutes when they finally had a two goal cushion. Although they were limiting OSUF chances, if one of the few shots went in it was suddenly a tie game.

Referee Jason Vaillancourt gave out only three Yellow cards that I counted. (two to OSUF). He gave out one to Sigma Alex Halis and OSUF George-Anthony El-Asmar at 50 minutes when a shot by OSUF Stevan Andjelic that sailed over the net from 25 yards suddenly started a dust up. It ended up with about six players from each team pushing against each other. When Valencourt asked if those two wanted a second one it sure calmed down fast and there was no further trouble.

I spoke with Sigma team official John Zervos about recruiting Mo Babouli. It was similar to last year having Leaford Allen play with them and finish as their leading scorer then move on to Swedish Second Division side Tenhults IF on March 11, 2017. Allen at least had been seen by Sigma when they took him on one of their overseas tours. Zervos agreed that Babouli is here to showcase his talents for the new Canadian Premier League.

I notice that MLS Toronto FC signed a player from Liechtenstein to play on defense as of course there’s no CANADIAN player who can fill that role on short notice. Wow am I ever waiting for that new league to start!

I told Zervos about the 11-1 game I’d seen earlier in the day. Vaughan has a few older players similar in experience to Sigma.

He agreed that he will be glad when these older players move on to the new league as it will give their younger players a chance to move up the chain. That will make the smaller clubs more competitive as it will be back to teenagers playing teenagers.

I think this is the year that Sigma can go all in to try to win the league (L1O) as it will mean a berth in the Canadian Championship for the Voyageurs Cup. They have gone undefeated for a long stretch last year (nine games) but then a lot of their best players went back to NCAA schools and they finished the season with high-schoolers and their record faded. This year their more mature players will be able to stick with the team until the end of the season and should be starting in the Spring of 2018 when the first rounds of the Canadian Championships start. The new league wouldn’t be starting until the summer. Future years they will have to fight the new league in the early rounds and probably their best five to eight players may be divvied up between the new teams.

I hadn’t been to Hershey Centre this season but it looks unchanged from last year. North Mississauga Panthers also use this as a home ground and are playing tonight but the game was pushed back to 8:30pm and by now I’d seen two games so had reached my limit. The field is still on a flight path to a Pearson Airport runway but after a few planes fly overhead every third minute we learn to ignore it.

Sigma’s record improves to 10 wins, 0 losses, 2 ties for 32 points and they are first in the Western Conference. They are the only undefeated team in league play left this season.

OSUF’s record falls to 4 wins, 6 losses, 1 tie, for 13 points and they are in sixth place in the eight team East. In a planned quirk in the schedule, they are staying in the GTA and will play Windsor TFC tomorrow afternoon at Vaughan Grove (home of Woodbridge Strikers). Their head coach Traian Mateas said their all star (the L1O All Star game against the Quebec league is in town on Wednesday) has already left for school—that would be defender Justin Earle.

Windsor is in the GTA right now and at the same time were playing Aurora FC and won 6-1 that I read. Too bad this league doesn’t have a hotel sponsor but this is the only game this season that I see this happening. Windsor is five hours south west of Toronto and Ottawa is five hours north east of here so why not meet halfway in between?

Result and details of the Sunday July 16, 2017 League1 Ontario between Windsor TFC Stars and Ottawa South United Force played at Vaughan Grove in Woodbridge at 1:00pm.

OSUF goalie Cameron Cappelli has just pushed the Penalty kick from Windsor's Noah Pio wide right of the post. Photo by Robin Glover.
OSUF goalie Cameron Cappelli has just pushed the Penalty kick from Windsor’s Noah Pio wide right of the post. Photo by Robin Glover.

34 min…WS Noah Pio makes long run down left and eludes goalie but OSUF defender Rowan Martino-Hoilett stops him in the box. The referee gives Martino-Hoilett a Yellow card for elbowing and awards WS a Penalty kick.

35 min…WS Noah Pio shoots Penalty kick low to right and diving goalie Cameron Cappelli pushes ball wide right of post.

64 min…OSUF Abdulrahmjan Akinwande GOAL…OSUF Stefan Andjelic rolls ball from 35 yards in middle over to charging Akinwande on the left who runs in from 25 yards and rolls 18 yarder into right corner of net beating goalie Kyle Vizirakis.

78 min…OSUF RED card…Julian White earns his second Yellow card of the game for sliding tackle a on WS Kyle Ruggaber at OSUF 35 yard line injuring him.

Final Score:…Windsor TFC Stars…0..Ottawa South United Force…1…

Attendance was only about 15 which does set a new low point fan-wise but both these teams play their home games in their cities more than five hours away. There were a few GTA teams playing home games at near the same time and the clouds were threatening rain besides actually having a pre game rain and periods of rain during the game.

Both teams were in the Toronto area yesterday to play local teams yesterday afternoon and it’s the only time a L1O game will involve a team playing two days in a row. This game was scheduled like this at the start of the season. These two teams are the greatest distance apart in the whole league–probably at least ten hours apart—from the borders of Michigan and Quebec. It’s one reason they have a Western and Eastern conference even though most of the teams are in the GTA. Toronto was the perfect location for this game in respect to travel.

Both teams had played at the same time yesterday so it could be said that they were just as tired. Windsor had beaten Aurora 6-1 and Ottawa had lost to Sigma 4-1. This wasn’t a comment on the strength of Windsor vs Ottawa but of the caliber of the GTA opposition with Sigma still undefeated in league play. The records of Ottawa and Windsor are similar with both teams having won four times this season up to today.

The game played out somewhat like I thought when I saw the rosters. Windsor had only four possible subs including a back up goalie while OSUF had six. I figured Windsor would have to score early as they would tire as the game wore on and could be out-subbed (five in this league). OSUF played this masterfully bringing three new guys in at halftime to go along with one at 37 minutes because of an injury. With the action end to end counterattacking, this wore out the Windsor players late in the game.

Windsor’s best chance was of course the Penalty shot in the first half—score that and a more defensive approach may have worked. Windsor didn’t make their first sub until 74 minutes when they brought in Erik Cirovski wearing a face mask protecting his nose. They made one more change at 88 minutes which gives me the idea that their bench was really thin. They were given a boost when OSUF Julian White drew his second Yellow.

OSUF played a masterful job of hanging on from the time they went shorthanded. They survived what (my wristwatch time) looked like nine minutes of injury time. A series involving a short cornerkick in the WS corner followed by at least two short throw-ins just ate into the time. The OSUF goalie was injured in a collision with his own player during injury time and that allowed midfielder George-Anthony El-Asmar to run back from sometimes 40 yards away to take subsequent goalkicks because of the goalie’s limp although he did punt one downfield without a problem.

Cameron Cappelli earned the shutout for OSUF with a few key saves. Best save was at 26 minutes when WS Miguel Fontecha took a cornerkick from the right that WS Jamar Kelly headed from 12 yards on the left that the goalie palmed wide right of the net then survived a quick short cornerkick that Celso Carapau crossed in low and he was able to catch it on the post. 87 minutes had WS Noah Pio send a low cross from 30 yards on the far left and WS Christopher Al-Youssef rolled a weak 10 yarder that the diving goalie saved on the right post. Last injury time play had WS Erik Cirovski get to a long chip at 22 yards between two defenders but he rolled it forward for the goalie to smother.

The game got rough at times with referee Armando Pereira giving out seven Yellow cards (five to OSUF and two of those to the same player) besides awarding the Penalty kick. Players had to get used to a sliding tackle from eight yards away on the wet grass would carry enough force to bowl a player over. Weeee! With so few fans it was easy to here him direct players to make clean challenges and reasons why he wasn’t giving out even more cards.

I could see weather troubles coming so asked pregame to stand under the fourth official’s canopy. Then I could step in and out for photos and writing on my notebook (that’s not my computer but real pen and paper folks!). There was some overlap when it was raining yet the sun was out. The weather couldn’t have been as bad as Oakville where the game was delayed while being played because of lightning then eventually cancelled with Woodbridge holding a 1-0 lead.

OSUF has a medium size rental bus to get back home whereas Windsor players arrived by car pool I confirmed with a player after the game. I suppose both teams will feel it wasn’t a disaster as they both went one win, one loss over the weekend.

Windsor’s record (this was a ‘home’ game for them) falls to four wins, five losses, four ties for 16 points and are fifth of eight in the Western Conference.

OSUF’s record improves to five wins, five losses, one tie for 16 points and are sixth in the East.

Both teams are not well represented at the midweek All-Star game with L1O against the Quebec league. OSUF had defender Justin Earle named to the second team but the coach confirmed with yesterday that he’d already left the team for school. Windsor defender Jamar Kelly (who did play today) was also named to the second team. With 11 players on the first team and 23 listed to the second team, it would not surprise me that Jamar Kelly won’t make the ten hour round trip.

The All-Star game is scheduled for Wednesday night at 7:30pm at the Ontario Soccer Centre which is only about the length of three soccer fields away from today’s venue. Canadian Premier League exec Paul Beirne has promised to attend so every player will want to show well to impress to move up to this new league next year.

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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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