Rocket Robin Report: Masters FA Saints vs Durham United FA

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 Saturday October 7, 2017 League1 Ontario game between Masters FA Saints and Durham United played at L’Amoreaux Park in Scarborough at 3:30pm.

56 min…MFA Paul Antoine GOAL…Antone intercepts DUFA player’s clearance and fires 22 yard from left as he falls and sends ball into top right corner past goalie Peter Katsaras.

86 min…MFA Jose De Sousa GOAL…De Sousa is fed pass up the middle by MFA goalie Daniel Gosciniak for 40 yard breakaway and he runs up middle and rolls 20 yarder to right side of net with goalie sprawling in center. (while De Sousa and and about half his teammates go back to celebrate with their own goalie, DUFA players restart and MFA have to prevent something like an 8 v 3 rush).

Final Score:….Masters FA Saints…2…Durham United FA…0…

Attendance was about 50 on this warm sunny afternoon with a strong crossfield wind from the west.

Referee Hassane Rifai gave out only one Yellow card all game and that was actually ‘for language’ not for a pushing match after Kevin Dhillon of Masters was upended on a sliding tackle with ‘studs up’ he said. He got up on used most of the words from the George Carlin routine ‘Seven words you can’t say on television’ or Andy Kaufman and Jerry Lawler on David Letterman. Lots of freekicks but Rifai let the two teams play.

In a pregame ceremony a man in a wheelchair was brought out to take part in the coin-toss. It was the father of Master’s Patrick Beradi who is suffering from MS. After the game the players grouped together to walk to the stands to say goodbye to their fans for the season and made sure to thank the father.

Durham had only brought three subs and one of them was a backup goalie whom club officials warned the fourth official was an unlikely option to come in as a field player. Another player came later too late to be on the roster (so he was ineligible to play) but was given special permission to sit on the bench in a pinnie rather than have to sit in the crowd. I thought the lack of choice might tire the players out later in the game on this hot day (for this time of year) and players on both teams ran to the sideline at 67 minutes when there was an injury on the field—just what DUFA feared after they’d made their two planned subs within three minutes Cameron Brooks was injured but he played on after the trainer came out to help.

Daniel Gosciniak earned the shutout for Masters but he had a lot of help from his defence blocking shots or checking players off the ball and clearing. Best saves were at 14 minutes when DUFA Joseph Roccasalva sent in a cornerkick from the right that had DUFA Trevor Hill jump and deflect ball with his foot at 6 yards down the middle that Gosciniak dove to smother on the left post. 20 minutes had DUFA Tyrell Rayne run to the right end line and take a long cross that the goalie flew forward to punch away from a crowd of players. 29 minutes had Dylan Campbell take a 10 yard shot from the left that the goalie made a point blank save. 46 minutes had DUFA Joe Zupo take a 45 yard freekick down the middle that had Roccasalva flick a 10 yard header that the leaping goalie palmed over the net. DUFA really had no shots after 74 minutes.

Master’s could never really relax until that insurance goal at 86 minutes. They had so many chances to score but constantly blasted shots over the net in open play and freekicks. But given enough chances….. they eventually made some of them count.

Master’s started off with the only chances in the first 12 minutes then Durham had a good spell then chances evened out for both teams.

In one spell at the start of the second half Masters Jose De Sousa was centered a low cross and he blasted an 18 yarder well over the net. The next minute Master’s Joey Melo sent in a low cross from the left and De Sousa shot another 18 yarder over the net. Next minute had Masters Yasin Shahwan on a run down the right elude two defenders and shot a 15 yarder over the net. It’s one thing to complain about the MFA poor shooting but the point is they were getting all these chances and that would eventually pay off.

I was looking forward to seeing Masters one last time as I’d noticed on the L1O websites some familiar names in the last six weeks from years past.  Their coach Rick Titus must have the largest Rolodex in the city. I watched a ‘new’ player to the roster score the winning goal on a road trip to Ottawa. Easy to see as he was almost a foot taller than most of the players. Yes it was defender Marc Jankovic who I had watched over the years in the CPSL playing for Toronto Croatia until the end of 2013 when I made the switch to the start of the new L1O league. I spoke to Jankovic before the game and he said he played for Scarborough of the CSL this year. They lost in the final to York Region Shooters after extra time in a shootout. I noticed on the calendar that the game was held a few hours before the TFC vs Red Bulls game at Lamport Stadium about three blocks away from BMO Field. Because of the length of the game it overlapped the start of the MLS game. Jankovic said he signed with Masters in August but still played in both leagues and only missed one game. Titus said that the CSL is an unsanctioned league so there isn’t a problem. Some of ‘his guys’ were playing for the CSL at the start of this season before Titus was confirmed as the coach of Masters (making the move from North Mississauga who he coached last year).  Of course there are plenty of L1O players who also play for their schools (and many who are NOT permitted by their schools from doubling up). Another player who played for the CSL (at least until a few weeks ago) was forward Milos Scepanovic who played for Serbian White Eagles this season. I’d have liked to see them play on the same team after years of Croatia vs SWE but Scepanovic wasn’t here today. Those games were more the rivalry of the fans than the players in my opinion. Another player scratched from today’s preliminary lineup was Shawn Brown who spent time with both SWE and Croatia (and other teams) over the years.

This was the final game of the season for both teams. (22 league games)

Master’s record improves to 9 wins, 10 losses, 3 ties for 30 points. They finish fifth in the eight team Eastern Conference. After a poor start, the hiring of Titus early in the season and the bringing over of ‘his guys’ who were not playing with any L1O team brought a marked improvement to their results.  Their 2016 record was 3-17-2 for 11 points and last in the East.

Durham’s record drops to 11 wins, 8 losses, 3 ties for 36 points. That record is identical to North Toronto Nitros who travelled to Ottawa—game started 30 minutes ahead of this one—and NTN won 2-1 to catch them. Durham had beaten NTN last weekend. Durham gets ranked third in the East ahead of NTN because their goals plus/minus record was +24 which was 4 better than NTN.  Durham announced at their home game last week that they had never finished as high as third in prior seasons.

Now I’ve just got enough time to get up to Aurora for their game against Toronto Skillz!

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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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