Rocket Robin Report: May 27/28 League1 Ontario

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 Woodbridge Dylan Carreiro (16) dribbling near sideline. Photo by Robin Glover.
Woodbridge Dylan Carreiro (16) dribbling near sideline. Photo by Robin Glover.

Result and details of the Saturday May 27, 2017 League1 Ontario game between Aurora FC and Woodbridge Strikers played at St Maximillion Kolbe HS in Aurora at 7:00pm.

41 min…WS Luca Baldassarre GOAL…WS Christian Cavallini in middle rolls pass from 45 yards to Baldassarre who eludes sliding defender after another WS player slides and misses getting to the ball. Baldassarre’s low shot from 15 yards rolls into left side of net with goalie Nicholas Luciani already down in center of net.

57 min…AFC YELLOW card…Ali Sozeri earns it for swearing at the referee after AFC rush was flagged offside at WS 40 yard line. AFC RED card…Jackson Tooke earns a direct ejection from the referee for swearing at him.

Final Score:….Aurora FC……..0………Woodbridge Strikers……1….

Attendance was about 40 on this mild evening. It hadn’t got dark by the time the game ended just before 9:00pm.

Strikers goalie Quillan Roberts earned the shutout. He had three point blank saves to make in the first half. One of them was at 34 minutes when AFC Jordan Kalk eluded a defender and got away a 15 yard shot that the Roberts stopped and the two players plowed into each other. The ball popped up and an AFC player headed an 18 yarder towards the goal but there was a defender waiting on the line to chest the ball down and clear the ball before the whistle was blown for the trainer to come in and treat Roberts. I had been critical of Roberts last month against Masters FA as Roberts dropped or fumbled a few stops but that was the first game of the season and his first game on his new team played in the brutal cold.  He certainly was a lot more confident today.

AFC ended some of their own rushes with errant passes and retreating defenders catching up to them. AFC Jared Agyemang looked the best of the forwards as he was almost uncatchable.

Strikers could have made things easier if they were able to score a second goal after the sending off. They were though able to minimize the Aurora chances with defenders clearing most of the balls into the box or making key checks before Aurora got close to the box.

AFC goalie Nicholas Luciani had to be sharp to keep his team in the game. He made at least three diving saves to push the ball around the post. Strikers ‘strikers’ had problems with putting shots on target. Many shots were soared high over the net or wide if they were taken from outside the box.

Referee Fabrizio Stasolla gave out four Yellow and one Red card that I counted. They were all to AFC players.

The game was mostly open with rush after rush one way then the other but there were a few injuries. 60 minutes had AFC Jordan Kalk cramp up and he had to be subbed off. 67 minutes had AFC Michael Nitchov need to be replaced after being hurt and in injury time AFC Dylan Rennie blasted a shot that hit WS Joshua Paredes-Proctor square in the face only five yards away. The referee added five minutes of injury time to the second half.  Nitchov was carried back to the locker room by two teammates after the game.

Woodbridge improves to a perfect five wins in five games and first place in the Eastern Conference. They have only scored eight goals but have allowed only three. In the four years of L1O, Strikers have always led the league in ‘fewest goals conceded’.

Aurora’s record falls to 0 wins, 4 losses, 1 tie with 6 goals scored and 13 allowed. They are in seventh of eight teams in the East.

Here NMP Bradley Fenton takes a freekick in first half injury time. It sails high and wide right. Photo by Robin Glover.
Here NMP Bradley Fenton takes a freekick in first half injury time. It sails high and wide right. Photo by Robin Glover.

Result and details of the Sunday May 28, 2017 League1 Ontario game between Oakville Blue Devils and North Mississauga Panthers played at Sheridan College at 4:00pm.

14 min…OBD Logan Podrebarac GOAL…Podrebarac receives a cross from 28 yards on the left and shoots 20 yarder forward into left side of net past goalie Anthony Whyte.

Final Score:…Oakville Blue Devils…..1….North Mississauga Panthers…0…

Attendance was at least 300 on this warm and sunny day. I wanted to see this game as all the GTA games were around the same time so I’d only be able to get to one. I had expected from midweek weather reports that there’d be rain every day this week that I’d be glad of shelter in the covered stands. The stands today kept the burning sun off the fans and we didn’t need to squint. I didn’t get to this stadium last season so it was nice to see it again. Covered stands! That’s been a selling point for the last month on their tweets as the weather has been so wet. Only limit is their games have to be matinees because the field doesn’t have lights.

Referee Vladimir Makarov gave out only two Yellow cards, one to each team. I didn’t notice any deliberate dives to try for a Penalty call which was a pleasant surprise from some of the ‘pro’ games I saw highlights of last night. There were a few injuries but nothing too serious. The DJ plays ‘Theme From M*A*S*H’ whenever a trainer comes onto the field.

Matt George earned the shutout for Oakville. This would be his third of the season. He has played every minute of their five games so far and only allowed four goals. He made the move to the Blue Devils in the off season after playing for Woodbridge Strikers for the first three years of L1O. It was after he left that Strikers signed Quillan Roberts who earned a shutout last night against Aurora.

Blue Devils could have made it easier for themselves if they’d scored an insurance goal. They made a triple player switch at 56 minutes for more offence but they still couldn’t get one more goal.  Mathew Santos was one of them who scored two goals in the last ten minutes in their come from behind win over TFC III two weekends ago.

While OBD limited the NMP chances there was always the chance that NMP would get a last minute breakaway or Penalty kick. George had to make a punch up of a 25 yard freekick in a crowd of players at 90 minutes in the box and the play was whistled down before the ball landed. Injury time had him catch a cornerkick at 2 yards between a crowd of players.

Blue Devils have brothers ‘Mikeal Taylor McNamara’ who is the captain/midfielder and takes most of the corners and freekicks and ‘Julian Connor McNamara’ also playing midfield. I have been watching them since their PDL Toronto Lynx days. Oldest post by a quick search of my own archives was back in the 2008 season. Spelling combos of Mikeal, Taylor, and Konnor turn up different games. Connor/Konnor had retired a few years ago from what I’d heard at the time were head injuries/concussions but it is nice to see him back.  Their father Glenn McNamara is an assistant coach with the team. Head coach Duncan Wilde has been head coach with a one year interruption all the way back to 2004 when Lynx were in the A-League/USL. Previous Lynx coach from 1997 to 2003 was Peter Pinnizzotto who is current coach of Woodbridge Strikers!

Panthers had a brother combo of their own with Anthony Whyte in goal who made some big saves and defender Daniel Whyte. Anthony has played goal for Sigma FC in their L1O days and for the Guyana national team in 2015 and 2016. Anthony got into two games for Guyana in 2015.

Thanks for this tip to L1O chair Dino Rossi who thought he’d check out today’s action. He said he was surprised that the age of players of the league has averaged two years older than last year. He speculated that players are showcasing their skills this year waiting for a chance to jump to the CanPL league starting in 2018. That also lets him off the hook for the question I corner him with every year “Are there any professional players in the league?” Yes Matthew Srbely was announced earlier this year but he’s on some kind of TFC II USL/TFC III L1O hybrid contract. Some players make money working at the soccer camps and clinics. The CanPL will let L1O concentrate on being a development league for them. Ahh ha! That’s what I expected the year this league got started when I’m measuring the paid gates in the dozens for most teams. It wouldn’t be fair to charge parents of the youth players even more to pay a pro team. The older players moving on opens up roster spots for the younger players.

Oakville improves to a record of 4 wins, 1 loss, 0 ties for 12 points good for second place in the Western Conference. That’s four wins in a row for them after losing on opening weekend at home to Sigma FC who are in first place. Sigma slipped up today with ‘only’ a 3-3 tie against Windsor TFC and lead Oakville by one point at 4 wins, 0 losses, 1 tie.

North Mississauga falls to 1 win, 4 losses, 0 ties for 3 points and are now sixth place in the eight team West.

Both these teams play an L1O Cup first round game on Wednesday night. Oakville travel to Durham and North Mississauga host Windsor. Now this is the night TFC III play instead of last Wednesday when they had to lend players to USL TFC II for a matinee game because MLS TFC had borrowed about six guys for their Canadian Championship game in Ottawa the night before. Even though they didn’t use them all, TFC didn’t return to Toronto until 4:00am. …Anyway TFC III beat their rivals Sigma FC 1-0 to advance just two weeks after getting pummeled 4-1 in a league match with a full team.

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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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