Rocket Robin Report: Oakville Blue Devils vs Woodbridge Strikers

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 October 4, 2017 League1 Ontario game between Oakville Blue Devils and Woodbridge Strikers played at Bronte Athletic Park in Oakville at 8:00pm.

No scoring

Final Score:….Oakville Blue Devils…0…Woodbridge Strikers…0…

Attendance was about 75 on this mild night. The game had been preceded by a heavy downpour during the warmups which may have killed the walk up crowd. This stadium is used for late season and night games as Sheridan College doesn’t have lights.  I realized I had been here before back around 2005 to see an OBD game. Over the years I’ve forgotten the ‘Athletic’ in the title and thought of what is actually the provincial park (from childhood picnics in the 1960s) and that the apartment buildings had taken over while watching L1O web feeds.

Referee Braeden Krampert gave out only three Yellow cards (two to OBD) in a game more of quick passing then sliding tackles which may have been tempting on the wet field turf.

This game was hard fought for the first 80 minutes.

The shutouts were earned by Matt George for OBD and Quillan Roberts for Strikers. Both had to be sharp on a few saves but they were greatly aided by their defenders. Matt George was the Strikers goalie last season and I asked him a month ago why the change and his answer was he lived a lot closer to Oakville than Woodbridge. He made the move well before Quillan Roberts was signed.

Oakville used a back line of Victor Gallo, Christian Young (then Khodi Ellis from halftime), Julian Connor McNamara, and Al James. Strikers played Stephen Almeida, Quante Abbott-Hill-Smith, Kyle Watson, and Michael Krzeminski in the back.

Best chances were at 18 minutes when OBD Anthony Novak sent in a 28 yard cross from the left and a sliding OBD Filipe Vilela at 6 yards on the right post shoot well behind the net. Two minutes later OBD captain Taylor McNamara took a 40 yard freekick down the middle that dipped and hit the football upright just above and behind the soccer net. 25 minutes had WS Dylan Carreiro push a through ball pass to WS Christian Cavallini and his 12 yard low shot was saved by the sliding goalie and a defender cleared the rebound. 31 minutes had Carreiro take a 25 yard freekick had the goalie jump and two-fisted punch the ball away near the left post between a crowd of players. Two minutes later Taylor McNamara took a 40 yard freekick down the middle that had his brother Connor McNamara get control and hs 12 yard shot from the left was saved by the diving goalie. 41 minutes had OBD Mathew Santos had a low 18 yard blast saved by the sprawling goalie and the defender conceded a cornerkick to prevent a tap-in. Extra time had the OBD goalie clear the ball off WS Cavallini at 8 yards and the ball deflected just wide of the post. 66 minutes had the OBD goalie bat away a shot from 15 yards.

OBD Hitesh Joshi has a catapult two arms for getting away long throw-ins up to the 25 yard line right into the center of the box. Best chances for that were two throw-ins from the right with Stephen Ademolu playing just right of goal and getting away headers where at 70 minutes Roberts had to catch under the bar and at 74 minutes when Roberts to dive to the left post.

After 80 minutes something strange happened as both teams suddenly started playing ‘keep away’ in their own zones so as not to lose possession and the game. This was the final game of the regular season for both teams. Oakville led the West by six points over Sigma FC who have two games in hand. Woodbridge was tied with Vaughan Azzurri in the East who had finished their schedule on the weekend. A tie would give both teams the Conference championships!

After six guys passing around behind their own 35 yard line with maybe one or two players challenging the ball was hoofed upfield and the other team would do the same.

I could hear OBD head coach Duncan Wilde yell “…back to the halfway line”.

The fans attitude changed as well. Super Dad…(since I already used that name on a different father WS ‘Mr Marshall’ who was also here tonight waiting for his son Ronaldo or Isaiah Johnson whom he coached)…we’ll call him ‘Mr George’ changed from earlier in the game taunting “He’s got nothing” and “Where’s the card?” from 80 minutes became “Keep the ball”.  They cheered loudly after the game ended.

The players told the referee “We don’t need any extra time”. The ref stopped the game at exactly 90 minutes as he caught on to what was going on. I’ve seen 90 minute games this season to stop blowouts.

There was a rumour a week or so ago that if this was a nothing game (ie both teams had clinched) the coaches were talking about using their U21 rosters).

L1O officials seemed happy as they don’t have to schedule any tie breakers to decide the final teams. Now these two teams meet in the Final.

Only folks I can’t see happy with this are the Sigma FC and Vaughan Azzurri staff and players who still had a faint hope of tieing one of the teams. Also some keyboard warriors on the message boards who never get out to games anyway.

Hey I can say “I saw Oakville clinch the West and Woodbridge win the East in the same night!”. I wasn’t planning on being here but I expected this would be the last time I saw one of the finalists as the final is scheduled at the same day as the MLS Toronto FC vs Montreal Impact game (Sunday October 15) which will be the last TFC home game of the regular season and the presentation of the Shield for finishing first in the MLS regular season. L1O chairperson Dino Rossi told me they had scheduled the game for Saturday the 14 for Ontario Soccer Centre back in the spring but Toronto FC II bumped them as they have priority. That won’t happen next year as TFC II will play their games at BMO Field and Lamport Stadium. [Late news less than 24 hours after tonight’s game—the final has been moved to Friday October 20 at 7:30pm at the OSC].

This game was rescheduled from July 16 when it was rained out at half-time by a storm that lasted many hours. Strikers held a 1-0 lead on a goal by Emmanuel Issac. The game tonight was started from 0-0 and an entire 90 minutes was played (well OK 80 minutes of competition). The starting line ups that day were almost identical to today. I’d say that’s one reason for the two teams success because they didn’t have half their roster disappear for school. OBD has two of their strikers play for Southern Ontario colleges (not universities) and even played against each other a few weekends ago. Now the surprise that afternoon was I was at Vaughan Grove (Strikers home field) and was watching Ottawa SUF play Windsor TFC Stars (both teams were in the Toronto area that weekend to play GTA teams) ten hours apart so it was played here.

This is only the second League1 Ontario game I’ve seen this season that was scoreless (57 games). I saw July 30th Woodbridge host Toronto FC III as 0-0.

I asked Roberts after the game about his tryouts in Nevada. He said he was trying out with USL ‘Reno 1836’. It was after the transfer deadline so he is looking at being there for next season. I said he is always among the first in Can Prem fantasy drafts but for now he has to make a living and he agreed.

Both these teams have personnel here tonight from the departed Toronto Lynx. Peter Pinnozzotto (Woodbridge coach) was the first coach of the A-League team from 1977 to 2003 and Duncan Wilde (Oakville coach) 2004 and 2005 to 2014 including their switch over to the PDL league. Midfielder in the A-League days Shawn Faria introduced himself. He is a coach for the Blue Devils youth teams. I had thought TFC III’s Jordan Faria was somehow related to him but he was a student of his as Shawn is a school teacher. Former Lynx defender Marco Reda holds a similar position with Woodbridge. If Shawn has looked at his Wikipedia page he’d see that over half the links reference back to my webpage from my game reports or cut and paste news reports on my site.

I also connected the dots and asked the OBD media guy Pierce Lang. From Oakville! Soccer follower! Piercing blue eyes! Related to a former national team player? Yes he said he’s Kara’s older brother.

For me it was a 2+ hour drive through rush hour traffic. That pretty well seals it that I won’t be getting season tickets for the Hamilton franchise of the Canadian Premier League as I’d have to add another hour to leave enough time to get there for weeknight games.

Stevie Ademolu was a 58 minute sub for OBD and he has to drive five hours to get here as he lives in Windsor so don’t feel sorry for me. He’s age 34 and wants to go out a winner. Interesting that Strikers only sub was at 65 minutes when 15 year old Isaiah Johnston replaced Luca Baldassarre as a forward. Baldassarre wears a pair of 1950s style Clark Kent glasses off the field but on the field he plays in a sort of Clark Kent goggles.

Rossi also said the L1O winner WILL NOT be paired with the winner of the Quebec PLSQ–that is AS Blainville. I suspect that will mean those two teams will play NASL FC Edmonton and USL Ottawa Fury and the winners will play each other for the one semi-final spot against Toronto FC as the best of the three Canadian MLS teams.

This is the last game of the 22 game regular season for both teams.

Oakville Blue Devils finish with a record of 18 wins, 2 losses, and 2 ties for 56 points. They win the Western Conference. Sigma FC has two games to go but can’t catch them.

Woodbridge Strikers finish with a record of 15 wins, 2 losses, and 5 ties for 50 points. They finish one point ahead of Vaughan Azzurri who have also finished their schedule.

Strikers finish with a goals allowed of 18 which is the best in the league. Oakville has allowed 22 goals which is third best in the league for now although Sigma has allowed only 20 but has two games to play. In most goals scored, Vaughan leads the league with 75.

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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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