Rocket Robin Report: Sanjaxx Lions vs Toronto FC III

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Result and details of the Sunday October 8, 2017 League1 Ontario between Sanjaxx Lions and Toronto FC III played at Monarch Park in Toronto at 2:00pm.

54 min…TFC Zakaria Abdi GOAL…TFC Jordan Faria rushes down right and sends short centering pass to TFC Riley Ferrazzo at 22 yards. He rolls pass into crowd of players and Abdi rolls in 8 yarder from left side of goal is into left corner of net past goalie Nuno Goncalves.

79 min…TFC Luca Petrasso GOAL…TFC Armando Caracciolo low cross from left from 22 yards has Petrasso blast low one-touch from 18 yards on right into left side of net.

85 min…Sanjaxx sub…Tayjon Campbell replaces Nuno Goncalves in goal. No injury that I saw. These two have platooned all year so I expect it was a celebration/reward for the season.

Final Score:…Sanjaxx Lions…0…Toronto FC III…2…

Attendance was about 40 on this mild and sunny day—a real surprise this late in the year.

Referee Adam Devenyi gave out one Yellow card to each team. I didn’t see when they happened or hear an announcement. First thing I noticed in the hallway before the game is Devenyi was the referee and I said “You again?” because I had seen them last night in the same position at the Aurora vs Toronto Skillz game. “Isn’t there a 24 hour rule?” I joked but he explained there was a rescheduling because today’s referee was sick who was the fourth official position last night. On the line was Cyrus Eshafi who was also on the line for the Masters vs Durham game yesterday afternoon.

I was surprised that Sanjaxx had another good effort two weeks in a row—this one even better. Last Sunday they took a Red card at the 2 minute mark and held off what turned out to the Western Conference winner, Oakville Blue Devils and held them to one goal for the first 70 minutes. I had notes about action today between 6 and 14 minutes where neither team were inside each other’s 30 yard lines.

Lions listed five subs available and made four during the game including the goalie. I don’t know if he was scratched off this list at the last minute but they never brought in Israel Perrin who was the player Red carded last week. [the MLS had a fiasco between Orlando and Dallas within the last two weeks regarding an ineligible player].

Lions have only scored 18 goals this season which is second worst in the league. ‘Goals against’ they are fifth worst but I feel it’s the lack of scoring that was their greatest limitation this season. Sanjaxx forwards were burned about four times in the first half on offsides.

Most of the last minutes of the game were played in the Sanjaxx end and sometimes that is the best strategy for preserving a lead. Gianluca Catalano earned the shutout for TFC. I credited him with two key saves. At 63 minutes SJ Tomas Ondras took a 20 yard shot from the left that had the goalie dive to the left and get a piece of and the ball spun over him but wide left of the post. 70 minutes had SJ Julio Carvalho runs down the right and cross from 20 yards and Catalano caught the ball in the middle of the box at 3 yards to prevent a tap-in on the left post. At the time a slip up would have tied the game for Sanjaxx.

I made sure after the game I congratulated TFC defender Noble Okello who was one of three TFC III players signed to the TFC II (USL) team last month. He made his debut as a substitute at the 70 minute mark on Friday night against Bethlehem Steel FC as a defender. Today he played the whole 90 minutes as captain on what I drew as defence on my initial lineup (which I sketch during the first ten minutes of every game) but I noticed he moved up and was all the way up to forward during part of the game. The other guys signed on September 15 were Rocco Romeo who played the whole 90 minutes today and Julian Dunn-Johnson who has ingrained himself as a starting defender on TFC II replacing high MLS draft choice Brandon Aubrey. Only potential problem I can see is Okello and Dunn-Johnson are both tall defenders and may be too similar—a criticism I’ve heard about TFC forwards Tosaint Ricketts and Jordan Hamilton rather than my joke about not playing two Canadian forwards at once.

I asked a TFC official before the game what happened on Thursday night when they were dismantled by Sigma FC 5-0 with all goals scored in the first half. He said Sigma jumped on them fast and that this could do the team some good for overconfidence.

Wednesday night had Oakville and Woodbridge play to a ‘convenient’ 0-0 tie thus insuring both teams would finish first in their conference. Sigma with two games to go could not make up the seven points. I think they took out their rage by thumping TFC then yesterday crushed Windsor TFC Stars 10-0 (well partially explained by Windsor bringing a roster of only 12 players to the GTA).

All the time I’ve been coming to this stadium I assumed Monarch Park was named after the royal family but the man videoing the game for the league—long time neighbourhood friend of mine and Voyageur Dave Bailey said it may be because of the butterflies in the area. Sure enough what I thought were orange coloured leaves falling off the trees for the season were the Monarch butterflies. Also if you listen to the games here it’s like every five minutes there’s a train going past behind the stadium. Dave could name whether it was a GO or VIA train without turning around by the engine noise.

This was the final game of the season for both games (22 league games). The field was taken over by women’s teams as today was also the last game for the L1O Women. Sanjaxx and Aurora played to a 1-1 tie.

Sanjaxx record falls to 4 wins, 15 losses, 3 ties for 15 points. They finish seventh place out of eight teams in the Western Conference.

TFC III improves their record to 14 wins, 5 losses, 3 ties for 45 points. That was third in the West behind Oakville and Sigma.

So that’s the end of the regular season. I expected this was my last game of the season because of scheduling conflict for the league championship final but that game has now been moved to Friday October 20 at the Ontario Soccer Centre at 7:30pm. If I can make that it will make it 62 L1O games I’ve attended 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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