Rocket Robin Report: Sept 16/17 League1 Ontario Match Reports

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Result and details for the Saturday September 16, 2017 League1 Ontario game between Sigma FC and Pro Stars Academy played at Hershey Centre in Mississauga at 4:00pm.

15 min…Sigma Giuliano Frano GOAL…Frano blasts 20 yarder down middle into top right corner of net past goalie Jonathan Albanese.

37 min…Sigma Daniel Jodah GOAL…Sigma Mansoor Alfazy sends in pass and Jodah skies 10 yarder from left into roof of net just under bar at top left corner.

Sigma Giuliano Frano blasts this freekick which hits head in wall and deflects into left corner of net. Photo by Robin Glover.
Sigma Giuliano Frano blasts this freekick which hits head in wall and
deflects into left corner of net. Photo by Robin Glover.

53 min…Sigma Jerome Smith GOAL…Jerome Smith makes short run on right and takes low 15 yard shot into left corner of net.

66 min…Sigma Giuliano Frano GOAL…Frano’s freekick from 30 yards up the middle hits head in player wall and deflects into left side of net just inside post with goalie frozen in center of net.

76 min…Sigma Jordan Kalonji GOAL…Sigma Kyle Walton takes long throw-in from right side and ball is headed down and Kalonji takes quick low blast up middle from 25 yards under diving goalie to left side of net.

85 min…Sigma Jordan Kalonji GOAL…Sigma Kadell Thomas rush on left and dribbles in to 20 yards and his shot is saved but the rebound pops forward for Kalonji to shoot low 15 yarder up middle to left side of net.

Final Score:….Sigma FC……..6…..Pro Stars Academy….0….

Attendance was about 60 on this hot, humid and sunny day. Before the game started referee Filip Dujic arranged for a water break in each half which looked appreciated by both teams.

The Hershey Field that was used was the northern one because the southern one that is closer to the dressing room is 50% torn up down one side for replacement. I was here a month ago when there was a tear in the 6 yard box and yellow duct tape was applied so the referee wouldn’t cancel a game. (North Mississauga Panthers men’s and women’s L1O teams also plays here). I’d ask why they couldn’t wait a month but an L1O official said it was the City of Mississauga who decided. Hmm. Yes better not turn that down or they may move on and spend the money somewhere else.

Sigma ground officials strung together what must have been 150 yards of extension cords to just reach the endzone fence. The music played OK but the PA announcements were an almost silent garble. I was able to put the subs together from the league website for my more detailed report. Sigma’s Jerome Smith replaced Jelani Smith at halftime so league tweets of ‘J Smith’ scoring at 53 minutes would confuse a lot of people.

The referee gave out three Yellow cards (two to Pro Stars) in a game that never got rough. Sigma were almost too fast to be caught holding onto the ball.

The Pro Stars lineup was thrown together about half hour before the match as team officials said they were still waiting for two more guys to get there. This is common practice for quite a few teams in the league. It just can hurt the game day cohesion. Most teams make late comers start on the bench.

Checking my own notes and I didn’t mark that Pro Stars got a shot at goal. That doesn’t mean a shot on net but not even a shot that was high or wide. That was only brought to my attention from an MLS game I heard about in midweek when New England playing nine men against eleven after two early Red cards, didn’t get a shot towards the Atlanta net. Pro Stars had one-pass too many or the ball poked away before they’d get away a shot. I saw one first half Pro Stars cornerkick that was quickly headed away just inside the box for the only thing near a scoring chance.

Triston Henry earned the shutout for Sigma. I’m sure he was ready for any challenge if Pro Stars had been able to get past defenders Johnny Grant, Jelani Smith, Dominic Samuel, and Kyle Walton.

Pro Stars had a midweek game (the third attempt to play this home game fixture against Toronto Skillz) and were beaten 5-0 on Wednesday night. Skillz are a struggling team in the Eastern Conference and I would have thought this was the game Pro Stars could win their first game of the year but Skillz have won three games in the last month so I wouldn’t have expected a different result.

I greeted Pro Stars goalie Jonathan Albanese before the game. It’s the first time I’d seen him since he didn’t have to wear a mask to protect a broken nose he picked up in a game I was at on July 8th.

Sigma’s Kadell Thomas had countless runs up the wing and sent numerous crosses into the box the entire game.

Jordan Kalonji proved most efficient for Sigma with the two last goals at 76 and 85 minutes considering he only subbed on when a water break ended at 71 minutes.

I hadn’t seen Sigma since the end of July so I asked after the game where was (ex MLS-TFC player) Mo Babouli. Coach Bobby Smyrniotis answered that he is away in Europe trying out. He wouldn’t narrow down to one country so it sounded like he’s got a few countries and teams in mind. I got a flashback to a bus holiday I had where it was a different country every second day and it’s hard to know where you are.

[Sunday Spoiler Alert: I’ve just returned from the Sunday night Woodbridge v Toronto Skillz game and Quillan Roberts wasn’t in the Strikers net. I asked an official and he answered that Roberts was trying out for a team in Nevada. USL? Yes. Hmm only one I know is the ‘Reno 1868’….Also I noticed on the L1O website that Chris Mannella was not in the Vaughan lineup so maybe that means good news for him from tryouts in Spain.]

I was at this game because I was ‘uninvited’ to a barbecue for TFC season ticket holders. We SSHs could apply but we were warned that space was limited. That’s two years in a row for me. I wasn’t too disappointed as I knew the MLS team was in Los Angeles and the USL team (TFC II) was in Harrisburg Pennsylvania and TFC III (this league) were playing tomorrow so I didn’t expect to see any players or coaches.

Sigma’s win improves their record to 13 wins, 1 loss, and 4 ties for 43 points. They are in second place in the Western Conference but five points behind leaders Oakville Blue Devils who play on Sunday afternoon.

Pro Stars record falls to 0 wins, 18 losses, 1 tie for 1 point. They are in eighth place in the eight team West. Their scoring record of 13 goals and their goals against of 79 are both the worst in the league.

Result and details of the Saturday September 16, 2017 League1 Ontario game between North Mississauga Panthers and FC London played at Hershey Centre in Mississauga at 8:00pm.

41 min…NMP Mujtaba Ameen GOAL…NMP Dale Cudmore takes long throw-in from right that bounces through box and ball is headed away but Ameen connects on a bicycle kick from 15 yards on left that flies into right side of net leaving goalie Anthony Sokalski no chance.

FC London players set up this late game freekick. Photo by Robin Glover.
FC London players set up this late game freekick. Photo by Robin Glover.

47 min…NMP Johnson Luyiga GOAL…Luyiga on second chance at shot lifts leg and gets high kick shot from 10 yards from left into right corner of net.

56 min…FCL Sandro Rajkovic GOAL…FCL Sean Fawsitt sends in cornerkick from right that player makes short pass from left and Rajkovic in center shoots 6 yarder up middle past goalie Adam Majer.

73 min…NMP Jordan Prescod GOAL…Prescod is fed pass from 30 yards by NMP Doryan Botelho and he runs towards goal on slight left and rolls ball from 15 yards past sliding goalie at 10 yards into net.

Final Score:…North Mississauga Panthers…..3…FC London…1…

Attendance was about 50 on this warm and humid night and the sun had already set. There was a 15 minute delay to the kickoff.

Referee Fabrizio Stasolla had a quiet night giving out no Yellow cards at all.

NMP had switched Jordan Prescod with Mujtaba Ameen as starting from their game sheet but it was all good as both players bookended goals tonight. Prescod came in at 55 minutes. They made their four other subs slowly within the last 15 minutes to tick away the clock. That bicycle kick goal by Ameen must be considered a candidate if not the winner for Goal of the Year!

This was only the third time this season I’ve seen FC London and they’re never been at their best. The first weekend of the season I saw them get beaten by Toronto FC III 6-0 and then near the end of June they had a respectable 1-1 tie with Woodbridge in a conference crossover game. Woodbridge is currently fighting for first in the East.

Tonight there were a number of reasons for their rather poor performance. They were late getting here. The bus had mechanical problems. So they threw the bus under the bus! They had at most a 20 minute warm up squeezing it in after NMP was sent back to their dressing room and the player parade before the national anthem. They only had three subs so they had limited options in making subs although they did work them all in. They had suspended players who couldn’t play. One of the best in the league Elvir Gigolaj (17 goals—second highest in L1O—out of after tonight 44 goals) and Ryan Baker were both listed as out. An official said they had injuries. I didn’t see Randy Ribeiro (who I remember from PDL Toronto Lynx days) so I suspect he was one. It appears Michael Marcoccia (he used to have a lifesize decal of his portrait on the team bus in London City CPSL days) who played a few early season matches has switched full time to coaching their women’s team. Another big reason for a depleted roster I was told was that University of Western played this afternoon and there are a number of players on that squad. Ouch. I know that effects Windsor with University of Windsor and Vaughan Azzurri with players away on nationally ranked York University including their coach Carmine Isacco who is also the school coach.

L1O All Star Aaron Schneebeli was at his best in the FCL midfield but he couldn’t carry the team by himself.

Some FCL team officials and players named some teenagers they’d brought but of course some team rosters in this league are almost all teenagers. The league has two kinds of game sheets. One has just a ‘Y’ or ‘N’ for U23 players and the other has year of birth which I like better. Tonight both team’s rosters were the Y/N listing. That listing does have enough room for suspended players. NMP had Nicolas Martinez on that listed as suspended.

FC London had just an outsiders’ chance of winning the Western Conference with Oakville Blue Devils 13 points ahead. London can inflict the pain too as their women’s team rolled up the score against Durham United 12-0 with Durham bringing a roster of 12 for a midweek game.

This game was also held at the Hershey Centre and was only two hours after the Sigma hosted game against ProStars. North Mississauga has their own canvasses they erect when Sigma took theirs down. Panthers solved the audio problems without a 150 yard network of extension cords with a portable generator and they had their sound system and an easy to see scoreboard right at the center line rather than just reaching the endzone. Crystal clear sound. I sit in the stands at this stadium after getting a copy of the game sheets so I didn’t have to put up with what sounded like a lawnmower engine powering their system.

The win improves the Panthers record to 9 wins, 9 losses, and 2 ties for 29 points. They are in fifth place in the eight team Western Conference.

The loss drops the FCL record to 10 wins, 4 losses, 5 ties for 35 points. They are tied for third place in the West with TFC III who play tomorrow against first place Oakville who lead the West with 48 points.

Result and details of the Sunday September 17, 2017 League1 Ontario game between Toronto FC III and Oakville Blue Devils played at KIA Training Centre at 1:00pm.

5 min…TFC Afram Gorgees is called for a hand ball on a long bouncer into box while trying to stop OBD Mathew Santos from connecting on shot. Referee Hassane Rifai calls for a Penalty kick.

6 min…OBD Filipe Vilela GOAL…Vilela sends low blast down the middle. Goalie Gianluca Catalano dives to left and ball deflects off his foot and pops up into center roof of net.

OBD Filipe Vilela (9) blasts this Penalty kick down the middle to give them an early lead. Photo by Robin Glover.
OBD Filipe Vilela (9) blasts this Penalty kick down the middle to give
them an early lead. Photo by Robin Glover.

18 min…TFC Cyrus Rollocks GOAL…TFC Josh Moreira at 50 yards rolls through ball pass to Rollocks on slight left who runs in from 35 yards and rolls ball from 20 yards under sliding goalie Matt George at 15 yards into right side of net.

21 min…TFC Daniel DaSilva GOAL…DaSilva receives short centering pass from TFC Steven Furlano and recovers off defender to take 15 yard roller into left corner of net.

Halftime: OBD Adrian Becic replaces the injured Matt George as goalie for the second half.

56 min…TFC Cyrus Rollocks GOAL…Rollocks receives through ball pass from TFC Daniel DaSilva on right running by defender at 28 yards and rolls 18 yarder past sliding goalie Adrain Becic at 10 yards into left corner of net.

86 min…OBD Stephen Ademolu GOAL…OBD Filipe Vilera cross from 20 yards on left has Ademolu make flying header from 7 yards in middle into right side of net.

93 min…OBD (TFC Noble Okello own goal) GOAL…OBD Mikeal Taylor McNamara takes 50 yard freekick from slight right that has TFC player head away just inside edge of box on right. OBD Braden Culver recovers at 28 yards on right and chips ball high into box. OBD Stephen Ademolu outjumps TFC Afram Gorgees to ball at 15 yards on right and heads towards goal and retreating Okello heads 8 yarder in middle over flying goalie at 2 yards into left corner of own net.

98 min…game ends.

Final Score:….Toronto FC III….3…Oakville Blue Devils….3….

Attendance was about 50 on this hot, humid and sunny day. The referee arranged a water break in each half. It looked like two in the second half but one was not official as players just ran to the sidelines as the trainer was working on the injured TFC Cyrus Rollocks six minutes earlier.

This game got rough in spots. There were a lot of injuries. There was a time at 79 minutes when two TFC players were injured about 40 yards apart on a continuation of a play downfield. Cyrus Rollocks was injured (second time today) after taking a shot deep in the OBD end and Daniel DaSilva was hurt earlier at the OBD 35 yard line. Rollocks rolled back onto the field of play from the end line so he couldn’t be ignored. Therapist Fabian Casal treated DaSilva first as the closest player but they both ended up being subbed out.

I only counted one Yellow card to each team but I saw the league website lists three to each team. I’m not that out of touch when I stand at the fourth official’s bench so I can only think that most of the remaining cards were given out for a post game dust-up as the teams were leaving the field. I usually come onto the field to ask the goalscorers to fill in the assists for me. Both team have to go through one door and down a corridor before reaching their dressing rooms. I heard second-hand about a challenge by a TFC player against an OBD player to meet in the parking lot for a fight.  Officials on OBD ended up holding their players back to let TFC leave first.

OBD had the strange situation of Saturday their two strikers faced off with Felipe Viela of George Brown College playing against Mathew Santos of Sheridan College.

TFC had signed three players to pro contracts earlier this week who have been TFC III mainstays from the start of the year. Defenders Julian Dunn-Johnson (actually now 11 games for TFC II) and Rocco Romeo both played 90 minutes for TFC II (USL) last night. Third player was Noble Okello who stayed with his team for today but had the own goal.

I spoke to OBD Stephen Ademolu before the game. I had noticed his name listed last week in a game report on the L1O website. He had played most of the season for Windsor TFC Stars and I thought he had finally become frustrated with those five hour drives by car pool to the GTA with maybe only nine or eleven teammates for these late season games. He said he actually lives in Windsor so now playing for Oakville he will have five hour drives for both away games AND home games. I suspect this is more of a chance for him to play for a winner. OBD manager Kim Ashton answered me that there was a roster freeze on September 1 but Ademolu was still on the OBD roster from last year but didn’t play for them because of injury. She said they reminded him of this fact when Windsor was in Oakville August 20. Yikes the L1O website lists an 11-0 OBD win against a 13 man team. Age 34 after a career in Europe, five national team appearances for Canada’s senior team, second division US teams, and years with Windsor in CPSL and L1O. Now was the time!

I was only inside the KIA complex after the game to fill in some assists (thanks guys!) that I didn’t get a chance to ask outside because of the dust-up.

I spoke after the game to Oakville goalie Matt George who had to be subbed out with a calf injury at halftime. We straightened up some dates. It was he who left Woodbridge Strikers before the season started to play for Oakville. His reasoning is he lives a lot nearer to Oakville. Well after the time he left Quillan Roberts signed for Woodbridge. (I was going to get a shock at news about Roberts tonight at the Woodbridge game!).

While on my way out through the main doors while the game commentator was using my notebook as a focus for his camera before filming an interview with OBD head coach Duncan Wilde, a bus arrived. I thought it might be for the OBD players and some of their fans milling about but it was the Toronto FC II players getting out. No charter jets for USL games in Pennsylvania! This is more the life of non MLS soccer players. TFC II had lost 2-1 to Harrisburg City Islanders and the players didn’t look too happy. That was their last road game of the year and they finish their season with three home games.

The result improves TFC’s record to 11 wins, 4 losses, 3 ties for 36 points and moves them up to third place in the Western Conference one point ahead of FC London who lost last night. Their 62 goals for is the most in the league.

Oakville improves to 16 wins, 2 losses, 1 tie for 49 points. This was their first tie of the year and they hold on to first place in the West with four games to go and are six points ahead
of second place Sigma FC who have one game in hand. Duncan Wilde said to the interviewer that today was expected as the toughest of the OBD remaining schedule.

I did a re-count of my attendance and realized that this game was my fiftieth League1 Ontario game of the season. Now the bad news from asking an L1O official is it appears the championship final will be held Sunday October 15 at Ontario Soccer Centre. The problem with that day is the Toronto FC MLS final home game of the regular season is the same day against Montreal Impact which should cut into attendance and bothers me for all the work I’ve done covering this league.

Result and details of the Sunday September 17, 2017 League1 Ontario game between Woodbridge Strikers vs Toronto Skillz FC played at Vaughan Grove in Woodbridge at 7:00pm.

8 min…Woodbridge Kyle Walton GOAL…WS Joshua Paredes-Procter takes cornerkick from right high and over to left and Walton heads in 5 yarder to short side between left post and goalie Lucas Birnstingl.

46 min…Woodbridge Marcos Nunes GOAL…Nunes 30 yard shot from left chips goalie at 10 yards and lands in right corner of net.

Skillz Anhr El-Eidani (27) takes opening kickoff. Photo by Robin Glover.
Skillz Anhr El-Eidani (27) takes opening kickoff. Photo by Robin Glover.

61 min…Woodbridge Isaiah Johnston GOAL…WS Christian Cavallini turns back to recover blocked shot at TS 22 yard line. He steps into box and rolls short pass to Johnston all alone at 12 yards on right. Johnston steps around sliding goalie at 7 yards and rolls ball down middle between retreating defenders into center of net.

73 min…Skillz Alejandro Rivas GOAL…TS Leslie Fitzpatrick takes 30 yard freekick from left by tapping ball to TS Justin Alvarez who shoots ball into box. The defenders only partially clear and Rivas shoots low 15 yarder to left side of net.

77 min…Woodbridge Luca Baldassarre GOAL…TS Leslie Fitzpatrick takes cornerkick from right that is cleared for a fast break.  WS Marcos Nunes makes long 70 yard run upfield and centers pass from left.  Baldassarre stops ball at 12 yards in center and shoots low jab into left corner of net.

Final Score:….Woodbridge Strikers…..4….Toronto Skillz…..1…..

Attendance was about 80 on this surprising hot and humid night (for this time of year).

Referee Alexis Vaughan gave out two Yellow cards (per L1O website, both to Skillz) and I only noticed one that wasn’t rough.  Woodbridge mostly kept the ball away from the Skillz players and there wasn’t much action within the Strikers 30 yard line.

Quante Abbott-Hill-Smith, Michael Fayehun, Joshua Paredes-Proctor, and Kyle Walton were the Strikers defenders on the club with the best defensive record in the league with only 18 games allowed in 19 league games. Fayehun was at the L1O game this afternoon between TFC III and Oakville acting as a photographer for the league. He started that after being injured in a game earlier this year.

Midfielder Oscar Cordon missed the game for Woodbridge through suspension.

Strikers goalie was Michael Scavone with Shafique Wilson as the backup. I asked a Strikers official after the game where was Quillan Roberts who had played all but one league game (of 18 until tonight). He said he was trying out in Nevada. Only team I know there is ‘Reno 1836’ and that’s at the USL level. A message board poster said the expansion team Las Vegas will play USL next year so it could be them. Other bloggers have been holding mock drafts for the CanPrem league (whose starting date now looks like it will be pushed back to 2019) and have Roberts being chosen number 1 at goaltender….but this is real life and a player has to make a living so I can understand why he’s moved on. Other mock draftees Mo Babouli of Sigma I asked about yesterday and he is in ‘Europe’ (not narrowed further) trying out and from looking at the Vaughan Azzurri linescore on the L1O website and not seeing Chris Mannella it may be that he received a recall from a club in Spain.

So League1 Ontario has to look at departures for tryouts and the later season return to NCAA and Ontario schools that effect the quality of their games. The answer to critics who say the league should wrap up by Labour Day (first Monday in September) was answered in the parking lot where a Woodbridge fan I call ‘Soccer Dad’ said “You know (goal scorer) Isaiah Johnston is only 15 years old!” Hmm we’d have never seen him get a chance if the college kids were still around.

Before the game I was talking to OSA president Ron Smale who was supervisor of the coin-toss tonight. I pointed out my problem with the proposed date of the L1O championship final. It is the same day as the TFC vs Montreal MLS game which is the final home date of the regular season for TFC. He said (they) have trouble with it too as OSA game officials are part of the referee/game officials appreciation day they’re holding at the TFC game. The night before is the TFC II final game of the season at Ontario Soccer Centre so it’s not a flip they can do.

After every Woodbridge game they play a few bars from ‘Feel The Vibe’ the old Afrika Bambaataa song so we heard that a lot tonight. They also play the same pop music as other stadiums so lots of Drake and The Weeknd but here we get the explicit versions of their songs which I find fun.

The win improves Woodbridge to a 13 win, 2 losses, 4 ties for 43 points and a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with Vaughan Azzurri who won earlier in today against North Toronto Nitros. Azzurri are actually listed first in the standings because they have won 14 games but Woodbridge has one game in hand with only three games to go!

Skillz record falls to 3 wins, 16 losses, 0 ties for 9 points. They are in seventh of eight teams in the East. Their three wins have come in just over the last month and has been enough to pass Aurora FC in the standings.

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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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