Rocket Robin Report: Vaughan Azzurri vs Toronto Skillz

Result and details of the League1 Ontario game of Saturday May 6, 2017 between Vaughan Azzurri and Toronto Skillz played at McNaughton Turf in Maple at 4:00pm.

6 min…VA Mario Kovacevic GOAL…VA Jason Mills rolls ball forward from 15 yards in middle and Kovacevic has tap-in into center of net.

30 min…Skillz Liam Cox GOAL…VA defender is stripped of the ball at 22 yards by TS Mario Ramalno who taps pass to Cox who pokes 8 yard shot forward into right side of net.

42 min…VA Jarek Whiteman GOAL…VA Devante Walker rushes down right wing and crosses from 25 yards near end line. Whiteman charges forward to leap over defender and head ball from 10 yards that deflects in off underside of bar into net.

46 min (first half)…Skillz Mario Ramalno GOAL…Ramalno and another Skillz player strip VA goalie Daniel Gosciniak of ball and Ramalno chips 8 yarder into empty net.

78 min…VA Jarek Whiteman GOAL…VA Dena Iezady is centered pass from low cross from left and he blasts 28 yard roller that goalie Lucas Birnstingl dives to save but spills rebound and charging Whiteman shoots 7 yarder over him into net.

Final Score:Vaughan Azzurri……..3………Toronto Skillz……..2….

Attendance was about 30. Vaughan is not known for having big crowds but today’s weather was brutal. Last weekend I said it was very cold and windy so this weekend just repeat that weather and add an almost constant drizzle for we’re in the middle of four days of this weather. Parkas were worn by everyone in this second weekend of May. The crowd only swelled at halftime when Vaughan 2005 Boys team played a mini game between the 40 yard lines and that brought them and an entourage of parents. After their demo was over they disappeared. I crossed the field to stand under the fourth official’s canopy for the second half for some shelter.

Skillz did not have a passable record last year and were beaten in their opening game last weekend 5-1 by North Toronto Nitros but played well enough today that I thought they might hang on for a tie.

Skillz used a high press which was very successful against the 2016 L1O champions. There was a lot of pressure placed on the Azzurri defenders. Azzurri head coach Carmine Isacco was constantly yelling for his upfield players to come back and help out the defence. There were a few times when one defender had to make a key block or a Skillz forward would be sent in on a breakaway. It will be interesting to see if Skillz uses this tacticagain against a team not as good as Vaughan.

Skillz switched Liam Cox to a starter on their game sheet replacing Nicholas Goddard. Goddard’s been followed by me for a long time as I searched to find he was with Toronto Croatia in 2009 and Milltown FC in 2010. In League1 Ontario he was with Durham United in 2014 in the league’s inaugural year and since 2015 he’s been with Masters.

Vaughan has returning all three of the Mills brothers, defender/captain Joseph Amato, strikers Mario Kovacevic and Jarek Whiteman and now ex-TFC system midfielder Christopher Mannella who was the first League1 Ontario ‘Young Player of the Year’ in 2014 when he was with TFC Academy and the league mispelled his name when they engraved the plaque on the trophy. He was playing as a defensive midfielder for this game.

Overall it looks like their roster is now completely independent of the York University roster from past years where they had some players dividing their time between the two squads.

Referee Scott Bowman gave out only two Yellow cards (one was in injury time for the Azzurri goalie for time-wasting) in a game that was more wide open then rough.

It was sometime during this game that I found out the new cross Canada division 1 soccer league had been approved so inside I felt just a little warmer so I could cover this game instead of groaning about the never-ending rain ruining my notebook. This could turn out to be one of those “Where you were when John F Kennedy was shot” moments.  (my answer: home after morning kindergarten).

While asking Jarek Whiteman to help me fill in an assist on one of his goals I said I’d just heard about the CanPL and asked if he would consider playing for them. Yes was his response to that and my follow up question ‘even if it was anywhere?’  I asked and I added if it was for a living wage. I always think of him when I think of the players for this league.  He is either 26 or will just be turning 26 this year.  A scoring day like today should see him go high in the draft (if there is one) or be invited to tryouts if that’s the way they fill up their rosters. I’ve watched him play since the first year of TFC Academy in 2008 followed by years on other CSL teams and the PDL with K-W United and the most recent years of League1 Ontario.

OK now pack up, with a detour home to pick up a new dry notebook and off to Scarborough to see the 9:00pm starting Masters FA Saints vs Ottawa South United Force game.

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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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