It’s been a busy 12 days for the Sigma, and much like the recent weather here in Toronto, it’s been full of ups and downs. Playing 3 games with varying results and performances, a mid-week cup game, a long journey out west and the 2017 home opener in the Mississauga derby. The Classiceh? ……has that been done before?
Let’s do this in chronological order and start with the loss to TFC III. Sigma looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable on the ball, and seemed to be playing more long balls over the top, maybe trying to exploit the pace of Thomas on the left. TFC appeared to put more pressure on the Sigma players when they were in possession and seemed to play defensively looking to use the pace of the forwards hitting them quickly. This tactic worked a lot better for TFC than Sigma who created a lot more chances.
The main thing I will talk about, is the obvious talking point. The goal. I’m still confused…. I wasn’t there at the game but have re-watched the goal numerous times online and still can’t work out what the decision was. I hope the ref explained it to the players/coaches as everyone looked befuddled other than the TFC team. The ref appeared to whistle for a free kick on Zajac near the centre circle, both teams seemed to set up for the freekick , but the ref then picked up the ball and played a drop ball 10 yards nearer the Sigma goal. TFC took immediate advantage and capitalized on Sigma players oblivious to the situation expecting themselves to have possession and out of position. The ball was slipped through to Rollocks who was pretty much alone through on goal with Sigma players chasing him down as he slipped it past Henry in goal. Que the protests from Sigma players, coaches and fans. There may be an explanation for this but I don’t know what it is.
Sigma had chances late on in the game to level but couldn’t find the net and it ended in a disappointing loss. The first of the season and means that Sigma have gone out in the first round of the League1 Cup for both of the last two years, which is when it changed to a purely knockout competition.
The Draw 0-1-1
Disclaimer: I haven’t watched this game. Windsor is a long way to go when you don’t own a car and the league never uploaded the video of this game online.
Another disappointing result for Sigma. Maybe they were tired from playing a tough game mid-week, maybe the long journey out west played a factor. It didn’t seem to matter for the first hour of the game when the exciting Kadell Thomas scored a hat trick seemingly to keep Sigma’s 100% winning record in the league up and take his tally to 6 goals in 3 games (does the scorer keep the hat trick ball at this level?).
I can only assume some complacency came into play at this point. I had seen it to a certain extent in previous games which they had got away with by scoring more themselves but they couldn’t keep that up forever so hopefully Sigma can learn from this going forward. Windsor TFC showed good mental strength to get back into this though against this strong Sigma team. Top scorer Carapau got his 6th goal of the season as well, to tie the game in the 87th minute.
And so we come to the final game, the home opener against local rivals North Mississauga Panthers (NMP), as you would expect it was a good turn out with maybe 150-200 people in attendance to watch this game. This is a team that Sigma should really be looking to beat, with NMP only with 1 win and 5 losses this season. But NMP looked just as good as Sigma in this game, with some tricky players causing Sigma problems all game. Sigma again were uncharacteristic from what I have seen all season to this point, they were missing a lot of passes, making mistakes and NMP probably had the better of the chances for the most part of the game. Sigma would sometimes look good until they got into the final third when on too many occasions the final pass was too heavy, or too light and easily cleared by NMP, who defended well in numbers. I’ve noticed this in previous games, like against ProStars and Sanjaxx – despite scoring 10 goals in those games, there were large periods where they seemed to be trying to score the perfect goal and wasting opportunities in the end, as they were not able to capitalize on the pressure and possession they had.
Sigma were lucky to go ahead in this game and it probably came from the best bit of football on the day in the 58th minute, with left back Smith moving forward with the ball, passing it central to substitute Halis who quickly turned the defender with one touch and with the second played in the speedy Zajac who was clean through on goal before the NMP defender lunged in and completely took out the attacker, earning Sigma a penalty and himself a yellow card. Captain Giuliano Frano stepped up as he had against Oakville in the first game of the season and sent the keeper the wrong way with his penalty.
Just 5 minutes later NMP were back in it, with a deserved equalizer. Frano dived into a challenge in the midfield leading to a freekick. A good delivery into the box was headed back across goal for Prescord alone in the centre to head past Henry who didn’t have a chance. He let the defense know how he felt about their defending after that goal.
Sigma did then turn it up a bit creating a couple good chances, Grant got more of the ball on the right, playing as a right midfield in the second half. Usual left back Lee also started in midfield today before going off injured early on. Brar had a great chance to secure the win when a low cross from Grant was deflected into his path, but a tame shot straight at the keeper kept the status quo. It was looking like it was going to end in a draw, which maybe was a fair result as I though NMP deserved something from the match, but Sigma had one more chance. They earned a corner in the 87th minute from a sliced clearance from the NMP defender which Christian Samaniego, making his first appearance of the season, took. Th corner was played right into the centre of the goal in the busy 6 yard box. Grant managed to evade his marker and stepped out to send a strong header high and goalwards that the NMP keeper couldn’t quite keep out.
Sigma ground out the win in a match where maybe they didn’t deserve it, but that was a good way to end a tough run of games. Next week Sigma complete the TFC trifecta when they play 3rd place FC London at the Hershey Centre, this will be another tough game and hopefully Sigma can regain some of the form and composure we saw earlier in the season with Frano starting attacks from deep driving forward quickly, getting the wide players involved high up the pitch. Hopefully this late win can help them get over the loss and the draw and can push forward from here to retain their top spot.