I know, I know…I’m sorry…I’ve been slacking, I know all three of you regular readers have been desperately waiting for my updates on the latest Sigma FC exploits, but it’s here now and it’s another triple decker, for the matches against TFCV, a.k.a FC London, then the first two games of the east coast tour against the oddly named Master’s Futbol and Toronto Skillz.
Please click on each tab below to find coverage of each match.
This was a strangely enjoyable match. From the huge street hockey…thing (?) that was going on in the Hershey Centre car park, to managing to find myself on the seemingly Englishman only bleachers despite it having fans from both teams calling two different games. Thoughtfully FC London had a TFC badge on their sleeves to remind us all of their dark overlords which is slightly more subtle than the direction Windsor went with.
Anyway, to the actual match. The good news was that Tristan Henry and his defense finally got the clean sheet that has eluded them so far this season. Unfortunately this also coincided with the team failing to score for the first time in the league this season. To add to the disappointment, at around the 60 min mark, Mansoor Alfazy was fouled by the London left back, stood up and went head to head with the defender and stupidly moved his head forward. As is football protocol, the defender went down like a ton of bricks feigning a head injury and Alfazy was rightfully sent off. This was a shame as he had shown some great footwork around the box up to that point.
This was a good game for Sigma, pressuring the London defence high up the pitch, causing errors and rash clearances to be made, meaning they would get possession back pretty quickly, that unfortunately Sigma couldn’t capitalize on. They did create a number of good chances throughout the game, but FC London keeper Anthony Sokalaski was equal to everything making a number of good saves throughout, even after Sigma went down to 10 men.
London did put Sigma under a lot of pressure in the last 30 minutes, using the extra man to their advantage, but Sigma stayed solid and didn’t allow too many good chances and managed to hold out until the end.
Team News: Dominic Samuel starts in midfield with Frano still out of the squad. Daniel Jodah gets his first start of the season
The second game, saw Sigma play their first match against an eastern opponent in the form of second bottom Master’s Futbol. Sigma would expect to have won this game reasonably easily but they managed to make hard work of it after a terrible start. Sigma were caught out in the 2nd minute by a long ball forward to Master’s striker Jose De Sousa who used his pace and strength to get in front of Kyle Walton before bending a shot around Henry from the top of the D.
They weren’t down for long though. In the 6th minute Kadell Thomas took on his marker on the left and delivered a teasing cross to the near post where Marcell Zajac was able to beat his marker the ball and poke it past Aaron Peters in goal.
Neither team really got a grip on the game, both being wasteful in possession. Sigma did make three chances before the half, Thomas hit the cross bar from a low Zajac cross trying to reciprocate the assist for his team mate. Sigma then doubled their lead in the 38th minute after switching the ball gradually across the pitch from left to right, finally with Johnny Grant playing a low ball to the near post and again Zajac beating his marker on the other side, meeting the pass and directing it into the far corner.
Thomas did finally get his goal just before half time and his 7th of the season after closing down the Master’s defender and blocking the clearance. The hard work paid off with the ball bouncing favourably into his path so that he was in on goal where he powerfully placed the ball past the goalkeeper into the far corner.
Master’s were back in the game in the 55th minute when Melo scored a well taken penalty to make it 3-2 after Tristan Henry was adjudged to have tugged the Master’s attacker in a coming together. The rest of the game was a bit drab. I can’t remember either keeper having to make a save and very few chances created. All in all was a bit of a scrappy game where neither team really imposed themselves on the match.
Is it weird that I enjoyed the 0-0 against London more than the 3-2? Probably.
Team News: Captain Giuliano Frano back in the starting lineup. Daniel Jodah gets his second start and second appearance of the season. Julian MacDonald gets his first start of the season. Mehta back in the middle for his fourth appearance since the home opening win in the derby.
The less I say about the 1st half the better, not much happened. Skillz had a couple long shots, and a goal ruled out for offside. Halis for Sigma had one chance from a tight angle go narrowly wide after a lovely little through ball from Jodah, and another from a 1 on 1 saved by the Skillz keeper Spiro Koskinas from another good ball from Johnny Grant.
The 2nd half was completely different, Sigma managed to take the lead through Halis who received the ball at the edge of the box from Ghaffur, turned and took on two defenders, muscled his way through and played a curling shot into the far corner with his right foot. Halis then doubled his tally and Sigmas lead when the Skillz defender missed the long ball that was taken down wonderfully by Halis 35 yards out. He ran at goal and skillfully got the ball on his left foot taking the same defender out the game again and curling the ball on his left foot this time into the opposite corner. A similar finish to his first goal just from a more head on position.
Noah Mehta – who again was great at finding pockets of space between the defence and attack and moving the ball quickly to keep the pace of the attacks up – should have made it 3 shortly after when top scorer Kadell Thomas’ shot was parried right into his path, but only managed the conversion on the ‘other football’ posts behind the goal.
Sigma weren’t playing the best I’ve seen them play, they made a number of mistakes, giving the ball away in dangerous areas, and that’s where the Skillz goal came from. Grant was closed down high up the pitch on the right and the ball was played immediately to the Skillz striker Anhr El Eidani who found them 2 on 2 closing down on goal. El Eidani played a quick one/two and on the return only needed 2 touches to emphatically put the ball into the roof of the Sigma goal.
Sigma did seem to turn it back on after this and became much more comfortable in possession, keeping the ball well. But then came a questionable decision by the ref. I say questionable as just being a lowly journalist – for lack of a better word – it’s impossible to find out why decisions are made if it’s not obvious live or from the Youtube video and will remain one of life’s many mysteries. So to the decision, the Skillz striker was bearing down on goal, 1 on 1 with Tristan Henry, the shot appeared to be blocked by Henry but the confusion began. There may have been slight contact between players after the ball was played but the striker wasn’t claiming for anything and seemed more annoyed he missed the chance to equalize. The ref blew his whistle and appeared to give a free kick just out side the box, as the crowd went quiet trying to work out what was being called. The Sigma players questioned the ref and appeared to point towards the linesman, which makes me think the ref called a handball??? After a brief deliberation with the lino, the referee then pointed to the penalty spot, queue more confusion. So I assume it must have been for a foul, but I didn’t think it was, but what do I know. Regardless, Henry made a great save diving to his left and eventually the ball was cleared. This was the second penalty Henry has given away in 2 games.
Sigma then missed about 4 chances in the space of 10 minutes. First, Grants cross was deflected onto the left post by the defender before the ball trickled across the goal line into the grateful arms of the keeper. Then Halis had three chances to complete his hatrick, hitting the outside of the right post then missing his second 1 on 1 of the game before having a curling shot from the right just put wide by Koskinas. Finally, Thomas had another good chance saved by the Skillz keeper who managed deflect the shot just wide of the far post.
Sigma controlled the remainder of the game and didn’t really give Skillz too many opportunities on goal and deserved the win in the end on chances created. I think that Sigma have missed their captain in the middle of the park the last 2 games and look much better with Frano starting alongside Ghaffur complimenting each other’s game. Frano the dynamic box to box player, with Ghaffur doing nothing fancy, but calmly getting and keeping possession deep and moving the ball around.
Next up is a tough away game against 3rd place in the east Vaughan Azzurri at the Ontario Soccer Centre which should be a good test for this Sigma side