…keep saying that they’re overrated, I’m like “yeah, cool, but we’re undefeated”
In the game that some on social media were calling ‘ourclassico’ (Personally, I still prefer my ‘clasiceh’ from the Mississauga derby…but who cares), it was Sigma that came out on top of a very close game that could have easily gone the other way if not for poor finishing and superb goalkeeping.
The game started off well for Sigma, in front of about 100 fans at the Ontario Soccer Centre, looked far more comfortable than in recent weeks keeping the ball moving and controlling possession. Like most teams they have come up against Vaughan had the game plan of sitting back and trying to hit Sigma on the counter using long balls to try to expose the high line Sigma like to play. They didn’t try to press high up the field, preferring to sit back and allow Sigma to pass the ball around the midfield and try to break down 2 banks of players.
Sigma tried to get the ball out into wide positions for wingers Zajac and Thomas to take on their men, make some space for themselves to get a cross in, or use the overlapping runs of Walton and Grant. One of the overlapping runs from Walton forced a good save from the Vaughan keeper Colm Vance after a cross/shot from the left almost found its way under the crossbar.
Sigma took the lead 19 mins in when Thomas received the ball on the right, knocked it past his marker and muscles his way around him, crossed the ball into Halis who had his attempt blocked by the keeper and the ball fell to Zajac who calmly slotted the ball past the 2 defenders in the line for his 3rd goal of the season. Vaughan weren’t happy with the decision not to call a foul on Thomas who appeared to have maybe tugged the defender to get past him at the start of the move.
Tristan Henry had a great game in goal, early on coming off his line to clear danger on a couple of occasions. He made the first of many top saves soon after the opening goal when goal scorer Marcel Zajac fouled an attacker by the sideline, a call he wasn’t happy with and his protestations earning him a yellow card in the process. The free kick was taken short to the Vaughan #11 who took a touch outside the box and struck a fierce shot that Henry saved spectacularly.
Henry made another great save the other side of the half when Dayonn Harris was left unmarked at the back post, but his shot from a tight angle was tipped to the side and eventually put out for a corner.
Vaughan started the second half really well putting Sigma under a lot of pressure in possession high up the field and were keeping possession better themselves while still trying to break that high line with quick through balls to the speedy attackers. Sigma were struggling to get their passing game going, having to make long clearances out of the back that were coming straight back at them.On 3-4 occasions in the second half they found themselves through on goal with the first of these only able to hit the side netting under pressure from Sigma defender Samuel. The next great chance came to top scorer Jarek Whiteman who gained possession after a missed clearance, got the ball onto his left foot but his shot was just deflected wide by the diving Johnny Grant.
Vaughan finally got their reward for their hard work in the 68th minute, even if it did come from an error by Sigma substitute Arlick Ntabana who was caught dwelling on the ball at the edge of his area, had the ball poked away from him straight to Tomasz Sklublak who was able to curl it first time into the far corner. Never one to hide his feelings, to say Henry wasn’t happy was an understatement.
Sigma seemed to wake up after this and started to attack with some pace down the wings, getting the ball into dangerous crossing areas but unable to find the final ball. Substitute Aiden D’Mello did find that ball in the 71st minute when he skipped over the sliding right back and found the Lampard esque run from Faisal Ghaffur at the 6 yard line, probably the highest up the pitch I’ve seen him all season, who’s initial shot was blocked by the defender but fell kindly for Ghaffur to find the net on his second attempt.
Vaughan then missed a host of good chances to equalize or even take the lead, starting with Alexander Zis, who was nicely slipped in by Sklublak, sold the first defender but was then too close to get his shot past Henry who did well to make himself big in front of goal and the ball was scrambled away from danger by the retreating defence. This started off a crazy few minutes with Sigma attacking immediately down the right. Grant’s cross was stopped at the near post and Vaughan went immediately on the attack. This is when I started to think maybe this just wasn’t Vaughan’s or Whiteman’s day as he was through on goal, nodding the ball ahead of Samuel who then slipped at the edge of the box, but could only find the outside of the near post with only Henry to beat.
Sigma were pushing their luck, and Vaughan should have scored again if it wasn’t for the best save you won’t see this week from Tristan Henry. Sigma couldn’t clear the ball out of their box and Henry was forced to make a good save from a long curling attempt from near the edge of the box. The ball fell to Vaughan attacker again on his own in front of goal who struck the ball firmly into the ground but Henry was able to get a strong hand to it from point blank range and deflect the ball over the bar for a corner.
Vaughan kept this pressure up for the remainder of the game but were unable to fashion any further good chances with the Sigma defence staying strong and holding on for the win to stay undefeated this season.
This victory along with the surprising loss for Oakville against Durham means that Sigma again go top of the Western Conference
Next week, in theory should be an easier game up north against Aurora FC who have only managed 1 win and 1 draw all season, however, they did struggle slightly against similar opponents.