Starred Up

 

Sigma FC continued their impressive start to the season with a reasonably straight forward win against Pro Stars FC in Brampton with goals coming from Grant, Stoddart (2) and Thomas (I’m going with the scorers from the Sigma tweet about the game and not the League1 Ontario official stats as I’m pretty sure that Grant and Thomas both scored and not Lee and Mrabure).

Sigma made a few changes to the team that beat TFC III, bring Mike Matic back in up top. Faisal Ghaffur drops into the back line replacing Dominic Samuel. Simon Triantafillou takes up Ghaffur’s position in the midfield while the pacey Kadell Thomas comes in on the left hand side of the attacking 3 midfielders.

I had said in my last report that I’d be interested to see how Sigma went about this game, after predominantly playing on the break away in the previous two I wondered if they’d play more expansively against a team that they would be expecting to beat on current form. And they were pretty much forced to adopt a new strategy from the off due to Pro Stars playing a defensive game trying to hold of the Sigma attack that put 4 past TFC last week.

Sigma never really had to get out of 3rd gear in the first half and easily controlled possession for most of the half, the fullbacks both got forward often, Sigma often appearing to change to a 3-6-1 with Triantafillou dropping into a back 3 when they both went up. This was Triantafillou’s first start of the season and he showed great range of passing early on switching the ball to the right flank on numerous occasions. Alfazy who set up 2 goals against TFC again showed great vision with a couple of through balls opening up the Pro Stars defense. Captain Guiliano Frano had a lot less impact due to the defensive stance from Pro Stars, his bursting runs on the counter we’ve seen in the previous games were nullified by Pro Stars, due to not doing much attacking and staying reasonably compact at the back.

However, despite the dominance, Sigma didn’t create any real chances for themselves. Though they did manage to score 2 goals in 2 minutes towards the end of the half both coming from defensive lapses. The first came from a corner, Lee won the initial header that was blocked, the follow up shot from Thomas was cleared of the line but Grant was there alone in front of goal put Sigma in the lead.

The second came immediately from kick off where Thomas intercepted a stray pass and played the ball through to Justin Stoddart who couldn’t reach the initial pass but the Pro Stars keeper Kristian D’Amore could hold onto the ball and it fell right to Stoddart who feinted back onto his left foot and calmly placed the ball into the goal.

After the restart it looked like the game would follow a similar pattern as the last two. With Pro Stars beginning to actually get into the game, forcing Henry in the Sigma goal to make a couple of good stops. But Sigma got their third and Stoddart his second, when Frano spotted his run through the centre backs to the left hand side of the box where Stoddart lashed home a left footed strike that was past D’Amore in goal before he could react.

Stoddart could, and probably should, have had a hat-trick or a glut, but missed two very good opportunities to put the game well out of reach of the home team. The first coming from another great run down the left by Thomas, whose pace had caused problems for the right back all game, pulled the ball back to the centre where the shot was blazed over the bar. The second chance came from being played in by a nice little pass from Mrabure but his left footed shot couldn’t find the far corner.

Sigma had other chances, Matic almost met a low cross from Stoddart but couldn’t quite get the write connection and neither could Frano on the follow up.

Unfortunately, Sigma couldn’t get their first clean sheet of the season, a low corner in the 86th minute wasn’t cleared and fell to David Bain to blast it into Henry’s goal from close range. But it was too little too late as just a few minutes later, Sigma regained their 3 goal lead when they broke down the left and the ball was slid through to Thomas who latched onto it in the box, moved the ball onto his right foot and curled it into the far corner meaning that Sigma have now had two 4-1 wins in a row and remain 3 wins for 3 in the league this season.

After watching three games now I have been really impressed with the level of play from Sigma. They look a lot more comfortable on the ball than the to two non-TFC teams they have played so far. They have smart players that have different qualities, each weekend I see they team and wonder why a certain player isn’t in the lineup but then the new guy comes in and does a great job. And that makes them a hard team to play against as you don’t know who will be in the starting 11 week on week.

I do wonder how they will cope when they lose players to their respective universities in the fall. I understand in the past they can’t quite keep up the same level, but they do seem to have depth right now so hopefully will be better equipped to deal with the inevitable departures this season.

Next Sunday, Sigma take on the Sanjaxx Lions at Monarch Park, who are still looking for their first win of the season and sitting on 2 points, so would be another team they’d expect to defeat. I assume we may see another similar game as this weekend with more teams playing more defensively against this strong Sigma side.

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Dan Baldwin

Dan Baldwin

Dan joins us to finally get involved in doing something about the sport he loves. Born in England he has played and followed the game his whole life. After moving to Toronto in 2014, he immediately began to learn about the local soccer scene and is passionate about the development of the sport in the country. However, he can still found cheering on his beloved West Ham each weekend morning at the Dog and Bear pub.

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