With the first team in MLS Cup playoff action at BMO Field on Sunday afternoon, fans can turn the day into a triple header with a pair of academy teams in winner-takes-all competition in the morning as the finals of the OPDL Charity Shield are set to be played at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan.
The U-15 match, pitting Toronto FC against Richmond Hill, will be played at 9 am, while the U-16 final, where TFC faces Vaughan SC, kicks off at 11:45 am – schedule and streaming links can be found here.
Both sides play a year up, so the TFCA U-14s (2003), coached by Terry Dunfield, will compete first and the U-15s (2002), under Michael Stefano, afterwards.
Matches are open to the public. Admission is $5; senors and children under five are admitted free with the proceeds donated to Ontario charities as selected by the winning sides.
The U-14s progressed to the final with a 3-0 win over the North Toronto Nitros last Sunday at the Kia Training Ground.
It was an entertaining match. TFCA, as the scoreline indicates, bossed much of the action. The crowd was good, the pace of play engaging. Dunfield was vocal on the sidelines and his side were very impressive coming to the end of a season that saw them dominate nearly all that came before them.
Unfortunately, this faithful reporter was severely underdressed for the chill within the bubble and was unable to take in the second match, less all feeling in the extremities be lost.
The U-15s won their match against Burlington 3-2 to earn their place in the final.
With silverware on the line, both matches promise to be entertaining affairs. One cannot think of a better way to get oneself ready for the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the New York Red Bulls than by watching the new generations do their thing.