The Mississauga MetroStars got their inaugural campaign underway on Saturday night, falling 11-3 to the winners of the last three Ron Newman Cups, the Baltimore Blast.
The MetroStars found themselves in trouble early on as Jon Orlando opened the scoring just 1:40 into the first quarter. After the ball went out of play, the Blast got play started again quickly and caught the visitors napping as Orlando drove in from the right side and forced it under Mississauga keeper Spyros Stergiotis.
The Blast doubled their lead a few minutes later, as Juan Pereira found former Ottawa Fury striker Vinicius Dantas, who calmly slotted it home.
Adriano Dos Santos gave Baltimore a 3-0 lead with a deft flick from a yard out, redirecting a perfectly-placed pass that managed to find its way between two MetroStars defenders. The first quarter ended with the defending champs up 3-0.
After 7 minutes without a goal to start the second quarter, the moment that everyone’s been waiting for finally came, as Toronto FC and Canadian Men’s National Team legend Dwayne De Rosario scored the first goal in Mississauga MetroStars history. DeRo rifled it into the top of the net without taking a touch, showing that he’s still got his finishing ability.
Fellow ex-TFC player Mo Babouli would bring the MetroStars back within one goal with 3:51 left in the second, placing a nice left-footed strike into the bottom-left corner of the goal.
The Blast turned it on in the final moments of the first half, scoring a pair of quick goals to bring the score to 5-2. Daniel Peruzzi scored a powerplay goal with 2:03 left in the quarter, following it up with a strong finish with just seconds remaining to restore the three-goal lead. The two teams entered half time with the MetroStars trailing 5-2.
The second quarter was much better tactically from Mississauga, as other players started to get involved with the ball, not just De Rosario, as was the case in the first quarter. Mo Babouli in particular showed off some fancy footwork and also pitched in a goal in what was an impressive game from the young Canadian.
A bit of confusion during the half-time break was nearly fatal for the MetroStars in their inaugural match, as the second half had to be delayed for nearly five minutes while they made their way back from the dressing room. The Baltimore players were back on the pitch, warming up and stretching but there was no sign of Mississauga. After a lengthy delay, the referees gave the MetroStars a five-minute warning to get back to the field or forfeit the match according to the commentators on the broadcast, but the team slowly wandered in just in time, not looking in any particular rush. According to a tweet from the MetroStars, the walk from the dressing room is 5 minutes long, which could explain the delay. Another potential reason discussed by the commentators is that the half-time break is only 15 minutes, not 20 like all of the outdoor players are used to.
Once the match got back underway, another interesting event occurred. After Jonatas Melo gave the Blast a 6-2 lead, he jumped over the boards on one side of the field, ran over to his girlfriend and proposed, pulling out a flower and a ring that someone on his team’s bench gave to him. She said yes.
Vinicius Dantas and the beautifully-mustached Andrew Hoxie added 2 more goals in the quarter, and the third ended with the Blast leading 8-2.
To start the 4th quarter, MetroStars head coach Phil Ionadi swapped goalie Spyros Stergiotis out for his backup, Adrian Becic, to get the final 15 minutes.
With 13:42 left in the final quarter, De Rosario got back into the action, spinning around a defender and firing another shot past the Baltimore keeper. If De Rosario continues to show both his physical and technical prowess, he should thrive in the MASL, as the league is suited to forwards who can make goals out of even the smallest of opportunities.
Instead of resting their players for their game on Sunday, the Blast were ruthless, as Juan Pereira, Adriano Dos Santos and Jon Orlando all added goals in the final 10 minutes to put the game to bed, sealing a dominating 11-3 victory.
The MetroStars played a lot better than scoreline suggests, and there were certainly some promising moments. De Rosario and Babouli look like a dangerous duo, and combined to score all three goals. Martinho Dumevski (2) and David Velastegui picked up the three assists.
The next game for the Mississauga MetroStars will take place at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre on Saturday, December 8th at 3:05pm against the Florida Tropics. It will be the first home game in team history. I’ll be providing live updates, so be sure to follow along!
The full match from Saturday can be watched here: