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League1 Ontario Game of the Week: Oakville downs Aurora

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Get caught up on what happened last week in L1O.

Robin Glover // Waking the Red

Aurora FC vs. Oakville Blue Devils: Highlights

15’ — Oakville’s Filipe Vilela gets to a pass down the middle and blasts a 20 yarder into the top right corner of the net over goalie Ryan Collins.

Final Score: Aurora FC 0-1 Oakville Blue Devils

Attendance was about 90 on this mild evening with the temperature cooling fast even with the game ending before it got dark.

Matt George earned the shutout for Oakville. He had a few routine shots to save but was well protected by his defenders. Most important was at 88 minutes when AFC’s Connor Woodroffe took a corner kick and George punched the ball away in a crowd of players at 12 yards. This is his third shutout in three games and fourth for the team as Karman Saini had one in his start. That makes the Blue Devils the only team that hasn’t conceded a goal this season.

Ryan Collins had to be sharp in net for AFC to keep them in the game. He had to make a few punch-aways on plays too dangerous to catch in crowds of players.

Referee Alexis Vaughan ended up giving out six yellow cards (four to OBD). This game got quite rough at different times. 65 minutes had two OBD players down injured in the Aurora box on separate collisions with Anthony Novak (tied for second in L1O scoring with four goals) needing the trainer and having to be subbed off.

This game had ball trouble throughout the game. There were no ball boys which seemed okay as the field is regulation size but the confines are quite small. There is only a few feet between the sidelines and the side and back fencing. It was tough for the subs to warm up and they had to be told to “keep moving or sit down” even while wearing pinnies. I counted about a dozen times in the first half where the ball was put out over the fence. There were only about five balls and one of them was taken out after the opening minute for being too flat. That complaint was used elsewhere in the game but Vaughan and the fourth official Filip Dujic insisted the balls were all inspected before the game. There was a time where all the balls were out of play and in a panic a club’s warm up ball was used to keep the game moving.

Both teams eventually brought in five substitutions (L1O max). OBD got things started at halftime with Judah Hernandez and Rajvir Khalon coming on to stir up their offence. That did work as they both had chances or set up others but OBD could not get the insurance goal that would have put the game away so it was tense right through injury time. Khalon had the best at 84 minutes when he was tapped back a pass and he blasted a 22 yard shot down the middle that hit the outside of the left post.

This was the first game of the season that midfielder Taylor McNamara hadn’t started for OBD. When he did sub in at 71 minutes, his brother Konner gave him his captain’s armband although he stayed on the field. Their father Glenn is an assistant coach.

This park is the third one Aurora has used in their three years of L1O play as geographically they move further away from Toronto. Stewart Burnett Park is part of the Stronach Aurora Recreation Complex which includes a swimming pool, ice rink, recreation centre, and outside a domed tennis complex and a baseball diamond. The complex is surrounded by brand new subdivisions—the one near the field so new that they haven’t even laid turf in the backyards. I don’t believe the monster homeowners will appreciate Mr DJ pumping out the tunes when it’s time for their kids’ bedtimes. The field is brand new field turf. It looked like the stands could hold 300 comfortably. There is a scoreboard in the north end.

The over the fence balls reminded me of that poster available years ago of two teams playing on a cliff island and all the players gazing over the side as the ball had fallen into the water below. There was one exit through the fencing on the sideline but it was blocked by extra goalie nets so it made passage difficult when I volunteered to step out and fetch one and it felt like I was caught in a mousetrap. If they ever do get ball kids for a subsequent game, they should position them on the other side of the fence!

As this was the last game of the busy weekend the standings have sorted themselves out. Oakville leads the 17 team league along with Toronto FC III (who won their game two hours earlier) with identical 3 wins, 0 losses, 1 tie records. Aurora is alone in fifteenth with 0 wins, 2 losses, 2 ties.

This was a very competitive game and shows the league is evening out in competitiveness when last year’s champions could only eke out a 1-0 win for the second time this year and had 0-0 tie in another game. Of course that argument can be countered with yesterday afternoon’s result that Sigma in only their second game of the season travelled to Ottawa and crushed OSUF 8-0.

These league standings will hold for the next two weeks as next weekend the teams have been drawn into the second round of the L1O League Cup. Weekend games are always a better draw than previous year’s weeknight games where fields are harder to arrange and an early round might drag on for three weeks and sometimes at a neutral venue.

I caught one other game this weekend, Saturday night I saw Masters FA Saints defeat Windsor TFC 4-0 played at L’Amoreaux in Scarborough. The TFC II home game was moved on short notice to Charleston North Carolina because of concerns to preserve the grass at BMO Field so that opened my calendar.

Jose Melo with two (33’, 63’), Jose Sousa (49’) and Bradley Fenton (83’) scored for Masters in front of about 40 fans.

There was only one Yellow card but MFA players and officials didn’t like the number of times they were burned on offside calls. Head coach wasn’t pleased with MFA’s play even after Melo’s first goal but they played a lot better in the second half.

Masters roster includes former TFC player Rohan Ricketts (2008-2009) and Melo (2007-2009) with Melo seven years younger than Ricketts. ‘2017 L1O Young Player of the Year’ Cyrus Rollocks who played for TFC III last year was not on Saturday’s roster. Spiros Koskinas earned the shutout with help from a hard to beat backline.