Woodbridge Strikers and Vaughan Azzurri played on Sunday, June 24 in the quarter-final of the League1 Ontario League Cup.
21’ — Vaughan have to switch goalies with Michael Argyrides replacing Colm Vance in goal because of injury.
57’ Woodbridge Strikers 0-1 Vaughan Azzurri [Tomasz Sklublak] — Joseph Amato rushes up left and cross from 20 yards is over crowd of players in box but Sklublak stops it to set up seven-yard shot from right that’s blasted over goalie Robert Stillo into top left of net.
67’ — Woodbridge goalkeeper Robert Stillo is shown his second yellow card for handling the ball outside the box. Tomasz Sklublak races in for bounced through-ball pass and tries to chip him from 27 yards on the left and Stillo has the ball hit him as he raises his arms at 22 yards. Stillo goes down feigning that the ball hit him in the face but referee Marko Ristic sends him off. (Stillo had earned his first seven minutes earlier for dropping an F-bomb at the ref after his quick goal kick restart before the whistle was called back).
91’ Woodbridge Strikers 0-2 Vaughan Azzurri [Jason Mills] — Dayonn Harris runs ball down right wing on break out and centres pass to Mills who shoots 15 yarder into right side of net beyond goalie Tyrone Williams.
Final Score: Woodbridge Strikers 0-2 Vaughan Azzurri
Attendance was about 150 on this mild evening with the sun out after a long stretch of rain especially in the early hours.
I counted 10 cards of all colours in this game (six to Woodbridge) in a pretty rough contest. The Vaughan goalie switch came about because Colm Vance came out to 30 yards to slide and clear a through ball and Woodbridge’s Stefano Voci flipped over him and caught him with a foot to the face. Vance ended up needing an ambulance and it was jolting to see him wheeled along the far sideline and behind the net. Whispers throughout the crowd later reported ‘broken nose’ but I don’t know it that’s true.
Both teams had many chances to score. The best of them was at 27 minutes when Vaughan’s Jarek Whiteman ran upfield on the left and then cut to the centre near the end line and eluding the defenders took a 15-yard shot off the top of the bar. The 31st minute had an unusual situation where the Vaughan replacement goalie Michael Argyrides dove for a poor back pass headed into the goal and was given a yellow and Woodbridge was awarded an indirect free kick from 15 yards. With twenty players squashed into the box WS Ignazio Muccilli skied the ball well over the net.
Muccilli had another chance at 44 minutes when he had a seven-yard point blank shot in a crowd of players stopped by the goalie. Looking for an insurance goal at 75 minutes VA Jarred Phillips dribbled into the middle from the right and tapped forward to VA Dylan Sacramento whose low shot from 12 yards had the goalie reach back and grab it while already on the ground. The Woodbridge chances did dry up after the sending off.
These two teams had met in the last two L1O Cup Finals. Woodbridge won last year and Vaughan won in 2016. Woodbridge won in 2015 against Sigma FC in the final and in the inaugural season Vaughan beat Sigma in the final. I caught L1O Chair Dino Rossi at the Sigma-FC London game on Friday night. He assured me it was a random draw with tennis bracket play and the only seeding was the preliminary round (17 teams remember) of newbies Alliance United and Darby FC getting the play-in game.
These teams are very close in the standings. Vaughan is 4-3-0 for 12 points and is fifth and Woodbridge is 3-2-2 for 11 points tied for 6th with Oakville Blue Devils who have one game in hand.
Vaughan moves on to the semi-final to play Oakville who won their match 4-2 in a penalty shootout after a regulation time 2-2 tie against Masters FA.
I saw the other quarter-final matches earlier this weekend.
On Friday night Sigma FC were 8-0 winners over FC London. I had seen these two teams in League play earlier this month and Sigma won a hard fought 3-0 game but this game was over in the first ten minutes with Sigma scoring three that quickly. The game was a rather late one starting at 9 p.m. and London is a three hour drive away but it looked like FCL put in six players from their U-21 squad and still didn’t have a full bench. Kyle Walton opened with a penalty kick goal at 3 minutes, and Kadell Thomas (5’, 54’, 76’), Jelani Smith (10’, 21’), Justin Stoddard (28’), and Daniel Jodah (83’) were the other scorers. Jodah was a Toronto FC Academy player years ago and Jelani Smith is the younger brother of Jamaal Smith who was the only winner of the TFC player tryouts/publicity stunt back in the spring of 2007 battling over 900 trialists for a roster spot on the initial TFC roster—only lasted until preseason and he was back at York University. Now a decade later they discover Ryan Telfer at York U.
On Saturday night I caught Pro Stars playing against TFC III. Pro Stars pressured early but TFC responded with Afram Gorgees (31’ PK), Kunle Dada-Luke (45’ PK) and a Pro Stars own goal at 63’ caused any suspense to fizzle out. There were calls for more PKs by each team but referee Braeden Krampert wasn’t buying it.
Gianluca Catalano earned the shutout with a few diving saves. I wanted to say something nice but had to wait until after two teammates dumped the Gatorade bucket on him. I thought he’d at least make the bench at the TFC II game on Wednesday against FC Cincinnati at the resurfaced Lamport Stadium (he has played in five USL games this season) but he answered that he was leaving tomorrow for the University of Connecticut. Head coach Danny Dichio filled me in on a few more players leaving for the NCAA including midfielder Steffen Yeates who is also going to U Conn (ooh Cyle Larin went here!).
Sigma FC and TFC III will face off in the other League Cup semi-final. I’d read that the final will be played August 4 but that reference has now disappeared from the L1O website. A TFC official at the Saturday game agreed they can keep their commitment to try to win that before their USSDA season starts. They will NOT be playing in the L1O second season—top eight playdowns for the championship and spot in the Voyageurs Cup aka Canadian Championship (they wouldn’t have played because of their MLS team being in it). He also wasn’t sure that TFC III will be back in L1O next season as their new winter season (will play in the seasonal erected dome at the BMO Training Centre in Downsview) will leave the players ‘needing a rest’ for that season. They’re an all teenage team and the USSDA age divisions will spread them between the appropriate age groups. He is unsure if the TFC II group will drop to USL Division 3 like many of the other MLS ‘2’ teams.