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L1O Game of the Week: Toronto FC III takes down Aurora

The TFC academy side won on home turf.

Robin Glover // Waking the Red

I saw three League1 Ontario games this weekend but for Waking The Red readers I’ll choose the Toronto FC III game against Aurora FC played at the BMO Training Ground.

21’ — TFC’s Afram Gorgees is clipped in the box by Aurora’s Dylan Rennie and referee Scott Bowman calls for a penalty kick.

22’ Toronto FC III 1-0 Aurora FC — Gorgees blasts his penalty kick to the left side of the net just above the diving goalie Adam Scanlon.

35’ Toronto FC III 1-1 Aurora FC — Aurora’s Morey Doner receives a pass upfield from Dylan Rennie and takes a low 15-yard shot up the middle under goalie Sebastian Sgarbossa into the left corner of the net.

49’ Toronto FC III 2-1 Aurora FC — Kunle Dada-Luke in the centre gives a short pass from the middle to Steffen Yeates at 18 yards on the right. Yeates rounds the diving goalie at 10 yards on the right and fires a shot into an empty net from a sharp angle.

67’ Toronto FC III 3-1 Aurora FC — TFC’s Mehdi Essoussi sends a low cross from the left end line and a charging Dada-Luke cuts in front of the crowd of players in the six yard box and pounds it in from two yards near the left post.

Final Score: Toronto FC III 3-1 Aurora FC

Attendance was about 75 on this mild day with the rain holding off until later in the afternoon (and then the sky opened up when I was watching the Alliance United vs Unionville-Milliken game).

Aurora really didn’t get into a scoring position in the TFC end until 30 minutes but after that the chances were about equal.

I’m always a believer that the player fouled deserves to take the penalty kick unless he was hurt. Gorgees looked like he had a good chance to score and letting him take the shot seemed fair. He may have been studying Victor Vazquez rather than Sebastian Giovinco as he placed the ball about 3 feet high instead of rolling it along the ground and he put it just over the diving goalie, who guessed the correct side.

In the distance two fields over it looked like a practice of the TFC players (well about half of them). Jordan Hamilton came over and sat down to see the start of this game. Even TFC coach Greg Vanney and Robin Fraser watched the first part before their training started. I didn’t take a good look until halftime but it looked like only half the squad was two fields over.

I had an idea that with TFC II not playing this weekend after their 3-0 loss in Ottawa they might have sent the players they could lend down to their L1O team to keep them game sharp but of the five players listed on the USL site that were on today’s TFC III roster, Dada-Luke was the player with the most appearances — four with one start. Steffen Yeates has two appearances, one start; Malyk Hamilton has one appearance; and both Afram Gorgees and Marko Mandekic have no minutes with the USL team.

Newly-retired TFC player Benoit Cheyrou is an assistant coach with TFC III. Danny Dichio is the head coach. After today’s game I caught the two of them together and said to be careful as with the win TFC III will stay in first place this weekend (not all scores were known by then) while the TFC II USL team was the opposite! Then I said to Cheyrou that maybe with his accent he’d fit right in! Yeah Laurent Guyot who has suddenly left that team is also French (they both laughed).

On Saturday afternoon I saw Sigma FC for the first time this year. They beat FC London 3-0. Sigma goals were by Marcel Zajac, Kadell Thomas, and Tajon Buchanan. Although Sigma didn’t put the game out of reach until the end, they limited FCL to very few chances. Goalie Triston Henry earned the shutout with not much to do. Sigma’s record goes to 3-0-0. They are listed as third in the standings but have worked up the table after having a first week bye (works in a 17-team league) and their second week game was postponed because the roof of the Whitby Soccer Centre (where Darby FC plays) was damaged by a wind storm. Hmm, two weeks no points so what would the casual fan think? Since then they’ve outscored their opponents 15-1 and also advanced last week to the quarterfinals of the L1O Cup with a 4-0 win.

No games at the start helps the club as they are always waiting for their best players to return from NCAA schools. In past years they’ve raced off to a 9-0-0 start but then in August it’s time for their NCAA players to return to school and they cool off at the end. Head coach Bobby Smymiotis answered me after the game that he’s looking forward to the start of the new Canadian Premier League and he knows a lot of this season’s players will be moving on but his club encourages them to keep moving forward.

After the TFC vs. Aurora game I drove to the east side of the city at Centennial College to see two of the new L1O teams for this season... Alliance United (which is a partnership of small Scarborough clubs) and Unionville-Milliken SC from Markham (directly north of Scarborough). U-M’s Richard West scored at 13 minutes and Milan Beader equalized for AU on a penalty kick at 72 minutes. It was a fair result.

This was the last game of the weekend and their places won’t change. Un-Mill is sixth with a 2-2-1 record identical to FC London and North Mississauga. Alliance is tenth with a 1-1-1 record in a four-way tie but they and Darby FC have only played three games. TFC III is first at 4-0-1, while the defeated Aurora is tied with Windsor for 16th at 0-3-2.

Next Sunday all going well I’ll drive to Hamilton with media credentials to watch the Canadian national women’s team take on Germany. Germany #3 and Canada #4 in FIFA rankings... should be good!