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L1O Game of the Week: Unionville falls to Sigma FC

A busy weekend around the province.

Robin Glover // Waking the Red

In last weekend’s League1 Ontario action, Unionville-Milliken took on Sigma FC at Bill Crothers Secondary School in Unionville at 8:00pm. Here’s how it went down:

3’ Unionville Milliken 1-0 Sigma FC [Kiril Dimitrov] — Halburto Harris intercepts a clearance attempt down the right sideline and bounces a centering cross from 20 yard line. Dimitrov runs to meet it and redirects from 12 yards on right into left corner of net beyond diving goalie Triston Henry.

18’ Unionville Milliken 1-1 Sigma FC [Daniel Jodah] — Kadell Thomas starts run up right sideline at own 25 yard line after goalie caught cross and rolled him the ball. A retreating UM player pokes the ball off him from behind at Sigma 40 yard line. Thomas continues run and steals ball off defender Sean Kim at UM’s 50 yard line and rushes forward. At UM’s 35 yard line he rolls centering through-ball pass to charging Jodah on edge of box who takes low shot that goalie Adrian Ibanez had initially come out to 10 yards then froze. Ibanez reached down to get hand to but deflects it into right side of net.

79’ Unionville Milliken 1-2 Sigma FC [David Velastegui] — Kadell Thomas recovers ball on right side of box and taps pass for Velastegui to blast low 15 yard shot from slight right that diving goalie gets piece of near left side of net but momentum deflects over him and into left corner.

Final Score: Unionville Milliken 1-2 Sigma FC

This was my first time I’d been to Bill Crothers Secondary School. The buildings and facilities look brand new. There’s a main turf field with stands mostly of slabs of stone that were laid into a grass hill with a stairway connection. There is an alternate turf field beside here on the other side of the hill and a natural field at the entranceway. Tonight there were about 70 spectators.

A big question mark would be whether the game would be played on the turf centre field (the one with a track on it and the football lines). A L1O Women’s game had concluded in the afternoon but there was a big rip in the field just outside the south end box. “Could be an ankle buster,” I heard mentioned. A narrow strip of field turf had been pieced in and not secured but it looked like it needed a lawn mower to even it out to the putting green length of the original. Referee Marc Henoud settled for layers of duct tape to patch it all over. Yeah duct tape fixes everything and even plays a major part in The Rock’s new Skyscraper movie.

A big surprise to me was Sigma conceding so early. That was only the second goal this season they’d given up in league AND cup play. A tying goal at 18 minutes and I expected a goalfest but the game settled down.

Unionville had some other good chances especially at 13 minutes when Richard West took a quick throw-in to Tre Crosby who blasted a low 12 yard shot up the middle that goalie Triston Henry saved. West then blasted the still loose ball from 12 yards along the left end line which the goalie saved on the near post. 65 minutes had Isaiah-Prentice Whyte shoot or cross from 20 yards along the right end line and the ball hit the bar and deflected out. 70 minutes had Tre Crosby center a pass for Whyte to blast an 8 yarder that hit the bar and the goalie caught the 25 yard rebound shot. 95 minutes had 89 minute sub Jarek Brome blast an 18 yarder down the middle just over the bar after two Unionville players were knocked down in the box but pleas for PKs were ignored.

Sigma’s Marcel Zajac still leads the scoring race with seven goals with now three rivals closing in at six. He left the June 9 game after six minutes with a rib injury then missed the next two weeks league and cup matches and returned on June 27 for 30 minutes and today played 75. Now he just has to recapture his scoring touch.

The result improves Sigma’s record to 6 wins, 0 losses, 1 tie for 19 points and pulls Sigma into a tie for first with Toronto FC III who would play Sunday afternoon. [Late news, TFC III lost their first game of the season on the road against Oakville Blue Devils]. I expect TFC III to regain first place as they will start playing midweek games to finish their schedule a month early so they can join the USSDA and start play in September with their L1O roster. Sigma plays TFC III in the L1O Cup semi-final July 21 and in league play on August 12, both at BMO Training Ground.

Unionville’s record falls to 4 wins, 3 losses, 1 tie for 13 points and they were fourth at the end of Saturday night. They look a good chance to finish in the top nine and make the playoffs (TFC III won’t contest).

Just to complete the weekend I saw two games on Sunday. Sanjaxx Lions hosted OSUF at Monarch Park in the east end of the City of Toronto. Both teams have won only once this season after six games. I was surprised how Sanjaxx dominated for most of the game keeping Ottawa pinned in their own end for long periods of time. To not score was not surprising as Lions had only tallied three goals in league play. Defensively they have only allowed a respectable seven goals against. The crowd of about 25 was coming to expect a scoreless draw when at 85 minutes, OSUF defender Haider Kadhom was called for a handball by referee Filip Dujic on a long Hail Mary cross into the box. Atit Hammud Ali blasted the Penalty kick to the right corner of the net past the flying goalie Jared St Thomas. Rodolfo Aguiar earned the shutout for Sanjaxx with one official save per the league website. OSUF had brought a full bench but made only one sub. Maybe expecting a blowout which they’ve often been victim too the reserves all except the goalie were under 21 and since they were in the game competitively right until the end that the coach kept the more experienced starters on until the end.

I asked a team official what time they left Ottawa to get here. He said 6:30 a.m. and they arrived at 11:30 a.m. surprised at how light traffic was. I’m sure the ride back will feel worse not being able to get a result.

Now a short drive to Scarborough where another game was starting within an hour in front of maybe 50 fans. Toronto Skillz was hosting Darby FC. Skillz had scored only twice this season in league play in seven games and won only once. Darby had won two games out of five. After missing a sitter at 19 minutes Vithunan Sivakumar scored on a follow up shot at 38 minutes then again at 57 and 62 minutes with Anfal Ekhlas scoring at 49 minutes. Halftime sub Marcellus Paul scored at 75 minutes for Darby as a consolation goal. Skillz 4-1 win tripled their season goal production in one game. For some reason they were able to feed breakaways and had 2 on 1s from the center line many times this evening.

Both games on Sunday had the referee schedule water breaks in each half as the temperature though not record breaking this weekend was too hot for any prolonged activity.

I don’t expect any of the four teams I saw today to make the playoff round at the end of September but the teams on paper were evenly matched. Checking my bingo card off today means in twenty-four games I’ve now seen all seventeen L1O men’s teams at least twice this season. That was hard to do with all the TFC and TFC II games I attend.