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L1O Game of the Week: Woodbridge beats Vaughan in thriller

Plus more action from around League 1 Ontario.

Robin Glover // Waking the Red

Sunday’s late game at Vaughan Grove in Woodbridge was a late winner in my choice of two games attended this weekend. Woodbridge Strikers hosted Vaughan Azzurri.

17’ Woodbridge 0-1 Vaughan [Jason Mills] — Mario Kovacevic at 40 yards in middle rolls pass forward to 30 yards and Mills squeezes between two defenders and at 10 yards on right side of box rolls ball past sprawling goalie Robert Stillo into left side of net.

21’ Woodbridge 1-1 Vaughan [Federico Leal] — Leal blasts 30 yard free kick down middle that’s into top right corner of net over outstretched arm of Jarred Brown.

53’ Woodbridge 1-2 Vaughan [Jarek Whiteman] — A VA player runs up the right side from the centre line and rolls centering pass from 30 yard line between players. Mario Vovacevic turns back for ball at 25 yards but when he sees defenders on right side of box chops pass to middle where Dylan Sacramento stops ball on edge of box and sends short cross to left for Whiteman who chips 20 yarder from even with left post that dips just under bar of right side of net over leaping goalie 3 yards off his line.

55’ Woodbridge 2-2 Vaughan [Tyrell Rayne] — Charging Rayne rolled pass up middle by Emmaneul Isaac and rolls 18 yarder past sliding goalie at 12 yards and into right side of net.

66’ Woodbridge 3-2 Vaughan [Vaughan own goal] — Michael Krzeminski rushes along end line and rolls 15 yard cross that sliding Shiquain Lowe pops ball at 5 yards over own goalie and into top right corner of net.

74’ Woodbridge 3-3 Vaughan [Mario Kovacevic] — Dylan Sacramento 25 yard free kick from slight right has leaping Kovacevic head 10 yarder downward in middle of box and goalie is down to ground to grab it but ball squeezes over the line.

88’ Woodbridge 4-3 Vaughan [Emmanuel Issac] — Joshua Paredes-Procter corner kick from right has defender near right post tip ball over players in box and over to Issac on left who one-touches 7 yard shot low to short side past goalie shuffling over from center of net.

Final Score: Woodbridge Strikers. 4-3 Vaughan Azzurri

This was a very competitive game with each team responding with an equalizer within 4 minutes, 2 minutes, and 8 minutes when one team took the lead. When Isaac scored the late winner, the Strikers goalie Robert Stillo immediately had to make two sprawling saves on 12 yard shots to break the pattern. Even the time just before the ‘winning’ goal I saw him making two spectacular saves on Vaughan chances.

These two teams met at the quarter-final stage of the L1O Cup just over a month ago. It must have been very satisfying for goalie Stillo to get the win as he picked up two yellow cards that game and was ejected at 67 minutes.

As the Woodbridge Women’s team had played on the grass field earlier this afternoon, the game was moved to one of their turf fields that I hadn’t noticed before. I had thought it was one of the next door Ontario Soccer Centre fields. There was only about half the seats as the other field but the 125 fans squashed in made the stands look full. The grounds crew left their scoreboard running from the grass field (the turf field didn’t have one). By the second half there were some York 9 fans who brought the ‘Generation IX’ banner and pinned it on the far chain link fence. They said after the game that they were initially faked out by the phantom scoreboard clock and empty stadium. Woodbridge and Vaughan I’d say have the biggest youth soccer organizations of the district. This would have been the night to have a table and brochures available to hand out as people left the stadium between the corridors of the two fields but the opportunity was lost. I didn’t have time to make that suggestion as I had to find Vaughan coach Carmine Isacco for an audio interview as he was named as one of the assistant coaches of York 9 FC on Friday morning.

The other L1O game I saw this weekend was TFC III vs Pro Stars FC at BMO Training Centre in Downsview at 1 p.m.

Zakaria Abdi scored at 4’ and 8’ to give TFC III an early lead on a 10 yard shot then a 15 yard shot. As the team had scored 29 goals in nine league games coming into today, I was expecting a blowout as Pro Stars are near the bottom of the table. Muhammed Ashim responded at 11 minutes on a header after a partial clearance of a freekick and it became quite a close game. TFC’s Daniel Bilousov took a Penalty kick at 63 minutes that goalie Aaron Peters smothered on the right post and when Anthony Chrysanthou blasted a 20 yarder which goalie Brogan Engbers could only get a piece of we had a tie game at 78 minutes. TFC’s Terique Mohammed blasted a 22 yard freekick from the right straight into the top left corner of the net at 87 minutes for the winner. Final score TFC 3-2 over Pro Stars.

Aaron Peters had to make many great saves to keep Pro Stars in the game. Brogan Engbers was aggressive and would charge out of his box to clear potential dangers.

TFC III break out of a three way tie for first this weekend with the victory as fellow table toppers Sigma FC and FC London slipped up and ‘only’ managed ties in home games. Friday night had FC London tie mid-table Unionville Milliken SC 1-1 on a game delayed for 90 minutes by thunder and lightning. Saturday afternoon had Sigma and Oakville Blue Devils play to a scoreless tie.

With Woodbridge winning tonight they find themselves in a three-way tie for second place with Sigma and London but they’ve played two and one game (respectively) more than those teams so probably won’t hold that spot too long. Woodbridge do take the lead in goals scored this year with 36 while maintaining a tight defence of only 10 goals allowed.

Watching these two games sets me up nicely for the L1O Cup Final next Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Ontario Soccer Centre (next field over from tonight’s Vaughan Grove game) with Vaughan and TFC III facing off. Vaughan were finalists last year but lost to Woodbridge.