Saturday evening’s game at Ontario Soccer Centre between Vaughan Azzurri and Toronto FC III was the easy choice as the game of the week as it was the L1O Cup Final.
3’ Vaughan Azzurri 1-0 TFC III [Jace Dayton Kotsopoulos] — VA Shiquan Lowe at his own 30 yard line in middle rolls pass over to Jarred Phillips at 45 yard line on right sideline. Phillips chips ball from 40 yards that lands on the left and bounces towards middle where charging Kotsopoulos gets behind defender and chips 10 yarder on second bounce from middle into low left corner of net over goalie Sebastian Sgarbossa, finally stepping forward to 7 yards.
60’ Vaughan Azzurri 2-0 TFC III [Jace Dayton Kotsopoulos] — VA goalie Jarred Brown takes free kick from VA 25 yard line. Vaughan’s Jarek Whiteman tips ball up with foot at 30 yard line on right then midair volleys centering pass to VA Dylan Sacramento who misses but ball bounces to Kotsopoulos at TFC 22 yard line. He runs forward to edge of box but two defenders are waiting so he rolls pass to right for charging Whiteman who catches up to ball on right endline and one-touches off-balance cross between four defenders to Kotsopoulos at 7 yards in middle and he fires low shot between two defenders to right corner of net.
76’ — TFC’s Daniel Bilousov receives pass at VA 16 yard line on left side. He dribbles to just inside box and holds up as VA Matthew Arnone is in his way. VA Dylan Sacramento runs in from right and bodychecks him over. Referee Scott Bowman calls for a penalty kick after some confusion as he was knocked over so hard that he landed outside the box.
77’ Vaughan Azzurri 2-1 TFC III [Afram Gorgees] — Gorgees blasts penalty kick low to left side past diving goalie Jarred Brown.
Final Score: Vaughan Azzurri 2-1 TFC III — Vaughan win 2018 L1O Cup
Attendance was not announced but the stands were almost full. The L1O commissioner said after the game that the stands can hold around 1200.He said they took 560 tickets sold but many others get through by passes. I’d read that some benefactor for the Vaughan club bought up all the tickets. I’d say that with the standees along the railing there would be at least 1000... biggest L1O game of the season on this hot and humid evening with the setting sun in the northwest.
MVP of the game was obviously Kotsopoulos with both Vaughan goals.
Vaughan almost put the game away after the first goal with Kotsopoulos rolling a shot just wide left of the post at 7’ and then two minutes later VA’s Matthew Arnone crossed in from the 15 yard line into the six-yard box and the charging Kotsopoulos tipped an eight-yarder just high and wide right of the net. The game settled down to be more even with no fantastic chances until 35 minutes when Kotsopoulos sent in a low cross along the right end line and Sacramento got a foot in to tip a 5 yarder that the sliding goalie was able to smother. 45 minutes had Vaughan’s Devante Walker send a cross in from near the right sideline that Sacramento headed from the centre of the box, hitting the bar on the left post.
The second half from about the 52 minute mark TFC III took over for stretches of the half even after the insurance goal that Vaughan finally scored. The sixth minutes of injury time had TFC’s best chances with Afram Gorgees’ 40-yard free kick from the left which had the goalie palm the ball over the net behind TFC’s Zakaria Abdi, charging across the box. The resulting Jayden Nelson corner from the right was partially cleared by two headers and TFC’s Kunle Dada-Luke shot a 20 yarder between players just wide right of the post. A tying goal would have sent the game straight to penalty kicks in the same way TFC III got here by beating Sigma FC in the semi-final.
With TFC and TFC II both playing out of town tonight, TFC III didn’t have any drop downs to stack the roster and used an all-teenage team. “Old man” defender Mohamed Omar from 1999 was the only player born in the last century.
Vaughan won this year after losing in the final to Woodbridge last season. This year they knocked out two-time winner Woodbridge in the quarter-final round. This is now the third time in the five years of the league that Vaughan has won the L1O Cup. The won the inaugural tourney in 2014 and then again in 2016. Now 2018 — looks like they win in the even number years.
I didn’t notice any representation by York 9 FC or their fans. This would have been an opportunity this holiday weekend for a table to be set up just outside the one gate and someone handing out postcards with the web address seeking memberships. I know York 9 has been hitting the youth soccer market hard including Vaughan but this would have been another chance/reminder. I don’t think TFC parents would have objected as ex-TFC Academy players like Dylan Sacramento and Anthony Osorio now play for Vaughan and will probably be seeking opportunities for Canada Premier League positions.
I saw one other game this week and it was the Women’s L1O Cup final between Woodbridge Strikers and Unionville-Milliken SC, played before the men’s final. This was a game where a water break in each half was really required with the humidity making it somewhere above 40 degrees Celsius. Woodbridge scored the lone goal at 30 minutes with Vladanka Gurovski sending in a corner from the left and April Syme charging across the box from the right to head it over the sprawling goalie Levanta Staggolis. Syme is a defender but comes up front for corners despite being one of the shortest players in the league. Shyon Gaeeni earned the shutout for Vaughan.
This is the first Cup win for the women’s Woodbridge team as they were losing finalists the last two years. Interesting the first year’s (2015) winner was North Mississauga and the present Vaughan assistant coach Trevor Bertrand and two of his daughters playing in today’s game — Kira and Kylee Bertrand all were with the 2015 Cup champs.
My link with women’s soccer is fading but I did congratulate champions Christabel Oduro and Alyscha Mottershead, who were with W-League Toronto Lady Lynx in years past. I didn’t realize until after the game that today’s MVP winner April Syme was on the 2014 Lynx team.