OntarioSoccerWeb.com: Lynx Devour Rhinos to Earn the Weekend Split
by L.T.

Lynx Devour Rhinos to Earn the Weekend Split

July 14, 2002 - The Toronto Lynx (5-9-3) rebounded from a Saturday night loss in Rochester (9-5-2) with a 2-0 victory in front of an announced crowd of 1,293 at York University Stadium. Niki Budalic with his eighth goal of the season, and Brian Ashton with his first, helped Theo Zagar earn his fourth shutout of the season and moved the Lynx to within three points of the Montreal Impact.

Rochester took the game to Toronto early but it was on a perfectly executed counter-attack that the Lynx opened the scoring in the sixth minute. Shawn Faria sent Irasto Knights down the left wing with Budalic going to goal. Irasto shook his marker and laid a beautiful square ball out for Budalic, who wasted no time driving the ball in the top left hand corner of the Rhino goal.

Rochester were unlucky not to score an equalizer. They had many chances, but were turned away as much by the outstanding goalkeeping of Theo Zagar as by their own poor finishing.

The Lynx starting putting their stamp on the game late in the first half when Vignjevic began to take a more active role in the game. Nikki was part of the new look Toronto midfield that had Shawn Faria, David DiPlacido and Vignjevic in the middle and Robbie Aristodemo and Mauricio Vincello on the wings.

In the second half, the Lynx defence cut down on the Rochester chances, although Zagar still had to come up big on more than one occasion. The Lynx had a lot of the play and were rewarded with a second goal in the 78th minute. It came from a penalty kick that was awarded when Rhino midfielder Temoc Suarez stopped a Niki Budalic shot with his arm. Suarez was red carded and Brian Ashton calmly slotted the spot kick under a diving Scott Vallow in the Rhino goal.

Full marks to Toronto for continuing to attack after building up the 2-0 lead. They appeared to be going for that all important third goal, which would have resulted in a much needed bonus point in their hunt for the playoffs. This would explain some of the chances that the Rhinos had late in the game, forcing Man of the Match Theo Zagar into some big saves.

Lynx Notes: Canadian Men's National Team coach Holger Osiek was at the match (scouting Niki Budalic perhaps?)...Recently signed local boy Sergio De Luca saw his first A-league action, coming in as a substitute late in the game...The official Lynx supporters, the Ultras (www.torontoultras.com) were in fine form this evening, drowning out their Rhino counterparts who made the trip up from Rochester...Although the city of Toronto strike is over, the Lynx will playing their remain July home games at York University...Toronto's next game is home to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Friday July 19th...This game will count in the standings to determine the winner of the inaugural Voyageurs Cup (www.voyageurscup.ca). The Lynx are 1-0-0 in this competition.

Lynx Player Ratings [score out of 10]

GK Theo Zagar [9] - Hands down Man-of-the-Match...Made a big save just minutes after Toronto took the lead...Theo then made a great reaction stop in close against Greg Simmonds late in the first half...He was just as good in the second half, saving his best for last with a diving save off Lenin Steenkamp in the 89th minute.

DF Joe Mattachione [7] - The defence had an effective night after a shaky first 30 minutes...Joe and his defensive partners watched cross roll through the box and onto the foot of a Rhino attacker, who put his shot off the post...As the game progressed Joe began to take control and was able to negate the Rochester pressure

DF Milan Kojic [7] - Like Mattachione, Milan quietly went about his business and was never left exposed...He did not contribute offensively as much as in previous matches, but he wasn't really needed in that area.

DF Adrian Serioux [6] - Adrian continue his defensive struggles early, but seemed to finally snap out of his funk in the second half...Early on he totally misjudged a cross and let his man get in behind him with a good chance at goal (he missed)...However, in the second half Serioux was a rock at the back and even contributed to some offensive thrusts.

MD Shawn Faria [7] - Shawn was inserted back into the starting lineup and was strong in the defensive midfield roll...Shawn helped start the play on the first goal, and even had a chance at goal in the second half - heading an Aristodemo cross directly at the keeper.

MD David DiPlacido [7] - It may be the physical resemblance, but David reminds me more and more of Paul Staltieri when he was first inserted into the National team midfield...David never gives up a chance to have a crack a goal, and in the second half he sent a couple of attempts just over the bar...David is still prone to defensive miscues, but his distribution in attack is improving.

MD Nikki Vigjnevic [8] - Nikki took a while to get going in this game, but once he did he played his typical aggressive and attacking game... Vignjevic was able to take the play to the Rhinos and open up space for his teammates.

MD Robbie Aristodemo [6] - Robbie seems to have been moved back out onto the wing permanently by coach Pinizzotto... His corner kicks were disappointing and he did not see much of the ball out on the right flank... Robbie did manage to get forward on a few occasions and exhibit his immense playmaking abilities, but he didn't really make his mark on the game.

MD Mauricio Vincello [6] - Mauricio was moved up to the left wing as part of the new look midfield... He looked out of place in the first half as he tried to push forward into attack... In the second half he was much more effective as he dropped back and allowed Faria and Vignjevic to take a more active roll in the offence.

F Niki Budalic [7] - Niki scored yet another pretty goal and is on his way to becoming Toronto's second consecutive A-league rookie of the year (Aristodemo)...Budalic increased his work rate for this match and even creating a few of his own chances.

F Irasto Knights [7] - Irasto made good in his return to the starting lineup, setting up Budalic for the winning goal early in the game...Knights continually tracked down balls and showed some fancy footwork until he was substituted in the 63rd minute.


F Steve Butcher [7] - Butcher came on for Knights and set up two good scoring opportunities....The second led directly to the awarding of a penalty kick that Ashton converted.

MD Brian Ashton [6] - Ashton was bumped from the starting lineup and came on for the final 18 minutes... Give him credit for working just as hard as a substitute, not giving any room for the Rochester midfield to operate... Brian also scored his first goal of the season.

MD Elvis Thomas [NR] - Elvis played 9 minutes, coming in for Robbie Aristodemo.

F Sergio De Luca [NR] - Sergio played 3 minutes, coming in for Niki Budalic. In those 3 minutes he managed to antagonize half the Rochester team as he was all over the field and in the face of the Rhino defenders...Notable start to his A-league career.

Coaching Staff:

Peter Pinizzotto [7] - His shakeup seemed to work, and he realized that Vincello would be better served hanging back in the second half...I would still like to see a defence of Mattachione, Kojic and Vincello, with Serioux moved out onto the wing to make use of his speed.

Lino Terra

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