September 8, 2019 League 1 Ontario--Master's FA vs Sigma FC (game report by Rocket Robin)

    
Result and details of the Sunday September 8, 2019 League 1 Ontario game between Master's FA 
and Sigma FC played at L'Amoreaux Park in Scarborough at 1:00pm.  

36 min...MFA Dante Walkes wins Penalty kick call from referee Hassane Rifai as Sigma Francis Kwashie 
pulls him down.  Rifai first looks over at assistant Kuzan Weekes to make sure it wasn't 
an offside call.  Kwashie also earns a Yellow card on the play.  

37 min...MFA Dante Walkes GOAL...Walkes blasts Penalty kick low to slight right as goalie Jack Cristini 
dives left.  

51 min...MFA Frances Ameyaw GOAL...Sigma goalie is out to 25 yards to clear a step ahead 
of charging Ameyaw down the middle.  The goalie shanks the kick with a pop up and it spins backwards 
but Ameyaw is behind him to get 7 yard tap-in into empty net.  

59 min...MFA Anthony Wright GOAL...MFA Triston Frankson crosses from 18 yards along left end line 
and Wright in alignment with the right post heads 8 yarder into top left corner of net.  

69 min...Sigma Markell Saddler GOAL...Sigma Greg Moulopoulos cornerkick from right has Saddler 
head 6 yarder into right side of net beyond goalie Spiridon Koskinas.  

83 min...MFA Marc Jankovic GOAL...MFA Akeem Preistly jukes on rop right corner of box, passes 
right to MFA Daunte Walkes who heads across to open MFA Jankovic on left.  Jankovic takes 
midair 8 yard shot from left over flying goalie into short side of goal.  

86 min...Sigma RED card...Samuel Gardner earns his second Yellow card for kicking a ball after 
the whistle was blown.  His ball hit a fallen MFA players in the back as he was sitting 
on the ground.  His first card was at 70 minutes for a tackle deep in the Sigma end.  

90 min...MFA wins a Penalty kick as a player is pulled down just inside the Sigma box.  

92 min...MFA Akeem Preistly GOAL...Preistly takes low Penalty kick that goalie dive left 
for stop and gets piece of but pushes it into left corner of net. 

Final Score:...Master's FA......5.......Sigma FC......1........
(Master's wins two game quarterfinal on 7-2 aggregate)  

Attendance started off low but grew to about 70 as the game went on.  This game 
was rescheduled from the same time on Saturday.  I hope it was because of the Canadian 
national team game in downtown Toronto on Saturday night.  The decision made it easy 
for me that I could be here with enough time to get crosstown for the 7:00pm game in Maple.  
The weather was rather cool with storm clouds overhead (which never ended up bothering us) 
and a gusty wind that spooked the grounds crew to erect then collapse the tents usually 
put up to shelter the official's table and player benches before the game started.   

This was a tough day for Sigma.  They were already behind 2-1 on aggregate with a late 
freekick two weeks ago giving Master's the win and the important away goals.  Before 
the playoffs started, Sigma sent out a tweet congratulating 13 of their players for 
returning to school—various NCAA and Canadian Universities.  This happens every year which 
is why Sigma fizzles at the end of the season and makes an early exit from the playoffs 
(exception last year when the team was stacked with more overage players looking 
to break in to the Forge FC CPL team).  This year the 13 were most of their starters.  
Earlier this week the goalie of the playoff game, Luke Iacobellis, was called up for 
Forge FC to sit on the bench as the backup as goalie Quillan Roberts left to play for 
Guyana in the CONCACAF Nations League.  That left Sigma down to a choice of Jack Cristini 
and Calum Morrison both born in 2003.  Both looked small physically against the brawnier 
MFA team.  Sigma defender Cody Green was also serving a Red card suspension for a late 
tackle near the end of their last game.  

This game was rough from the start.  MFA Samar Hamade who had scored in the first game 
of the series was injured and had to be subbed out at the 8 minute mark.  I figured 
he was injured at the 1 minute mark taking a shot that was blocked then finally collapsing 
at 7 minutes after limping far away from the play.  Daunte Walkes (a 2002) entered and fit 
right in and was trusted with taking the Penalty kick.  

I make notes about the exciting plays but also those delays because of injury and today 
had about as many for each event which never usually happens.  Let's say it was a close 
checking game but Master's dominated in game play leading in shots actually on net 
as 14 to 5 (from a L1O tweet).  I was expecting goalie Cristini would be bashed in the box 
leaping for crosses playing against players a foot taller than him and outweighing him 
by more than 50 lbs.  He avoided a few hits by punching the ball away.  Almost as many hits 
were taken by MFA goalie Spiridon Koskinas with Sigma players plowing into him.    

Master's scoring their first goal before halftime really put the game away by increasing 
the aggregate and meant Sigma then had to score two goals just to force extra time.  
Master's never let off the pressure and put it away early in the second and poured it on.  
MFA only drew one Yellow card despite it being so rough and that was Randy-Durand Misse Miyenga 
for pulling down a Sigma player just outside the MFA box only one minute after the first 
MFA goal.  Sigma players drew three Yellow cards and the Red and gave up two Penalty kicks. 

A nightmare for me was tracking the MFA players as they wore graduated pink shirts with 
white numbers but the only good thing was it was daylight so it wasn't as bad as their 
night games.  

Marc Jankovic came into the game for MFA at 67 minutes in his usual spot as defender.  
I hadn't realized this was only his third game of the season.  Revenge for him as his first 
game was the regular season game against Sigma where they were beaten 2-1.  I've been watching 
him since the beginning of this century with such teams as Metro Lions and Serbian White Eagles 
as he's born in 1980.  He said after the game if I give him good write ups maybe he'll get 
into more games! He didn't get near the small Sigma goalie but he's listed as 6'7” 
on Canadasoccer.com as he played beach soccer for the national team.    

Best non-scoring chances were at 10 minutes when MFA Atif Muhammad Ali took a low 40 yard 
freekick from the left sideline and MFA Daunte Walkes in a crowd of players tipped the ball 
but the goalie caught it.  13 minutes had Walkes take a 15 yard shot from the left that hit 
the sliding goalie and bounced off the near post for a cornerkick.  MFA Francis Ameyaw got 
to flick an 8 yard header on the subsequent cornerkick that deflected off the right post 
and out of the box.  27 minutes had MFA Shaquille Agard cross from 35 yards on the right 
and the charging MFA Triston Frankson one-touched a 15 yard blast from the left over the bar.  
At 39 minutes Sigma Samuel Gardner blasted a low 20 yard freekick up the middle under 
the leaping player wall and the goalie smothered the ball on the right side of goal.  
Second half started and within the first minute MFA Frankson ran down the left and his 
low 10 yard shot deflected off the sliding goalie and over him on the short side and off 
the post but the bounce back enabled him to grab it.  58 minutes had MFA Agard take 
a 33 yard freekick from the left that the goalie palmed over the bar after the wind hung 
up the ball.  76 minutes had MFA Preistly take a cornerkick from the left that MFA Czerkawki 
headed from 8 yards from the right and a defender on the left cleared it.  78 minutes had 
Sigma Markell Saddler tapped a pass on the left and he hit the bar on a 10 yard shot.  

I got easily distracted by the whistle being blown at the field beside this one further 
to the west.  I suppose if you're playing it's not a problem but I kept expecting play to stop.  
I could see one of the youth team's playing was ANB.  I saw an ANB team two weeks ago when 
these two teams played at the field beside it at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre.

One annoying thing was the announcer continuing to mispronounce the visiting team's name 
when announcing the starters, subs, and Yellow cards.  She had a West Indian monotone 
airport-flight-announcers type voice but may have been reading from a typo in the script.  
It was always 'Stigma FC'*.  I thought I heard it wrong the first time but a young woman 
also turned around to say “It's SIGMA!”.  I had to ask her about her concern after the game.  
She is Elijah Larin's girlfriend and she was down at BMO Field last night watching his 
brother Cyle Larin play on the Canadian team.  

*A stigma is a mark of disgrace like a shame or dishonour.  Like “That guy will be 
an ex-convict for the rest of his life”.  Hmm just the opposite of the pride and prestige 
if you say you've played in the Sigma FC system.  However for me, 'Stigma FC' would make 
a great fantasy football team name if I ever had the time to spare to join one. 

I asked Master's head coach Rick Titus before the game if he'd had a chance to speak 
to CPL York 9 FC's Ryan Telfer who yesterday played for Trinidad & Tobago in the CONCACAF 
Nations League against Martinique.  I knew they must have crossed paths at Toronto FC 
as Titus was a coach in their system until a few years ago.  Titus didn't get his 
international career going until he was 33 and finally played for T&T after wasting 
a decade waiting for Canada to call.  Nope they didn't talk before Telfer made his decision.  
Telfer sounded undecided when asked at the York 9 press conference after the last home game.   

At the time of my notes made later on Sunday and knowing the other winners were Oakville 
and London, I still didn't know the semi-final opponent draw.  I was told by some superfans 
later in the day but they got the pairings wrong. 

Rocket Robin
robing@eol.ca
twitter @RocketRobin01  

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