September 8, 2019 League 1 Ontario--Vaughan Azzurri vs FC London (game report by Rocket Robin)

Result and details of the Sunday September 8, 2019 League 1 Ontario game between Vaughan Azzurri 
and FC London played at the North Maple Regional Park in Maple at 7:00pm.  

22 min...FCL Tomaz Alvarez GOAL...FCL Sean Fawsitt at VA 35 yard right sideline sends low cross 
between players to FCL Mohammad Reza Nafar at 22 yards near middle of field.  Nafar tips ball 
forward and to right for charging Alvarez who shoots  low 15 yarder from tough angle on right 
under defender guarding him and sprawling goalie Matt George at 5 yards.   

73 min...VA Maksym Kowal GOAL...VA Federico Leal jumps at 30 yards to head ball up middle knocking 
defender over as he does.  VA Jahsua Mills gets to ball at 22 yards and jumps to chip it forward.  
Retreating FCL Belai Halbouni tries to clear it at 8 yards but deflects it off VA player.  
Kowal pounds it low into goal from 4 yards with goalie on his knees reaching for ball.  
FCL Sean Fawsitt is injured inside net in the scramble.  

82 min...VA Jarek Whiteman GOAL...VA player's cornerkick from left has two players in box get head 
to ball but charging Whiteman as third player to connect to ball heads from 3 yards on right side 
of goal into top left corner of net beyond goalie Anthony Sokalski.  

84 min...FCL Mohammad Reza Nafar GOAL...FCL Ben Vyfschaft receives long pass up left on edge 
of box and has shot stopped by sliding goalie at 15 yard line.  Another FCL player at 20 yards 
taps centering pass to Nafar.  Nafar holds back shot as defender was in his way but steps to left 
and dribbles forward and takes low 8 yard shot from top left of 6 yard boxx under sprawling 
goalie covering near post.  

Final Score:....Vaughan Azzurri.....2.......FC London.......2........
(FC London wins two game series aggregate 4-3)

Attendance was actually an overflow crowd because the 300 seat aluminum stands were almost filled 
and fans ended up further down the sidelines including some maybe too close to the sideline.  
The weather was cooling fast as the sun set.  A lot of fans had brought blankets from their car.  
I had stopped off at home after the Masters v Sigma game and put on a sweatshirt under 
my windbreaker.  I didn't need mosquito spray tonight but I was glad I found my York 9 tuque 
in my car to keep my head warm.  The cold may have accounted for some of the fans not sitting 
in the aluminum stands but hopping around on the concrete surrounding the stands.  

FCL started off quickly with many shots until their first goal while Vaughan was caught offside 
something like four times in the first 32 minutes.  

Because of the away goal rules, when London was able to score at 84 minutes, the game was effectively 
over because Vaughan would have to score two goals so even with the five added minutes of time, 
FCL could just kill off the clock with running to the corners.  Without that goal the game would 
have gone straight to Penalty kicks.  

I was talking to some FCL fans after the game.  It shouldn't be too difficult to get to the GTA 
on a weekend but the final has already been scheduled for a Friday night so it can be broadcast 
on can't be Saturday as they've got the day tied up with a CPL league triple-header.  
It may only be a two hour drive from London on a weekend 200km away but try doing that in rush hour 
traffic on a Friday night!  

FCL defender/captain Randy Ribeiro was here just last weekend for his role as assistant coach 
to the FCL Women's team who won the L1O Women's Championship.  I remember him from the PDL era 
Toronto Lynx.  Men's head coach Michael Marcoccia is also the head coach of the women's team.  

Referee Filip Dujic gave out only one Yellow card this gameā€”to Julian De Sousa of Vaughan at 30 minutes 
which may have been a reason he was subbed off at 63 minutes.  

Vaughan head coach Patrice Gheiser made all five of his subs between 61 and 72 minutes in an effect 
to shake things up.  The fresh legs appeared to work with two goals in the ten minutes after that.  
FCL only made three and two were during added time as a time eating exercise.  

Best non scoring chances were at 1 minute when FCL Randy Ribero sent a 22 yard freekick from the 
right into the player wall and then shot the rebound well over the bar.  8 minutes had FCL Mohammad 
Reza Nafar tap a pass to FCL Connor Wilson whose low 15 yarder from the left has tipped wide right 
by the goalie.  Next minute had FCL Chad Gopaul take a low 25 yarder from the left that the sprawling 
goalie saved on the right post and a defender cleared.  31 minutes had Ribero's cornerkick from the 
right has the leaping goalie make an overhead catch in front of FCL Bradley Heath on the left post.  
52 minutes had Nafar dribble on the left side of the box on a 1 v 3 then shot a 10 yarder over the net.  
62 minutes had FCL Ethan Gopaul blast a 12 yarder over the net after FCL Tomas Alvarez dribbled up the 
right to the end line.  77 minutes had Wilson dribble on the right side of the box but rolled the ball 
wide right from 6 yards as he fell over.  Next minute had Alvarez take a low 15 yard shot from 
the right that was stopped by the sprawling goalie.  

Vaughan not advancing means that the Canadian Championship will have a different L1O representative 
for the 2020 tournament.  Oakville has represented the league before but that was a playoff against 
the Quebec league rep to advance and play USL Ottawa Fury when the tourney had only five teams.  
Toronto FC are only playing their third game of the 2019 competition next week.  It may be the only 
time we get them to use Canadian starters because of the minimum three in the rules.  This year in MLS 
games we're lucky to get one or two and sometimes none like their visit to play Montreal a few weeks ago.  

So now we know the final four.  Oakville Blue Devils, FC London, Masters FA, and Alliance United.  
The semi-finals will also be two game series held the next two weekends.  

This weekend I was able to get to three of the four games! I also attended the Canada vs Cuba game 
and the Toronto FC II USL League One game.  Five games and four days is a bit much but every game 
is 'the big game'.  

Rocket Robin
twitter @RocketRobin01  

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