By Rocket Robin Soccer In Toronto
Friday October 7, 2011
Mississauga Eagles FC 0 Toronto Croatia 4
Hershey Fields, Mississauga
16 min … TC Tonci Pirija GOAL
MEFC players can’t clear ball from their own end and Pirija shoots 20 yarder down middle through players into left side of net.
34 min … TC Marin Vucemilovic Grgic GOAL
TC Tihomir Maletic intercepts defender’s pass at center line and rushes up right side. He’s eventually caught by a defender but rolls pass from 15 yards across the box and Vucemilovic Grgic on left shoots low 15 yarder into right side of net beyond diving goalie Melford James Jr.
54 min … TC Tihomir Maletic GOAL
TC Marin Vucemilovic Grgic on rush on right rolls cross to Maletic who shoots low 10 yarder through the legs of the diving goalie into the center of the net.
85 min … MEFC RED card
Shaun MacDonald earns a direct ejection from referee Justin Tasev for a collision between him and TC Jonatan Bustamante (who’d just come into the game one minute earlier) near the center line. Both players are hurt on the play.
92 min … TC Tihomir Maletic GOAL
Maletic from 40 yards on run on left holds off continuous bumping by MEFC Brandon Wellington and rolls 15 yard shot from left into right corner of net.
Attendance was about 150 on this cool evening. It was already dark before the game kicked off. The crowd was divided about equal in supporters.
I arrived to the usual field and noticed the referees warming up on that field where all the fences and the portable benches had been removed and the turf on the sideline had been rolled up. I thought the game would have to be cancelled but instead everything was set up at Hershey Field #2 which was just the length of the closed field away north from the dressing rooms.
Toronto Croatia dominated the game from the opening kickoff but a key moment in keeping the momentum going was in first half injury time when MEFC Jose Melo took a cornerkick from the right that MEFC Gregoire Akcelrod in the middle of the box jumped in a crowd of players and headed the ball downward from 5 yards to the left post that had TC Tonci Pirija duck to head the ball off the line.
Antonio Ilic earned the shutout for Toronto Croatia but didn’t have to make many difficult saves.
Referee Justin Tasev kept the game under control. He gave out four cards to MEFC including the Red and one to Croatia. The Red card and three minutes later a Yellow both given to MEFC were needed to stop a game of hacking from breaking out as the score had gotten out of hand.
Best non-scoring chances were at 1 minute when TC Tihomir Maletic dribbled up the middle until surrounded by defenders and then tapped back for TC Marin Vucemilovic Grgic to kick a 22 yard roller that the diving goalie saved on the left post.
10 minutes had MEFC Jose Melo centered a pass from the right and shoot over the net from 8 yards.
23 minutes had TC Tonci Pirija shoot from 25 yards through a crowd of players that was caught just under the bar. Injury time had that important goal line save that I mentioned.
53 minutes had MEFC Antoine Paul rush back to save a ball on the line that was sent over the sliding goalie at 12 yards—this was undone one minute later by the TC goal.
63 minutes had MEFC Shaun MacDonald shoot a 25 yarder from the right that was just wide of the top left corner of the net after that ball had been worked across to the right side of the box.
67 minutes had TC Hayden Fitzwilliams take a 25 yard shot from the left that the goalie had to fly over to save and a defender cleared an 8 yard rebound. The next minute MEFC responded when Shawn Brown was tapped over a centering pass and a 12 yarder over the net.
78 minutes had Vucemilovic Grgic tapped a short pass to the left and he shot over the net from 15 yards. The next minute Maletic took a 25 yard freekick from wide right that the goalie pushed wide left of the post.
83 minutes and MEFC took a cornerkick from the right that MEFC Martin Artale nodded down from 10 yards on the left which bounced to the goalie. A minute later Vucemilovic Grgic crossed from the left to a TC player who blasted a 20 yarder that the sprawling goalie batted down. During the game Croatia also had two more headed goals called back on offside flags.
There was a bit of confusion about the result of this game with a 4-0 scoreline that I cleared up with the PA announcer for most of the GTA teams who had come here to observe. The ‘win’ just means that Toronto Croatia earns three points but MEFC only needs to win by ANY score to force a 30 minute mini-game right after the return match next weekend. That actually is a smart marketing strategy. I remember the 2007 Final which was stretched to a two game final. With Toronto Croatia holding a three game lead in the total goal contest attendance plummeted as the result was almost a given.
This was the last CSL game this season to be played at Hershey Fields. If MEFC do advance as the seventh place team to the semi-finals, they will play away to one of the higher ranked teams in what then become one game playoffs the rest of the way.