L1O-CPL Doubleheader: Sigma Wins Big, Forge Held
Goals were the theme in the final League1 Ontario and Canadian Premier League double-header of the season. Sigma came away with an impressive 5-1 victory over FC London, while Forge FC and York United played to a 3-3 draw.
Here is a recap of what went down at Tim Hortons Field in Saturday’s action.
Sigma routes FC London, qualifies for League1 Ontario Premier next season
The first match of the day saw six goals as Sigma ran away with a 5-1 defeat of FC London. As a result of their victory, the Mississauga-based side became the ninth team to earn a spot in next year’s League1 Ontario Premier Division.
Sigma came off a 2-2 stalemate with Darby in last week’s game, failing to make the most of their chances. The result practically ended their playoff hopes. As for London, they came off a midweek win, topping Windsor City FC 3-2 at home. It stretched their unbeaten run to nine matches.
The opening exchanges saw the visitors look more likely of opening the scoring. London had three chances inside the first seven minutes, but failed to capitalize on any of them. They would be made to pay in the tenth minute as Domenico Folino was afforded too much space, cutting in off the wing before beating Christian Dovakos with a low shot.
Five minutes later, Sigma doubled their advantage. Former Forge man Kadell Thomas was played in with an excellent through ball. The winger made no mistake in chipping the ball over an onrushing Dovakos.
As the first half progressed, it looked as if Sigma would add a few more goals. They looked the more dangerous side, continuing to create chances. Yet, it would be London who found the back of the net on the stroke of half time. After a defensive mistake, Owora Boateng did well to sneak the ball past Dino Bontis to halve Sigma’s lead.
By the hour mark, the home side would pull clear, scoring three times in six minutes. Thomas was again involved, finding fellow former Forge teammate Emery Welshman with a deflected cross. Welshman made no mistake in slotting it home.
Minutes later, Thomas again played provider, this time to Forge draft pick Miles Green, who expertly put the ball home. The last goal in the sequence saw Green tee up Welshman, who converted his effort with ease to put the game well out of reach.
The game petered out after the flurry of Sigma goals, as the home side cruised to the 5-1 victory. Sigma jumped into ninth place after the result, as North Toronto Nitros fell to St. Catharine’s Roma Wolves later in the day. With 31 points from 19 games, Sigma still has a small chance at making the playoffs, though a Burlington win will end those hopes. Wrapping up the regular season for Sigma will be a home game at Paramount Fine Foods Centre next Saturday, where they will welcome North Toronto Nitros.
As for London, the defeat was their first in 10 games. They stay 11th, and could fall one more spot should Woodbridge Strikers beat Guelph United in one of Sunday’s standout matches. London will welcome North Mississauga next Saturday to close their season.
Forge 3-3 York United: Six-goal thriller gives both teams a point
Despite a first half with few scoring opportunities, but the second half came to life as Forge FC York United played to an exciting 3-3 draw. While it was not the result either club was looking for, it capped off an entertaining day of play.
The Hamiltonians came into the match off the back of a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Cavalry last week Friday. It halted a run of four games unbeaten for Forge, who made just one change to their starting eleven with recent signing Beni Badibanga had his first start for the club, replacing Woobens Pacius.
As for York, they played to an entertaining 3-3 draw away to Atletico Ottawa last weekend. The Nine Stripes made just two changes to their starting eleven, including a debut for goalkeeper Adisa De Rosario, who recently joined the club on loan from Toronto FC.
In a first half largely void of serious chances, Forge took more initiative. The only goal of the half came in the 27th minute. Tristan Borges found a pocket of space on the right hand side, providing a gorgeous cross to Forge captain Kyle Bekker. The latter made no mistake in hitting the ball first time, beating De Rosario with the shot.
York responded minutes into the second half. After some solid work to keep the ball in their attacking third, Brem Soumaoro played the ball out to Kevin Santos, who took a couple of touches before whipping in an excellent shot past Triston Henry. The ball hit the inside of the post before going in.
The Hammers retook the lead just seven minutes later. Bekker played provider this time, finding Terran Campbell with his cross. Campbell got a touch on the ball, with De Rosario caught off guard.
The visitors did not crack despite going down. Within 15 minutes of going back down, they managed to take the lead. First, a mistake from Alejandro Hojabrpour in the midfield Brian Wright given a chance. The striker beat a couple of players before firing a shot past Henry to level the game.
Minutes later, Martin Nash’s side went in front. In what were a comedy of errors from Forge defensively, a deflected header went straight up in the air. Former Hammer Mo Babouli got his head on the ball, converting the chance. As York celebrated the goal, the Forge players were left dumbfounded on how they conceded there.
But, like last week, York was unable to hold on to the lead. Just a few minutes later, Forge received a contentious penalty. Campbell’s attempted cross hit Noah Abatneh’s hand, with the referee pointing to the spot. Campbell took the ensuing spot kick, and although he was initially denied by De Rosario, the striker tapped home the rebound to return the game to parity.
Forge nearly won the game, as Campbell stole the ball from De Rosario. Looking for his hattrick, Campbell was unable to get a shot in, with Bekker ultimately directing a shot towards goal. However, it was saved on the line by Abatneh, keeping the score at 3-3.
In the end, neither side was able to claim all three points. The result leaves Forge in third spot, moving on to 30 points from 20 games. They stay at home next weekend, where they will host HFX Wanderers, winners of the earlier match 3-0 against Vancouver FC.
As for York, they jump into the final playoff spot, one point ahead of Ottawa, who still has their match against league leaders Pacific on Sunday. The Nine Stripes will head out west for their next league game, taking on Cavalry.