May 20, 2024
  • May 20, 2024

Rose City Rattled: TFC Academy Triumphs Over Windsor In Home Opener

By on May 12, 2024 0 512 Views

Although the Weather Network correctly predicted the rain and wind that shadowed over Downsview Park’s BMO Training Ground on Saturday, what wasn’t forecasted was a downpour of goals by Toronto FC’s U-19 Academy in their League1 Ontario Championship home opener against the visiting Windsor City FC.

Taking the pitch in this third match week, both sides were seeking to capitalize on their recent successes to maintain momentum in the tables in the hopes of promotion at season’s end.

For TFC Academy, although 2024 kicked off with an unfortunate 3-0 loss to Premiership-side North Toronto Nitros in L1 Cup action, the MLS development squad had maintained a perfect 2W-0D-0L record in regular season action with wins over both Darby FC (4-1) and Master’s FC (4-2).

Photo Credit: TFC Academy

Oppositely, Windsor City had seen both ups and downs so far this season, having lost their L1 Cup matchup to BVB IA Waterloo (1-2) and their first league match to FC London in a tense bout that included eight bookings, a kick from the spot, and ultimately a 2-1 loss. They would eventually regain composure the following week with a commanding 5-2 victory over North Mississauga at home.

Unfortunately for said visitors, this match would not bear the same fruit as previous weeks. Although maintaining a strong back line throughout the first half – truly utilizing the ‘anti-football’ play style – Windsor would lack the ability to completely hold off TFC’s attack and this would climax with division-leading scorer Luca Accetolla netting his fifth goal in three matches.

Windsor would put more pressure on the home side in the second with a change in tactics in an attempt to equalize. Speaking after the game, WCFC head Coach Valter Consenza spoke to this change in tactics:

“we try to play with what we have. We play with triggers… we come back better in the second period but on our best moments the counterattack [got us] and they scored.”

Windsor’s offence had to adapt quite considerably in the 2024 off-season as several key departures left Rose City’s finest with some glaring holes, namely Windsor-native Gianfranco Facchineri and Owen Antoniuk – the latter of whom netted 13 goals in 20 games last season.

Sadly, Windsor’s woes would continue to haunt them in the second 45 as keeper Bowen Stephen would allow two more to get past him as defensive errors plagued the backline. Emile Kisse’s goal at the 67′ would best capitalize on this as missed tackled and miscommunication between Stephen and his defence provided Kisse with the opportunity for an easy top-corner chip in.

It would not be necessary to seal the victory, but Bradley Takamo’s 84′ minute tap in would be the final nail in the coffin for a Windsor side that was slowly but surely resurging.

Photo Credit: Nelson Mahmoudi

TFC Academy Head Coach Dino Lopez spoke with Northern Tribune regarding this season’s results so far, highlighting how he sees these wins as part of a plan that goes far beyond the 2024 title.

“Our game is the same… it’s the infinite game and we are are always trying to improve everyday… it’s never a linear process but today we went out and tried to get better in understanding how we can beat this team but also individually how we can keep focus and a high standard amongst our players.”

When asked about his role in developing a squad which historically has produced quality talent such as Mo Babouli and Alex Zis, Lopez highlighted that he sees himself more as a guide than as a developer. “I don’t develop anyone, [TFC] created an environment and quality players develop themselves in that environment… we give them the tools and resources that we can.”

Photo Credit: League1 Ontario

He added that being a part of the Toronto FC and MLS systems, he has been granted the honour of working alongside what he sees as the best players from around the city and province.

With a three-point lead over second placed FC London in the L1ON-Championship division, TFC Academy will now have one week to prepare for their second home game of 2024 as they host North Mississauga on May 18th at 3pm.

Windsor also get to rest up at home for the next week as the 1W-0D-1L Unionville Milliken men’s side take the trip down to Acumen Stadium at St. Clair’s College on the 17th. Rose City soccer fans can purchase their Windsor City FC Season Pass here for the rest of 2024.

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