Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Greater London Ontario Cup Results

Gunners make it to Ontario Cup Finals!

Under 15 Boys Tier 2
In the first of the U15 Boys Tier 2 Semi-Finals on Saturday afternoon, Oshawa Turul faced North York Hearts Azzurri in a close encounter with plenty of chances. Goals by Jason Farrow and Eric Leal gave Oshawa the victory by a final score of 2-1, with Roberto Galati replying for North York. Their oponent in the final will be Greater London Gunners as they slipped past Sault Tenaris Civics by a score of 1-0. Josh Pongitore score for the Gunners as they will meet Oshawa in the Final on Sunday, September 19th at 10:00 a.m. at The Soccer Centre in Vaughan.

U15 Boys Tier 2 Provincial Champion DecidedOn September 19, in the first game of the day at The Soccer Centre in Vaughan of the 2004 AOL Ontario Cup Finals, Oshawa Turul faced Greater London Gunners. This was going to be an entertaining contest with the winner being crowned Ontario Cup Champion. Oshawa started the game strong, determined to score first. London was well prepared however and began to counter attack quite well. This made the game go back and forth, with quality scoring opportunities on both sides of the pitch. At the half the score was still 0-0. As the second half was underway there was a sense of urgency for both teams. The pace of the game quickened, creating excitement for all the fans in attendance. The crowd erupted when Oshawa's George Trotter scored in the 75th minute giving them a one goal advantage. This was enough for Oshawa to claim the 1-0 victory and be named the 2004 AOL Ontario Cup Champion.

Thunder bow out in Ontario Cup Semi-Finals!

Under 12 BoysIn the U12 Boys division, North Mississauga squared off against Greater London Thunder at Centennial Stadium in Kitchener on Saturday morning. North Mississauga didn't waste anytime getting on the scoresheet as Omari Charlton scored in the 1st minute of play followed by strikes from Hector Morales Pinedo in the 8th minute, Jose DeSousa in the 10th minute, Ryan McLeod in the 18th minute, Omari Charlton again in the 20th minute and Dylan Di Turi in the 29th minute. London responded in the 30th minute with a nice strike of their own by Steven Miller in the 30th minute to reduce the deficit to 6-1 for North Mississauga. In the second half, the offense dried up slightly as both teams exchanged goals with London's Cameron van Bommel scoring in the 56th minute and Hector Morales Pinedo scoring his second of the game for the Panthers in the 57th minute. The final score ended 7-2 for North Mississauga as they booked their place in the Finals in September.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Gunners Advance to Ontario Cup Final

August 30,2004

Ontario Cup Semi-final played August 28,2004 in Markham Greater London Gunners
vs. Sault Tenaris Civics
The GL Gunners played a tough, back and forth game that could have gone either way.
The Gunners went ahead with 4 minutes left in the first half on a goal from Josh Pungitore.
Through gritty determination, self sacrifice, and a couple of key saves, the Gunners held on to take the day 1-0.
The boys now move on to the Ontario Cup Final for Tier 2 - U15Boys, scheduled for September 19 at 10:00am at the Soccer Centre in Vaughan.
If you are in the neighborhood, drop by. We'd love to see you.
Congratulations to all the boys, Jim and Gerry.

Alan Kain
Greater London Gunners

Friday, August 27, 2004

City plagued heading into Locust final

Morris Dalla CostaThe London Free Press

My, oh my, how things change.
"We don't stink. That's rude saying that, " Harry Gauss said on the other end of the phone. "We don't stink, we just aren't playing very well."
Two weeks ago his Canadian Professional Soccer League team was hovering around the top of the Western Conference. But three losses later, City is 6-6-2 and struggling, looking below rather than up.
City plays Windsor Border Stars tonight at Cove Road in the second game of the Locust Challenge Cup. The Border Stars won the opener 4-1, the third time this year that Windsor beat London.
If City wins tonight, the teams will go into an immediate mini-game of two 15-minute halves.
"It's guaranteed win night," said Gauss, whose team desperately needs a win.
A guarantee may be Gauss's way of motivating his team but it will need a lot more than motivation. Windsor has beaten City like a tin drum every time this year. With City playing as poorly as it has been, the only thing that's guaranteed is a struggle.
"Why would you say that? We've been playing great," Gauss said. "I hope you note the sarcasm. We haven't been playing well. We lack confidence coming right out of the dressing room. We were too comfortable when we were playing well. It's nice to be complacent but you have to live up to to that.
"We got a lot of chances to move into first place because other teams have been doing the job for us. We haven't been doing the job for ourselves."
Gauss is like the proverbial one-armed paper hanger, a guy who has his hands full doing most everything that needs to be done for the team.
He has to be careful about money spent, which means he can't sign all the players he wants to sign. And soccer players are known to have fragile egos, so you have to be as much a psychologist as you do coach. When a team plays well, everyone is willing to take credit. When it doesn't play well, it's always someone else's fault.
Gauss is frustrated right now. He's frustrated by the lack of success and by injuries. Having to fill spots on the roster is nothing knew for this team at this time of year. It's as predictable as kids going back to school.
City always seems to have to fill several spots because of injuries or players heading elsewhere.
Gone are Nathan Greene and Attila Salamon. Paul Munster, who leads the league in scoring, missed a game because of suspension but will play tonight. The loss of central defender Marco Peeters to injury was devastating.
Gauss gets strong midfielder Gentan Dervishi back tonight. He has been out since the start of the season. But filling the other spots hasn't been easy.
"I've tried to make some deals. I'm trying hard to plug some holes but everyone wants the farm for a chicken," said Gauss. "I can't do that. (The other teams) know I'm in a tough spot."
Gauss hopes things get back on track as some of his injured players return. His team is still involved in the Locust Challenge Cup and Cove Road will host Canada's Challenge Cup on Labour Day weekend with $10,000 at stake.
The key player in all this is Munster. Gauss feared that some team needing a goal scorer would come in and scoop him. That hasn't happened -- yet.
If that does happen, Gauss won't be worrying so much about having to trade the farm for a chicken.
He'll have to worry about how to make chicken salad out of chicken feathers.

Friday, August 13, 2004

London soccer not in backseat

Ryan Pyette, Free Press Sports Reporter
2004-08-13 01:44:25

With 13 local soccer teams alive in Ontario Cup play, it's clear London doesn't take a backseat to anybody on the competitive pitch. Of course, you'd still put mighty Mississauga in the driver's seat with their 18 Cup teams and massive Ontario Soccer Association registration numbers. That slides London into the provincial passenger side -- but, hey, there are a lot of other Ontario communities that would love to ride soccer shotgun.
It doesn't take real long to figure out why, year after year, the Forest City manages to hang around in big tournaments like the Cup. The largest reason is the number of players and teams here -- there's been ongoing fanfare that soccer is the sport of choice for the majority of Londoners, even over hockey.
There's a lot of people involved in the sport here and plenty of strong players from around Southwestern Ontario who want to play for London, which naturally expands the local talent pool.
London Portuguese men's premier division midfielder Phil Pacheco, for instance, lives in Sarnia and drives in for games and practices. He's 27 now and he's played for London teams since he was 14.
At first, his parents, Nuno and Maria, or his brother and sister shuttled him around, but now it's just him -- he just finished driving a Grand Prix that had 270,000 kms on it.
"I thought about moving to London a few times, but I have a good job here," the quality control employee at Sarnia's UBE auto plant said. "I never thought about changing soccer teams. All my friends are with Portuguese and there's nowhere else I'd rather play."
The most intriguing aspect of London's success is the number of clubs that field competitive teams, which means many of the top players are spread throughout the city on different teams. Look at the breakdown of the names still involved in the Cup: there's a couple of London United squads, North London, Greater London, Forest United, etc.
In Toronto, there might be 400 talented players trying out for one travel team. In London, a coach will get a small fraction of that turnout, then have to coax the maximum from the group to beat the bigger centres. Some of the more high-profile local teams have a pool system -- so if someone isn't performing, he or she will lose that spot to a more productive player.
At the younger ages, the threat of being replaced may seem sadistic, but it does create the blueprint for success: (a) it means more players exposed to a high level of soccer, and (b) they're hungrier.
To boot, the clubs work on the assumption that if they have a good team with a lot of potential at, for example, the U-13 level, they'll work to funnel resources toward that age group for tournaments and better competitive games.
Some say the Ontario Cup isn't a great indicator of which teams are tops because the NCAA basketball-style draw means many good squads get knocked out early.
A few think the men's Cup final four, which boasts two London teams for the first time, is not top-notch and that a club such as Benfica slid into its first-ever semifinal without playing many quality sides.
Those on the other side of the fence say Benfica, like a lot of London clubs before them, rose to the occasion and beat whatever was thrown their way.
It's become a London trait in the Cup with eight titles in the past two years.
And don't think experience and a team's ability to conquer the unknown aren't important factors in Cup play.
"Our team always seems to raise its level for the Cup games," said Portuguese men's manager Carlos Miranda said.
"That's why I'm a little afraid if we win our semifinal and face Benfica in the final, our guys will look at it like it's just another Western Ontario Soccer League game instead of the provincial championship."
It just goes to show: when you're shooting for king of the road, you never expect your final roadblock to be your next door neighbour.
Saturday, Aug. 28
U-18 girls: London United vs. Oakville at Oshawa Civic Centre, 3 p.m.
U-15 boys (Tier II): Greater London Gunners vs. Sault Ste. Marie at Markham Mount Joy, 5 p.m.
U-14 girls: North London Supernova vs. Oshawa Kicks at Burlington's Sherwood Forest Park, 3 p.m.
U-13 girls: London United 91 Hurricane vs. Mississauga at Mount Joy, 11 a.m.
U-13 boys: North London Cobras vs. Markham at Toronto's Centennial Stadium, 11 a.m.
U-12 girls: London United Cyclone vs. London City Flash at Scarborough's Birchmount Stadium, 1 p.m.
U-12 boys: Greater London Thunder vs. North Mississauga at Sherwood Forest Park, 11 a.m.
Sunday, Aug. 29
Men: Portuguese vs. Cambridge at Birchmount Stadium, 2 p.m.; Benfica vs. Ottawa Royals at Birchmount, 4:30 p.m.
Women: London United Lightning vs. North York at Centennial Stadium, 2 p.m.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

City enjoys a Super Day

City enjoys a super day for soccerLondon defeated Brampton 2-1 and also was awarded the Canada Cup final.
Free Press staff
2004-08-03 01:48:49

London City completed its holiday Monday with two victories, one on the field and one off, edging the Brampton Hitmen 2-1 last night in Canadian Professional Soccer League action at Cove Road field. City midfielder Eris Tafaj provided the heroics when his rocket off the far post in the 83rd minute gave London its first CPSL win over the Hitmen.
Tafaj took a brilliant feed from forward Kadian Leckey and beat Brampton keeper Roy Blanche with a perfect shot.
The win improves City to 5-3-2 and catapulted them over Brampton into second place in the Western Conference. The Hitmen fell to 4-4-3.
London's first victory came earlier in the day when it learned it won the bid to play host to the Canada Cup championship weekend Sept. 3-6.
London has held the Cup championship tournament ever since its inception in 2001. City coach and general manager Harry Gauss said the organization has worked hard to get it.
"I think it's a great compliment to our support staff," Gauss said. "Our support staff is first-rate."
By hosting the final games, City also earns the wild-card berth for the weekend -- a nice perk after the team was eliminated on Friday night when the Windsor-Detroit Border Stars edged City 5-4.
Gauss said Tafaj's game-winner capped a great day for City soccer.
"And if you're going to score the winner, you may as well make it a beautiful winner," he said.
It had looked as if London's only victory of the day was going to be the Cup bid.
Brampton opened the scoring in the 41st minute when Paul Daccobert ran down a long feed from midfielder Angel Velasquez and chipped his shot over London goalie Haidar Al-Shaibani for the half's only goal.
The teams traded opportunities early in the second half before City's Paul Munster stripped a Brampton defender of the ball in the penalty area and scored to even the game at 1-1.
The goal was Munster's league-leading 11th on the season and set the scene for Tafaj's late winner.
Gauss said it was the team's best win of the season.
"That one was satisfying. We showed a lot of character out there and showed what we can really do."
City is at home against the St. Catharines Roma Wolves Friday at 8:38 p.m.

Monday, August 02, 2004



Toronto Supra striker Michael DiLuca struck the opening goal, his 8th of the season in a vital 2-0 win over Vaughan Shooters
London City scored an important come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Brampton Hitmen at Cove Road on Civic Holiday Monday to move the Southwestern Ontario team into the runner-up position in the Western Conference standings.The game was also highlighted by London forward Paul Munster's fourth goal in less than a week, his 11th this season to lead the CPSL goalscoring title race.The game signalled the resumption of league play in the CPSL following four weekend third round games in the Open Canada Cup.On Thursday night, Toronto Supra scored a 2-0 shutout win over Vaughan Shooters at Centennial Stadium Thursday night to move the unbeaten Supra ahead of Shooters in the three-way race for the Eastern Conference title. Brampton forward Paul Daccobert opened the scoring in the rescheduled league game at London on Monday night, the goal coming at the 41st minute for a 1-0 half-time score.Paul Munster tied the game for London at 57 minutes and Eris Tafaj struck the winner at the 83rd minute.The win improves London to 5-3-2 WLT for 17 points and the runner-up spot, three points behind leaders Border Stars and two points ahead of the Hitmen with their 4-4-3 record.Michael DiLuca opened the scoring at 75 minutes for Toronto Supra in Thursday's encounter with Vaughan Shooters following a hard-fought scoreless first half--it was DiLuca's 8th goal of the season. Pedro Dias made it 2-0 at 90 minutes for the final score.Supra now have an improved 6-0-4 WLT record for 22 points, just two behind leaders Metro Lions and four points in front of Vaughan Shooters with 18.