Saturday September 29th, 2001.

My thoughts and observations on the Wizards-Wolves controversy
by Mike D

OK, here are the facts as I know them (in chronological order)...

1) I missed the first 9 minutes of the match because I got stuck behind a farm tractor on Carp Road, I really wish the Wizards' stadium wasn't so far from the city centre (this has nothing to do with the controversy, I just wanted to mention it because it annoyed me)

2) From what I saw of the first half it seemed like the Wizards were playing hard and trying to win, this leads me to believe that the Wizards didn't learn the St. Catharines was using inelligible players until the half, St. Catharines was playing very well and I would say they were the better team in the first half (although Ottawa was not out of the game by any means)

3) St. Catharines took the lead at roughly the 30 minute mark off a beautiful free kick by a midfielder called McKay from about 25 yards out. He picked out the top corner perfectly and Goddard had no chance.

4) Ottawa made 3 substitutions at the start of the second half (you're allowed 5 in the CPSL), this was the first clue that something was up because they replaced some of their better players (particularly central midfielder Al Popazzi) with some of their more marginal players, it seemed like a strange thing to do when you're 1-0 down

5) about 10 or 15 minute into the second half, Ottawa subbed off leading scorer Kevin Nelson, I was utterly shocked because it seemed like an utterly senseless thing to do, all things considered Nelson was having a decent match, by this time it was also clear that the Wizards were not playing with much drive or energy in the second half so I rationalized the substitution by figuring that it had been done to shake up the team

6) about 15 minutes from full time, *Ottawa subbed of the goalkeeper*, now I was completely stunned, I couldn't understand why Ottawa would waste its last substituton when they were down 1-0

7) with about 5 minutes to go, the fans in my section were starting to get very restless because Ottawa hadn't shown any life in the entire second half, amazingly Ottawa was not pushing forward even though they needed a tying goal, somebody yelled at Ottawa sweeper Kwame Talemaque and he yelled back with what I thought was "they've won it already", this pissed me off, I was annoyed that Kwame seemed to have given up hope even though Ottawa was only down a goal but, in retrospect, I think I misheard him and he was actually saying "we've won it already"

8) Ottawa immediately lodged a protest at full time, I couldn't hear what was going on because I was on the other side of the pitch but there was a big huddle involving some league officials, the Ottawa coaching staff and several St. Catharines coaches and players, it was obvious that the discussion wasn't going St. Catharines' way because many of their players were visibly agitated and one guy looked like he wanted to fight one of the Ottawa players (who took the high road and didn't stoop to that level)

9) I had to leave before the situation was resolved and only found out that Ottawa had won when I read Richard's post

The obvious theory is that Ottawa found out about the inelligible players at half time and decided to rest some of their better players for tomorrow's final and just play out the second half using their bench. They probably didn't even want to tie the match because that would have forced extra time, which would have tired their players further. I think this explains why they didn't really push forward even though they were down.

Mike D

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