Astros club shocks the competition
Sam Laskaris More from this author
Oct. 23, 2002
They might have been pushovers in some regular season contests, but the North York Astros were anything but in post-season play.
The Astros, members of the Canadian Professional Soccer League (CPSL), struggled considerably during regular season action posting a 4-9-6 record and finishing fifth in the seven-team Western Conference.
The top three finishers in the league's Eastern and Western conferences earned playoff berths. But the Astros were also allowed to take part in the competition as hosts to the CPSL playoff tourney, which concluded Sunday at Esther Shiner Stadium.
The Astros shocked plenty of people with their playoff performances.
For starters, North York upset the Mississauga Olympians 3-0 in game Friday. The Astros then edged another Mississauga-based franchise, Toronto Croatia, 1-0 in a CPSL semifinal contest Saturday.
But the Astros were unable to complete their Cinderella post season as they were blanked 2-0 by the powerful Ottawa Wizards in the championship final Sunday.
"It's a testament to our hard work and dedication," said Bruno Ierullo, Astros general manager of the team's efforts. "In the last month, we were really coming on."
Ierullo, who is also part of North York's three-man coaching committee along with Dejan Gluscevic and Pavel Zaslavski, credited Argentinean import Guillermo Compton Hall for the Astros' late-season turnaround.
"He injected new blood into the team," Ierullo said.
"And he gave us a feared forward that we didn't have earlier in the season."
Compton Hall had agreed to play for the Astros during the 2002 season. But he didn't receive the proper paperwork to come to Canada until mid-September. Thus, he only played in the Astros' final five regular season matches.
Compton Hall also starred in the squad's three playoff games, being selected as the league's playoff MVP. He received his award at the league banquet held Sunday, after the championship final.
Ierullo also took home some hardware. He was chosen as the CPSL's owner of the year.
Ierullo said the Astros might also be celebrating a league title now had the team connected on an early opportunity in Sunday's final.
Astros forward Lukasz Krakowiak missed a glorious scoring chance in the game's second minute after he was left alone in front of the Wizards' net. The North York player shot the ball a few feet wide of the net.
"That would have put us in the driver's seat," Ierullo said.
"And that would have allowed us to play the game the best we can, which is a defensive game."
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