August 2, 2015 League 1 Ontario--Oakville Blue Devils vs Vaughan Azzurri (from League 1 Ontario press release)
Oakville Blue Devils 0 - Vaughan Azzurri 1 . Tue Aug 4 Written By: Staff, League1 Oakville Blue Devils registered only their second loss of the season in matchweek 14, but it was a crucial 1-0 loss to the second place Vaughan Azzurri. "Our greatest challenge was winning the second ball and turning those wins into opportunities, as we did on the goal," said Vaughan head coach, Carmine Isacco. "The keys to the match were obviously the first goal, and then not converting on several opportunities, finally having to hold them with good collective defending," he added. The breakthrough finish was scored by central forward Mario Kovacevic (49') just after the half-time interval. "[Central back] Kamaal Miller and [central forward] Mario Kovacevic were both ever-present," said Isacco, in naming the match's MVPs. "Taylor McNamara dictated their tempo, and when we took the ball out of his feet we dictated pace and had more options," he added. In a match that quickly shaped up to a battle of front threes vs. back fours, Vaughan's wide attacking pairing of Joey Cicchillo and Dayonn Harris received the ball in one vs. one situations with their opposing full-backs far more than did Oakville's Khody Ellis and Tyler Wason. Vaughan was particularily dangerous down the left flank, with left back Joseph Amato combining over and over with Cicchillo to get in behind the Oakville defence and produce quality cutbacks, and driven balls across the face of the net. Meanwhile, Oakville focused on service through the central channels, and wingers were thus restricted to few chances, with Ellis producing two great opportunities late in the first half after finally being located with service to the flank. "Joey [Cicchillo] created several problems for our back four, and Vaughan linked the play together very well through [Mario Kovacevic] on several occasions," said Oakville head coach, Duncan Wilde. In the battle of central forwards, Vaughan goalscorer Mario Kovacevic was consistently dangerous, linking up well with his midfield, and creating several threatening situations on the Blue Devils' goal, requiring keeper Daniel Voci to be in top form. "Daniel Vocci made an excellent top corner save in the first half to keep it level, and it was obvious that both teams wanted the three points," said Wilde. At the other end, Filipe Vilela benefitted from being the clear target of Oakville's attacking moves, but was generally well-marshalled by Vaughan's central back pairing of Kamaal Miller and Mario Arnone. Still, Vilela created half-yards to shoot where possible, and single-handedly created the Devils best chance of the first half after dispossessing Miller in the 28th minute, breaking in and putting a good effort on target that Vaughan's Dayne St. Clair did well to gather in. The early second half separated the sides, as the Azzurri came out the gates flying, while the Devils appeared to be on the back foot. Vaughan signalled a breakthrough was coming when Edward Lay knocked a free-kick effort off the crossbar in the 48th minute, before Kovacevic registered his goal only a minute later after Vaughan stole the ball in a high press and quickly released Kovacevic into the box. The forward calmly slotted low and hard across Voci to his left-hand post. As the half played out under ominous skies coloured grey and black with a massive summer storm front rolling in, Vaughan steadily took control and sought to punish a tiring Devils side with pace on the counter-attack. Cicchillo, Lay, Harris, and Benjamin Futoriansky were presented opportunities, but failed to capitalize. But Oakville were not out of the contest, instead gathering composure, steadying defensively, changing shape to a back three in the final ten minutes, and creating a brilliant set of chances in an effort to equalize. Both Adrian Butters and Tyler Wason missed absolutely golden opportunities in the final minutes of the match, before subsititute Judah Hernandez produced a tidy solo effort in the final minute of extra time, centring a spinning ball that St. Clair fumbled straight to the onrushing captain McNamara. In what was virtually the last kick of the match, McNamara's shot, though well hit, was masterfully held by the recovering St. Clair. "I felt we lacked concentration early in the second half and conceded again during that period, just as we did the previous week, which is obviously very disappointing," Wilde said. "We made a great late effort to get something from the game and applied great pressure to do so, creating a couple of excellent chances to tie the game. For the second week in a row, that proved not enough and Vaughan defended strongly to earn their points on the day." Oakville continues to lead the league, with four points on an undefeated Vaughan and an in-form Sigma F.C. - two teams that are separated only by goal difference (Vaughan's +28, Sigma's +24). Both sides are out of the L1 Cup, and Oakville is rested over matchweek 15. Vaughan Azzurri plays Durham United F.C. on Sunday August 9 at McNaughton Turf, Maple - 2 p.m. kickoff.
back to 2015 League 1 Ontario Men's index