Nicholas Lindsay

Good Weekend For The Academy

It was a good weekend for Toronto FC Academy with wins for both the Senior and Junior Teams. The Senior Academy team won 1-0 against North York Astros on Sunday at Esther Shiner Stadium in the Canadian Soccer League. A day earlier, the Junior Team ran out 7-3 winners over St. Catherines Roma Reserves in the CSL Reserve Division.

O a day when temperatures reached 30 degrees TFC Senior Academy took immediate control of their game against the Astros and monopolized possession despite North York’s league leading goal scorer, Mahyar Kohbad missing the target with a free header in the 5th minute.

The lively Ashtone Morgan was a threat down the left flank all day and he picked out Allando Matheson with a cross in the 25th minute but the striker failed to direct his header on target.

TFC took the lead in the 39th minute as Jonathan Lao found an overlapping Morgan who showed good ability to deliver a delightful cross from which Nicholas Lindsay headed into the corner for the opening goal. TFC nearly increased their lead a minute later when a clever free kick found Brennan McNicoll wide open in the box but the midfielder failed to connect with his attempted volley.

In the second half Morgan once again dribbled past several defenders before cutting the ball back from the byline to a wide open Lao but his left footed strike came back off the crossbar and score remained 1-0. TFC nearly paid the price for their missed chances when North York Astros almost found an equalizer in the 88th minute, when a corner kick was driven to the back post and headed on target, but Arthur Casupanan was on the post and cleared to safety.

Allando Matheson had an opportunity to put the game beyond any doubt in the 90th minute after Josh Janniere found him in the box. The big striker shifted the ball out of his feet and struck a shot on goal that was pushed over the bar by the Astros net minder. The game finished 1-0 in favor of TFC Academy for their third win in a row.

“On a very warm day it was imperative that we won the ball back efficiently,” said Senior Team Head Coach Jason Bent. “We defended in small groups and won the ball back very quickly. On the other side, we used the ball very intelligently and forced North York Astros to chase all afternoon. Our players are playing with a great deal of confidence at this moment in time and winning certainly breeds confidence. I really feel that their efforts in midweek against a very good Colo Colo side from Chile have given them a belief far beyond what we as staff could give them.” 

On Saturday, the Junior Academy started the game in positive fashion against St. Catherines but could not find a breakthrough until the 18th minute when Jalen Brome got on the end of a cross to open the scoring. Their lead was short lived as St. Catherines battled back and equalized only a minute later.

Fresh off his goal in midweek against Colo Colo, Keven Aleman put TFC back in the lead with a clinical strike from 18 yards out and Aleman then scored the best goal of the match when he used an audacious piece of skill to flick the ball over the defenders head and hit a volley into the goal to give TFC a 3-1 lead going into halftime.

Aleman found himself at the heart of everything TFC did well and shortly after the interval he completed his hat trick when he chipped the goalkeeper from 15 yards out. Several players were introduced by Assistant Coach Vito Colangelo and all played a part in a very dominating second half performance.

Aleman’s strike partner Jalen Brome then took over and scored a couple of goals to complete his hat trick. A great afternoon for the Junior Team was completed when substitute Praveen Balakumaran finished the scoring with an excellent run cutting inside onto his left foot and placing a low drive into the corner past the outstretched arms of the goalkeeper. The game finished 7-3 in favor of TFC Junior Academy.

“Our goal was to set the tempo of play and work as a unit both offensively and defensively,” said Colangelo. “ The boys worked hard against a much older team, resulting in a 7-3 victory. We maintained possession of the ball on a very hot day causing Roma to chase the game and eventually run out of gas. Kudos to Keven Aleman and Jalen Brome who both scored 3 goals a piece and Chris Mannella who controlled the pace of the game in the midfield and pulled all the strings.”