Week 2 action saw both The Black Team and OTPP United fall to 0-0-2 on the season with heartbreaking losses to Maestros FC and Blue Lightning respectively. Bad Apples FC and Whitewalkers FC battled to the final minute, finishing in a thrilling 5-5 draw.
OTPP United vs Blue Lightning
WEEK 2 in the TCL featured a Primetime 7pm matchup between a pair of 0-1 squads to start the season. In the yellow corner, the glistening OTPP United regained their golden boy JJ “Half man Half amazing” and were looking to get back to .500 on the season. In the blue corner of the pitch, there was a thunderstorm warning in effect as the fearless Blue Lightning we’re looking to strike early and often. They say your chances of being struck by lightning are 1 in a million, but I guess anything is possible.
The first half of this tilt featured two very defensive squads, neither team looking to give up any chances. On defense for O-United, Ted “Big Train” Guo was an absolute beast, keeping the speedy BL forwards in check with his size and gritty forearm. Not to be outdone, Julio “The Lion” Araujo stepped up for BL and blasted a missile on net. O- United keeper Dave “Eye Candy” Ashton made a huge stop saving a sure goal. The first half whistle blew with a 0-0 tie after 25. The fans, wanted more offence… “We paid money for this?” was shouted from the bleachers.
Second half underway! Much more offensive this time around… O-United opened the scoring with a beautiful corner kick from Brad “The Bad Man” Hughes to a wide open Paul “Pistol” Callahan who headed the ball to the back of the net. 1-nil O-United!… Kevin “The Wall” Bonner made a few more spectacular kick saves to keep BL in the game. Then, mid-way through the second, Ivan “The Terrible” Gojmerac controlled the ball brilliantly from mid, down the left sideline, and from an impossible angle, took a shot with his LEFT foot which found the right post and in the net. Fan, Metin Guler ran onto the field to high five and chest bumb Ivan. it was the closest thing the TCL has ever seen to an actual nude streaker. The game was TIED at 1-1 and JJ “Half Man Half Amazing” took matters into his own hands making a number of intense runs falling just short on a number of incredible blasts. The Blue Lightning tag team duo of Vince “Casanova” Castronovo and Gabe “The Babe” Ajon kept the United moving with some great chemistry up front. In the dying seconds of the game, BL staying true to their name struck lightning with a miraculous bounce off the head of a United player which slipped past the O-United Keep and into the net. BLUE LIGHTNING WIN! A rivalry was born this evening.
Maestros FC vs The Black Team
Through two weeks of Toronto Champions League action only Maestros FC remain the only unbeaten, untied team. While they were pushed to the brink last night, they kept pushing forward to snatch a victory away from The Black Team.
It was a shaky start to the game as the Maestros tried to buy some time while goaltender Murat Cokgezen got ready. The Black Team was short too as they required the controversial “rotating goaltender” strategy in order to keep some of their legs fresh. Unlike Maestros they had no subs. Taking advantage of some shaky goaltending, former Golden Boot winner RonalDuy Nguyen scored on a slow roller to put The Black Team up 1-0. With Cokgezen finally in the net, Maestros started to beef up their attack. A beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play left Thunder Dan Newman all alone but he lifted his shot high. Another play saw Ash Connor making a sweet kick save off a header from Abdel-Haddi Alnahlawi.
The Black Team regrouped and “Fancy Feet” John Altinian started controlling the pace of the game. RonalDuy had a great chance but hit the post hard enough to rock the whole net.
It was the Maestros who struck next though on a pile-up in the goalmouth off a corner kick. It may have been the slowest goal in league history as the ball literally did a half-roll over the goal line before it stopped. Chris Campbell got the credit and I’m sure many years from now he’ll have a more embellished story regarding his first Champions League goal. 1-1.
Mario “Coach” Vega put The Black Team up with an easy tap in off an Altinian pass but not 30 seconds later Alnahlawi crushed a shot that seemed to go right through Jeff McCabe’s torso. 2-2.
RonalDuy broke the tie yet again off another sweet pass from Altinian.
The half ended with The Black Team up 3-2 and their vaunted offence seemingly humming. It was up to Maestro Metin Guler to rally the troops.
The Black Team started out the 2nd half with an unusual formation… RonalDuy in net. While the pundits scoffed at what was sure to be a disaster, the strategy seemed to pay off with McCabe’s relentless motor hounding the Maestro’s defence and Duy making a remarkable point blank save on what seemed to be an easy Alnahlawi goal.
McCabe then executed the perfect box out and, using his left-footedness to his advantage, spun and rifled a goal to put The Black Team up 4-2. Things looked bleak for Maestros FC as McCabe was ringing shots of the crossbar while RonalDuy was showing off his heretofore hidden goaltending skills. But they remembered Metin’s pep talk as saw the Black Team start huffing and puffing across the field. Alnahlawi finally solved the RonalDuy riddle to get Maestros back to 4-3. Defence became just a rumour as the Black Team were clearly tiring. Their hopes rested on just trying to out-score Maestros rather than settle into a defensive shell. However an Altinian turnover at midfield led to a 2-on-1 break where Larry Ng finished off a slick Newman pass to tie the game up at 4-4.
The Black Team kept knocking but Cokgezen wouldn’t let them in, making two clutch saves on Altinian including one on his popo. With the clock-ticking down Maestros gained a side-out in the Black Team end. Dan Newman lofted a pass over the Black’s defence and Alnahlawi slammed a volley into the top corner of the net in what will surely be a finalist for goal of the year.
The Black Team tried to muster one last push but time ran out. 5-4 Maestros.