Woodbridge Strikers and Toronto Azzurri Blizzard traded strikes early on in the final Matchweek 17 contest, but ultimately the introduction of Hungarian international Katalin Tolnai (86', 90') decided the game for the Strikers with a late brace to hand Woodbridge a 4-1 result.
"First half we were sloppy, our passing wasn't good enough," said Woodbridge head coach, Dave Porco.
"Second half we were better, and Katalin Tolnai came in and made a difference. She settled everyone down."
"I coached her when she was 13 and 14 and I always said she should be in the national team program," he added. "I still think she should be in the national team."
"She does play for the Hungarian national team, but it is too bad Canada has missed the opportunity. She's a hell of a player and a game-changer, that is the way I see her."
Provincial player Brigitta Pulins (30', 60') started the night off with a brace of her own, but the Blizzard's Vanessa Thompson (31') split the difference and kept the scoreline level until an hour into the contest.
"I think it was a close game until the last ten minutes," said Blizzard head coach, Joe Parolini.
"We missed two clear breakaways and two very good chances and they came back to haunt us."
"I think the young ones are improving," he continued.
"Most of the players we had were '01s and for one 04 this was her fifth game. This is what it is about, giving them opportunities and experience. When you are playing against more experienced players it can come back to haunt you but this is what the league is about. I thought it went well, I think we out-chanced them, but they put their chances away in the last ten minutes and that was the difference."
For both Woodbridge and the Blizzard, title hopes are no longer in the picture. Instead both sides are focused on development of their young athletes for the future.
"Survival [is what we're after]," said Porco. "I need to make sure I have enough players!"
"I say that jokingly but these kids get experience finishing it out and that is what we plan to do, playing with this group for the last four or five games."
"I'm actually looking to call up more 03s and 04s to get them through, gather more experience, and really this is our goal," agreed Parolini.
"We were just in Pittsburgh and won a showcase and the 03s and 04s did really, really well. I'm going to start bringing up more players to get them more experience going into the winter."
Woodbridge Strikers will next play North Mississauga SC on August 25 at Hershey Centre, Mississauga.
Toronto Azzurri Blizzard will next play FC London on August 27 at Azzurri Village Main, Toronto.