Men's east division leaders Woodbridge Strikers were put on the ropes by third placed North Toronto Nitros on Matchweek 18, and forced to come back from deficits on two occasions to eke out a 2-2 draw at Vaughan Grove, Woodbridge.
"I just find when you are fighting for first place and you get a point at home it feels like a loss," said Woodbridge head coach, Peter Pinizzotto.
"To me, it was as though we threw away a couple points. We have some tough games coming, nothing is guaranteed and now Vaughan is tied with us as well. Basically now anything could happen before the end of the year."
"Consistent results are not something you are training at this point of the season, it is more a mental state of going into every game with the belief that you have the best chance of winning," added Pinzzotto. "It's not something that you fix right away."
"We scored two goals and it could have been enough to win the game, but it just seems like tonight we were playing catch-up. It was basically they scored, we tried to tie, they scored and again we tried to tie - we never had the advantage of being up. It was a tough game."
Jayden Vernon (10') and Niklas Bauer (60') scored one each - the latter marking Bauer's sixth in only three matches - both executing the ruthless counter-attack North Toronto has become known for after Woodbridge players were careless in possession.
"I have two or three picks and MVP is always hard," said North Toronto head coach, Hermann Kingue.
"Sometimes people choose MVPs because they score goals or save goals so if I had to choose an MVP today it would be Jason Akoa, our centre-back, and then Nick, obviously - the one who scored our second goal."
"Nik brings us a lot," he added. "He was a very good pick and at least now we have found somebody in that position who plays the way we want. He is a very good pick and addition to the team."
Emmanuel Issac (58') got one back for the Strikers after a prolonged period of good momentum to start the second half, while second half substitute Dylan Carriero (90') snagged the late equalizer with a well-taken penalty.
"It's always hard to come here and play Woodbridge at home," said North Toronto's Kingue.
"You really have to come here with a gameplan otherwise you will get beat so easy so we came here with our gameplan and we played accordingly. Unfortunately in the last minute with the penalty, what can you say. Was it a penalty? I think so. That's soccer."
"I'm happy with the performance of our boys especially given the situation as we have lost most of our players. Those that we had tonight, who played less throughout most of the season, well we can only be satisfied. I'm happy because everything worked as planned."
Woodbridge Strikers will next play Durham United FA on September 8 at Kinsmen Park, Pickering.
North Toronto Nitros will next play Aurora FC on September 10 at Esther Shiner Stadium, Toronto.