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Vaughan's Kowal Takes Men's Golden Boot As Azzurri, Woodbridge And London Lock In Playoff Positions

By League1 Ontario staff, 08/20/19, 12:45PM EDT


(Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography)

(Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography)

(Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography)

Vaughan Azzurri SC's Maksym Kowal smashed in a hat-trick on the final weekend of match-play to lay claim the 2019 League1 Men's Golden Boot, and guide his side to second seed position going into the 2019 League1 Ontario Championship Quarter-Final stage.

FC London and Woodbridge Strikers also locked up their spots in Matchweek 15, setting up some intriguing battles with former playoff rivals.   

Read full match recaps below, with full match video, photos and #playoffs2019 event detail included!

(Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography)

Kashiff DeJonge (29', 40', 49', 82') had a day to remember with four goals as Darby FC beat Toronto Skillz 8-0 on the final day of League1 Ontario men’s regular season.

DeJonge scored twice in each half as he led his side to the victory. Nicholas Spittle (36'), Bayley Winkel (55'), Jack Sears (61') and Brydon Caesar (75') also had their names on the score-sheet at Birchmount Stadium on Sunday.

Despite the rout, Darby FC barely missed out on the play-offs, with their rivals London FC and Woodbridge Strikers winning their respective games later that day and mathematically eliminating them.

However, there were still reasons to be cheerful for Darby as they bowed out on their season with a big win and some beautiful goals.

DeJonge’s first goal was an excellent example: a cross came in from a free kick and captain Joe Zupo reached highest and headed to set up a shot for the striker, who made no mistake from close range.

Toronto Skillz were battling hard to get their first points since June until that point, but the first goal changed the dynamics of the game. The visitors continued their pressure and scored two more in the following 11 minutes and made sure the game was beyond doubt.

Darby returned from the break with the same intensity and scored another three within the first 16 minutes of the half. The tempo dwindled after the sixth, but the visitors still added two more, with the last one coming from the man of the match.

(Cetin Cem Yilmaz)

(Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography)

FC London played with ten men over 15 minutes and saw their late penalty denied by the post, but thanks to Patrick Melo's (3') early goal they beat Pro Stars FC 1-0 and clinched the seventh spot in the eigh-team playoff zone.

It took just three minutes to break the deadlock, as Patrick Melo received the ball from Ethan Gopaul at the edge of the box, entered into the penalty area and drilled it into the bottom left corner.

Pro Stars FC twice tested the opponent's keeper, Anthony Sokalski, through a Domenic Parris strike from 12 yards and a Halburto Harris low shot from a tight angle, both saved by the keeper.

On 27 minutes, Mohammad Nafar put Tomas Alvarez through, but his shot was denied by Pro Stars' keeper Christian Campanico. FC London had a chance to double the lead, as a Bradley Heath free header from close range on a Jeremy Arnold cross from the right went inches wide from six yards.

FC London started the second half by closing up spaces in the back-line to keep their fragile lead and looking for another goal on counters.

At 51 minutes Nafar hit the base of the upright from 15 yards; at the other end, Sokalski parried a Camaal Reid cross-cum-shot on a free kick from the right and then denied Chambers' attempt from point-blank range in the follow-up.

The visitors were dangerous on the counters; Arnold burst past three players and saw his finish saved by Campanico.

At the 77th minute, FC London went to ten men as Heath was shown a straight red card for denying a goal opportunity. Reid, again, stepped up for the free kick and was denied yet again by Sokalski, who put a stellar performance between the posts.

Despite having ten men, FC London could have scored a second. On 85 minutes, Chad Gopaul found himself in an almost one-on-one situation with the keeper, but Campanico denied his first shot and then his second on the rebound.

In the last minute of the four minutes of the stoppage time, Ethan Gopaul was brought down inside the box by Odain Simpson and a penalty was awarded to FC London, but Wilson fired it against the post.

With this result, Pro Stars' season ended in 11th position with 17 points - eight points out from the final playoff position.

With the win, FC London qualified for playoffs in seventh position in the table and will play Vaughan Azzurri SC over two legs in the 2019 League1 Ontario Quarter-Finals.

The two legs of this Quarter-Final tie are:

Saturday August 24 (7:30 p.m.) @ German Canadian Club, London 

Sunday September 8 (7 p.m.) @ North Maple Regional Park, Vaughan

(Mahdi Ghaffaribarzi)

(Photo: Coast 2 Coast Media/ Martin Bazyl Photography)

Woodbridge Strikers clinched the final playoff seed after holding onto a 2-1 victory over Unionville-Milliken SC at Vaughan Grove on Sunday. 

The Bridge needed all three points to continue into post-season soccer after Darby FC temporarily entered the playoff zone earlier in the day. Woodbridge needed a full team effort to save their season from catastrophe.

And it was the team play of last season's Championship finalists that earned them the first goal. Emmanuel Issac and Andres Caicedo combined on the left wing to break into space with Issac cutting into the box before laying it off to Mathew Santos (42'), who finessed the ball into the net to make it 1-0.

Play came to a screeching halt at half-time as thunder started to rumble and the rain started to drench the field. The second half wouldn't kick off until an hour later as the teams and officials waited for the weather to subside.

Despite the long break, Woodbridge didn't lose their momentum as they entered the second half. Issac weighted a perfect pass to half-time substitute Tyrell Rayne (54'), who slipped the ball under Unionville-Milliken goalkeeper Alessio Carbone, doubling the lead to 2-0.

The away team gave the playoff hopefuls a scare with less than ten minutes to go, as Tristan Esprit whipped a corner kick into the box. Unionville captain Michael DiRienzo (80') rose high to head the ball into the back of the net, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

However, that was as close as Unionville were able to get to Woodbridge. Tyrell Rayne had another chance late in the game to extend the lead, dancing around the defender with some ankle-breaking dribbling, but Carbone made the quick reflex save as the match ended.

Carbone made three saves for the day, while Woodbridge goalkeeper Michael Markac stopped four, including the reaction save on Kaleb Powell's bullet of a shot in the 32nd minute.

Unionville-Milliken SC (3-9-2) currently sit in 12th place with 11 points. Their goal differential is at -18 (15 GF, 33 GA).

Unionville's season isn't technically over yet as they still have a home game against Windsor TFC which has yet to be rescheduled.

Woodbridge Strikers (8-6-1) finish the season in eighth place with 25 points. Their goal differential for the year sits at +10 (28 GF, 18 GA).. 

With the win, Woodbridge SC qualified for playoffs in eighth position in the table and will play Oakville Blue Devils over two legs in the 2019 League1 Ontario Quarter-Finals.

The two legs of this Quarter-Final tie are:

Saturday August 24 (2 p.m.) @ Vaughan Grove Turf, Woodbridge

Sunday September 8 (4 p.m.) @ Bronte Athletic Park, Oakville

(Jonathan Cheng)

(Photo: Martin Bazyl Photography)

The reigning champs, Vaughan Azzurri, held off an Aurora FC team in need of a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive in the last match week of the 2019 season, thanks to the help of leading goal-scorer, Maksym Kowal (5',33',68').

Kowal put his team in the driver's seat right away after he intercepted a pass deep in Aurora's half and slid it past the onrushing keeper.

A weather delay in the 11th minute looked to allow Aurora to regroup, but the Azzurri continued where they left off as winger Jarek Whiteman (12') swung a cross into the box and had it squeak by everyone to extend the lead.

A somewhat quiet 20 minutes saw Aurora put more attempts forward, however the well organized and patient Azzurri didn't back down.

Kowal (33') added to his goal total after he stepped up to drive home a penalty shot, only to be outdone by the calm finishing prowess of Aurora's Niklas Bauer (34') as he hit a low cross inside the six-yard box that was initially denied by the Vaughan keeper, Matt George, only to pounce on his own rebound and put the home side on the scoreboard.

Another bright spot in Aurora's play came from the goalkeeper, Emanuele Ameltonis, who made a handful of key saves before the first half ended to keep the deficit to two goals.

Kowal's (68') third goal of the match, and his league leading 15th, would be the final blow to Aurora's playoff dreams.

Aurora FC finish the year in 10th position in the table with 21 points in their column.

With the win, Vaughan SC qualified for playoffs in second position in the table and will play FC London over two legs in the 2019 League1 Ontario Quarter-Finals.

The two legs of this Quarter-Final tie are:

Saturday August 24 (7:30 p.m.) @ German Canadian Club, London

Sunday September 8 (7 p.m.) @ North Maple Regional Park, Vaughan

(Anthony Gallo)