A brace from Kimani Steward-Baynes helped Vaughan Azzurri become the champions of the inaugural Men’s U19 Reserve Division by defeating Rush Canada 3-0 in the playoff final.
It didn’t take long for the Azzurri to open the scoring against Rush as Steward-Baynes netted at the back post with just five minutes on the clock.
The striker added a second in the 13th minute after good work from Adam Rustami; the two players set the tempo for Vaughan's dominant display for the enitirety of the game. Sherwin Chen added the third just before half-time with a looping header.
Rush held out in the second half but couldn’t spark a comeback going into the final stages to put any pressure on the Azzurri, who collected their second piece of silverware in L1O this season after the senior team won the Men’s Premier Division.
This is the first year in which the Men’s U19 Reserve Division has been staged, expanding the playing opportunities for young adults at a competitive level.
Both the Azzurri and Rush finished the regular season atop their respective conferences. Vaughan managed 16 wins, three ties and a solitary loss, while Rush lost four times in the regular season and still mustered 14 wins and two ties.
They then successfully navigated their playoff semifinals, with Vaughan defeating ProStars 3-1 as Rush registered a 4-2 victory against North Toronto Nitros.
It was the Azzurri, however, who were on flying form in the final.