Oakville Blue Devils head to the outskirts of Montreal to meet CS Mont-Royal Outremont Griffons (CSMRO) on Saturday November 14 (6 p.m. kickoff at Terrebonne Complexes Sportif, Terrebonne) for the second leg of the Inter-Provincial Cup - Canada's only Division 3 cup competition.
The Devils were rewarded for taking a clear offensive posture in the first leg on Sunday November 1 at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan, winning 3-1.
Fielding five attacking players from the opening whistle and getting as many balls as possible behind the Griffons back four ultimately led to an early lead in the match for the Devils, courtesy of two markers from Tyler Wason, and an all-important two-goal lead in the Cup after Khody Ellis registered a single in the first leg to nullify CSMRO's single goal.
So will the Devils look to preserve their lead with a defensive mindset in the second leg, or continue their attacking mentality?
"To be brutally honest, we would never go anywhere looking to be defensive, its just not how we play," said Devils head coach, Duncan Wilde. "Also, losing our core central defenders back to NCAA, does not really encourage us to sit back."
"I much prefer the option of going there to score early as that will obviously force them to come out and to chase the game, which will not only allow us further opportunities to score, but it will create a very exciting game to finish the season."
For the Griffons, the approach to the second leg will also be "business as usual."
"We will approach the game in a very disciplined and organized way, as we believe we have the players to win the competition, despite the Oakville slim goals advantage," said CSMRO head coach, Luc Brutus.
"We do not know what the opponent will come up with, since injuries or other commitments may always be a factor. We will be prepared for anything."
Both sides will need to be ready to experiment, as a variety of players have migrated back to NCAA or other competitions. However, conversely, some players could possibly return to their respective squad for the Cup's second leg.
"David Velastagui has signed a pro contract in Central America and Macca is now away in Tennessee," said Wilde. "We also have a couple of lingering injuries from the first game here in Ontario."
"We do have a very vibrant academy program to choose from if required, as we did through the closing games of the regular season, so we'll continue preparations through the week and consider our game plan options accordingly."
Just as the CSMRO Griffons will have come to Ontario with very little sense of their opposition's strengths and weaknesses, the Devils will now have to travel to Quebec with a similar questions about how the Griffons will play.
"It is difficult to speculate on what game plan CSMRO will put together, as I believe they have some returning players that did make the first game," said Wilde.
"I have to believe they realize how effective we are on the counter-attack, so I expect a back four formation for sure. They also have to score, so it would make sense to present two or maybe three forwards. We are more focused on getting our game plan correct, winning midfield and having at least a couple of "go to" options and obviously be prepared for physical challenge throughout!!"
Inter-Provincial Cup second leg is Saturday November 14 at Terrebonne Complexe Sportifs, Terrebonne - 6 p.m. kickoff!