Toronto FC Academy continues their late season revival, winning their fifth consecutive match, on this occasion a 5-2 final at the expense of Master's FA Saints.
"We had a strong training week and were prepared for Master's FA," said Toronto FC Academy head coach, Stuart Neely.
"We knew we had to make use of our possession without overplaying and unbalancing the opposition. It was a younger team fielded by Master's FA, and as such we had to dominate the play and focus on creating more scoring opportunities."
Liam Fraser led the way for the Junior Reds with a brace, while Aidan Daniels, Alexander Zis and Alexander Pena added one each. Nikita Degtyar claimed the clean sheet.
"On the day for TFCA, the players that stood out were Aidan Daniels, Liam Fraser, Tristan Borges, Andrew Dias and Stevie Furlano," said Toronto FC Academy head coach, Stuart Neely.
"All players kept their respective duties intact and carried out the game plan to near perfection."
"The Master's GK, Shane Lopez, played well and held his team in the game," he added. "He was calm and worked well with a young Masters FA group."
Masters struggled with a scheduling conflict that changed their game plan at the last minute. Owner/ operator Junior Groves felt his team lacked the intended spark.
"We wanted to play our youth 1999/1998 against TFC today and showcase our talent at this age group, but it was unfortunate that they also had a game scheduled in London yesterday which could not be postponed," he explained.
"So we had to play the players in back-to-back games and today it showed that we didn't have the legs to perform the way we wanted to."
Despite the fatigue, Groves highlighted a positve resiliency in the Master's squad.
"TFC created a few opportunities in the first half that caused our midfielder's coverage problems, and we just didn't have the legs to keep up and when down 4-0 in the first half," he said. "Our movement was static so we did not to create any penetration."
"We made some adjustments in the second half, and told our players that we had forty-five minutes of football to show who we were, regardless of playing both days in the heat. TFC got a penalty late in the second half and scored, but 1-0 in that half showed the guts our players had to play back-to-back."
For Neely, this victory represented his team's improving discipline and mental focus, and was capped off by an exceptional team goal.
"[Our biggest challenge was] respecting the game plan and executing it to a higher degree with a high tempo without being distracted by events that we cannot control during the match," said Neely.
"We did very well at this in spots throughout the match and longer periods again. Early in the match we struggled with a compact defence due to our lack of combined interchanging of the ball and positions."
"But at 2-0 we created a goal that was simply outstanding, scored by Aiden Daniels. It was simply a magnificent goal based in combined play and ultimately individual brilliance."
On Saturday September 5, Toronto FC Academy goes to Oshawa Civic Centre #5 to play Durham United F.C. - 8 p.m. kickoff.
Masters hosts the league leaders, Oakville Blue Devils, on Saturday September 5 at L'Amoreaux, Scarborough - 9 p.m. kickoff.