Colombian WNT coach Felipe Taborda was a special guest at this women's L1 Cup fixture between North Mississauga and Pro Stars, taking charge of the coin toss on an evening when home side Panthers' fortunes would be no toss-up - a 5-2 win put them on course for advancement.
"We decided from the pre game talk to attack immediately in the attempt to get an early goal and set the tone of the game," said North Mississauga assistant coach, Trevor Bertrand.
"The pace of the game was slow and we were allowed to control the ball in our half unchallenged for the most part as Pro Stars stayed back. At half time we asked the girls to change the pace of the game and attack the defence; the team was rewarded early in the second half on a wonderful volley from Maria Poveda."
Panthers striker Oshay Lawes (9', 64' 71, 90') made sure there was no doubt in play, chipping in with a four goal contribution that would alone be enough to drown Pro Stars hopes. Maria Poveda (50') added the fifth on an impressive night for the hosts. Keona Simmonds (53', 88') bagged a consolation brace for the Stars.
"Keona Simmonds scored two great goals, and Madison Hudson played through with broken nose," said Pro Stars head coach, Benjamin Falkenstein, identifying his MVP players.
"Full credit to North Miss., they are a very dangerous team. But our squad were involved in three highly competitive games in four days, two of which were League1 games, so tired legs and tired minds were a problem. We rested as many key players as we could."
Both coaches were glowing in their praise of Oshay Lawes, particularily for her pace and obvious finishing ability.
"[She] killed us with her speed and finishing," confirmed Falkenstein.
"Striker Oshay Lawes is undoubtedly the fastest player in the league, and she utilized her main asset - speed - to break down the Pro Stars defence," said Bertrand. "She completed her hat-trick, added another for a total of four, and was the player of the game."
"We have been working religiously with Oshay to have her believe in her speed making the right type of runs. She is a very dangerous player and we are starting to see the results."
Pro Stars get back to league play on Friday July 10 at Avondale Field, Brampton, in a 7 p.m. kickoff vs. ANB Futbol.
North Mississauga Panthers travel to Sanjaxx Lions' home of Monarch Park, Toronto, on Saturday July 11 for a 6 p.m. kickoff.