Vaughan Azzurri kept pace at the top of the table with a convincing 2-0 win on the road over Durham United F.C. at the Pickering Soccer Centre on Saturday evening.
Vaughan midfielder Jonathan Lao opened the scoring in the first half, and Joey Cicchillo finished off a speedy Azzurri counterattack in the 58th minute, his fifth tally of the young season, effectively ending the contest.
In spite of the loss, DUFC head coach Sanford Carabin praised his team's workrate and found a number of positives in their performance.
"It would be too difficult to single out our best player tonight...everyone worked very hard," said Carabin. "It was a competitive game which required all the players to be switched on and I thought that they came with the right mentality and worked their socks off."
Carabin picked out Lao and Azzurri goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair as Vaughan's outstanding players on the day.
"Dayne made several point blank saves in the first half and another in the second," said Carabin, "and offensively Lao always looked dangerous in attack with his vision and ability to find the right pass at the right time."
Carabin pointed to Vaughan's capacity to punish errors with their quick, counterattacking style as a key factor for coming up on the short end of this result.
"The key moment of the game was conceding the first goal to a counter attack," he said. "We got caught up field on right side and Vaughan exploited the space very well. Up until then, we had a fair share of the possession and our confidence was growing."
The evening was marred by the serious leg injury suffered by Durham defender Le Shaun Young late in the game. Young, who scored a goal on opening day and has formed a formidable pairing with Joe Zupo in the center of defence for DUFC, was taken away by ambulance. X-Rays confirmed everyone's worst fears, showing that Young had suffered a fracture, further exacerbating Durham's current issue with key players being unavailable due to injury.
"We will need to deal with the rash of game related injuries we have incurred the last four weeks," confirmed Carabin. "Four starters from our opening game of the year are now out for an extended period of time."
Durham are on the road next weekend to take on Sigma F.C at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, while Vaughan return home to host ANB Futbol at McNaughton Park Turf in Maple.