In the early going of this 2015 League1 Ontario season, Master's FA Saints have shown themselves to be a well organized group who make it difficult for opponents to break them down.
On Saturday night, while playing host to Vaughan Azzurri at L'Amoreaux Park in Scarborough, ON, the home side stayed true to form for the first forty five minutes, remaining composed and compact while also benefitting from another strong performance by goalkeeper Shane Lopez.
However, the second half was a very different story. Vaughan, led by a Joey Cicchilio brace and singles from Mario Kovacevic and Domenico Gullo, stormed out of the gate after halftime and kept Master's on the back foot for the remainder of the game, earning an impressive 4-0 victory. With the win, Azzurri sit all alone atop the League1 table with 9 points from three games (pending Sunday's results).
"We created some chances in the first half, but Master's were very organized and we didn't finish the few chances we did get," said Azzurri Head Coach Carmine Isaaco. "We changed the tempo in the second half, showed better patience and ultimately, we finished better."
Junior Groves, Technical Director of MFA Saints, lamented his squad's second half collapse but sees light at the end of the tunnel.
"We lost the midfield when we substituted some key players in the second half," said Groves. "However, we are only three games into the season and we are still working to integrate some new players into our squad and get them all in synch. We will continue to build and improve."
Both Isacco and Groves were unanimous in their praise of Lopez's play, backstopping the Saints.
"Shane was really outstanding, and made some huge saves tonight," said Isacco.
Groves was impressed by the play of VSC's midfielder Matthew Stinson and the attacking prowess of Cicchilio, who now leads the league in scoring with four goals.
The Azzurri gaffer identified two young, lesser known members of his Azzurri side as being standouts on Saturday night.
"Edward Lay and Dayonn Harris, both 1997s, were very good," said Isacco. "This was Edward's first start for the First Team. He played with excellent poise and control. He and Dayonn were instrumental in creating our first goal."
Master's FA Saints return to action on May 23rd, when they take on Pro Stars FC at Etobicoke Centennial Stadium. Both teams will be seeking their first wins of the season.
Vaughan will play host to Oakville Blue Devils on May 24th at McNaughton Park in Maple in a battle of the top two teams in the league.