Toronto FC Academy opened up a four point lead on top of the League1 table with a decisive 5-0 win over Internacional de Toronto on Friday night at Lamport Stadium, in front of about 500 boisterous fans.
Inter proved to be a worthy opponent through much of the first half, but TFCA's strength proved too much in a four goal second period played.
The game's first 29 minutes would prove to be a fairly even contest, with Inter set-up to pressure and counter against TFCA's possession oriented game. Those tactics would cause some trouble for TFC early on, with Adrian Gallo and Rarleen Edwards proving to be a handful down the left flank. Edwards speed and deft first touch in particular repeatedly put the TFCA defence under pressure.
Ironically, it was TFCA that would break the deadlock thanks to a counter attack of their own. Marcos Nunes, who only recently signed with TFCA, made a run deep down the right flank. At first it looked like he had gone a step too far, but he managed to get a cross in to a dangerous area where League1's leading scorer, Molham Babouli, was waiting.
Babouli stretched far to his right to get a boot on the ball and deftly directed it into the lower right corner of the goal, past the diving Inter 'keeper Tom Brevakis. With that goal, the game's momentum would shift almost entirely TFCA's way, despite some strong play by Brevakis, would did his best to keep the game close going into the break.
Inter showed some spark early in the second half to level the match but TFCA's under appreciated back-line smothered everything the hosts threw at them, allowing their attackers to push forward without fear.
After the game TFCA head coach Michael Stefano gave praise to the boys at the back.
"Our back-line is the youngest in the league and they perform day in and day out," he said.
"You can see from game to game we don't make too many changes...we can rely on every single guy in the back-line to do a great job."
Stefano can also rely on his attacking players and on this night, it was the newcomer Nunes who seemed to be involved in every dangerous foray into the Inter half.
In fact, it was Nunes who put TFCA up 2-0 in the 49th minute, firing home a ball that was had started out on the left flank on the foot of Mark Anthony Kaye, who then worked it to Dylan Sacramento before Nunes put it away.
The goals would keep coming. In the 61st minute, Nunes delivered a crisp cross from the right to Babouli, who expertly finished with a beautiful half volley from 18-yards to make it 3-0.
The fourth goal came on a penalty, after Tong Li was whistled for a hand ball in the 71st minute. Babouli calmly stepped up and completed his hat trick from the spot. That would be his last kick of the game as Stefano started to bring his bench players on.
TFCA would get one more goal a mere two minutes later when Nunes ran 30-yards straight at Inter's overworked defence, before toe poking it past a charging Brevakis.
Although happy with the win, Stefano was as happy with the overall effort TFCA put out. For him the result, although important, is always secondary to his goal of producing the next generation of professional footballers.
"For us, it's not a matter of the opponent that we play against. We hold ourselves to a particular standard and we can never drop from that. We work from the first minute to the final minute...the performance has nothing to do with the result."