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Sigma's Stoddart With The Winning Goal In 2-1 Final Over Pro Stars

By League1 Ontario staff, 05/22/16, 12:00PM EDT


Sigma's Marcel Zajac (24') opened the scoring inside the first half hour, and teammate Justin Stoddart (60') closed it out with a half-hour to play, but Pro Stars FC made the going tough for the western division joint-leader in this narrow 2-1 match.

"We didn't really change our plan [after going down in the first half] because we felt we were playing better than them," said Pro Stars team official, Stiven Mikhail.

"The first goal they scored was literally a mistake. I felt that we played better than they did and as you see we got a goal back as the game went on."

Both sides traded chances in first half play, with Pro Stars' Raefe Anderson forcing Sigma GK Marques to be on his toes with several probing strikes, and Zajac, Nanco, Brar and Stoddart testing Pro Stars net-minder Michael Borowski.

Just after the second half started, Pro Stars Erick Olazabel (54') equalized for the home side and Sigma began to make slight changes to their tempo in possession. 

"I thought in the second half we did a very good job of increasing the tempo of the game," said Sigma head coach, Bobby Smyrniotis. "We got hit on the counter in the fifty-fifth minute when we probably weren't expecting it, for the opponent to tie. They didn't have a lot of chances after that point, but that's the game and you need to respond the right way."

"I think we did react well, pushed forward, working the wings a bit more, and pushing the opponent back to deeper spaces."

Reafe Anderson (Photo: Martin Bazyl)

Sigma were rewarded for their increased defensive pressure and tempo in possession, as Stoddart found an opening and put the visitors ahead going into a tense final stretch. 

"We got the second goal, which was obviously very important and turned out to be the winning goal, but at the same time we had three other very good opportunities to put the game away and we didn't," said Smyrniotis.

"As always, when you don't put the game away, it turned the final few moments into something very interesting." 

Pro Stars are still searching for a win after four matches and one L1 Cup fixture, but the team has had several difficult away fixtures and been up against several of the league's top sides. The story of their performances is one not easily captured in final scorelines.

"The thing is the games we've been in, we've been doing very well," said Mikhail. "The final game sheets definitely don't tell the whole story."

"We have a brand, and we are trying to build on that. We feel that each game the team is building on that, and becoming better."

Marcel Zajac (Photo: Martin Bazyl)