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Sigma Suffers First Loss Of League Season 1-0 To Toronto FC Academy

By League1 Ontario staff, 07/01/16, 12:15PM EDT


Toronto FC Academy handed Sigma FC a chastening 1-0 defeat in Thursday night league play, breaking Sigma's nine match opening season unbeaten streak and hinting at form developing in the Junior Reds. 

TFCA's Dante Campbell (44') put the away side one up just before the half-time break, while keeper Brogan Engbers made sure to keep the clean sheet. 

Toronto FC Academy head coach Stuart Neely praised the discipline and organization of his young side. 

"I think we deserved the three points tonight because we were far more organized than the last time we played Sigma, when they tore us apart," he said. "On that occasion we were undisciplined, we became very frantic in our play, and we showed our youthfullness."

"This time around the boys showed that they are learning from the League1 games they have played, as we were far more disciplined, we had a lot of positive communication, and a lot of hardness to the team."

As Sigma looked to play their passing game through the centre of the pitch, the Junior Reds demonstrated an adept and flexible block that forced Sigma off game-plan.

"They did a good job of being organized and taking away the centre from us, but they also did a good job when we tried to work the wings," said Sigma midfielder, Chris Nanco. "I think we needed to be faster with the ball going side to side to stretch them more than we did."

For such a young group, Neely was particularly impressed with the maturity of his side in the defensive phase, and highlighted the resiliency of a couple key performers. 

"One of our centre-backs is fifteen, the other sixteen, and they are showing their weight in gold as they come up against strong opposition," he said. "Defensively tonight we had a block that didn't allow Sigma to play the way they can play. We saw it was working early on, and knew that was the way to continue throughout the game."

"When we won the ball in our own third or defending half of the pitch, we had the ability to get forward quickly. We had a bit of speed, a bit of trickery, and skullduggery about their style of play tonight. I was happy with that, but I think I was more happy with how they dealt with the pressure from Sigma as they were seeking the tying goal."

"We stood strong in individual battles in the air and on the ground, and we played a lot of good, fast-paced football tonight, which was important," he concluded. 

"Credit to Sigma, they make us become better, but tonight I think we were better."

Sigma will need to regroup quickly, as a July 3 (2 p.m.) fixture against east division undefeated side Vaughan Azzurri at McNaughton Turf, Vaughan looms on the horizon. Sigma is currently top of the west division with a six-point lead, but the Mississauga side has played one more match than second place side FC London. 

Toronto FC Academy is in sixth place in the west division on nine points. Only two points off Oakville in fifth, the Junior Reds will be looking to show the red-hot form that saw them go undefeated in the final ten matches of the 2015 season. 

Toronto FC Academy's next match is July 2 (7 p.m.) at Sheppard's Bush, Aurora against Aurora United FC.