League1 Ontario 2016 Women's All-Stars beat Quebec Selects 3-0 on Wednesday July 27, in an exhibition match that showed off the best of League1's All-Stars and a Quebec side filled with junior national players and provincial REX-based talent.
"I thought it was amazing," said Ron Clarke, joint head coach of the League1 All-Stars with Woodbridge's Joe Parolini and FC London's Mike Marcoccia.
"The advantage of having mature players come together made it a pleasure," he added. "We gave them a few coaching points, but their natural abilities and instincts kicked in early on and we played a fabulous game."
"We scored early and that took the weight off our backs because we had a big crowd and we wanted to please them, but after that we just got into a groove and a lot of these girls, even though they play against each other, have been in provincial programs together, and they know each other. I think we saw that familiarity on the field today."
Woodbridge's Christabel Oduro (2') opened the scoring after intercepting a pass in midfield and combining with her strike partner, Jade Kovacevic of FC London. Kovacevic darted down Quebec's left flank, shook off her marker, and hit Oduro on the run inside the box. Oduro didn't break stride, depositing the ball in the back corner with a casual side-foot.
Woodbridge central midfielder April Syme (37') was the next to get on the board, following up on a Kovacevic free kick that the Quebec keeper Lysianne Proulx couldn't hold, tapping in the rebound from a yard out.
A large body of substitutions was inherent in the exhibition match structure, and both sides made eight respective changes throughout the match.
League1 Ontario 2015 Golden Boot winner and Young Player of the Year, Woodbridge's Jessica Lisi (50') came on at half-time and scored the highlight goal of the night.
Lisi broke into the box on the Quebec right flank, and from twelve yards out she expertly chipped the onrushing keeper.
The Quebec side gathered periods of attacking momentum, knocking one long distance effort off the bar just before the half, but could not find any major gaps in the L1O All-Stars' defence.
"We were worried about Quebec because they have a REX program, they train five days a week and they know each other, but I think they are still a young group of girls and we have women on our squad and, I think, in the end that made the difference," said Clarke.
Under considerable pressure defensively, the Quebec side did show great discipline to keep their shape compact. The Selects also continually played out of tight positions in their own defensive third, either switching the point of attack, or locating free attacking players in midfield.
"It was a good match, and a good performance on our part I think," said Quebec head coach, Jessica Silva.
"The girls stuck to the game-plan. Obviously we let one go in quite early so that was tough to swallow from the beginning, but after we adapted fairly well and defended quite well," she added. "We did what we needed to do, especially given the age group and experience difference."
"The idea coming in here was to gain experience, to learn something new, to go out and play with courage. For us this was a very important match for these kids to go out and play and felt that they did fairly well."
League1 Ontario Squad: GK - Stephanie Bukovec (Vaughan Azzurri); D - Tamara Brown (Durham United FA); D - Katherine Herron (Woodbridge Strikers); D - Meghan Scott (FC London); D - Madeline Iozzi (Durham United FA); MF - April Syme (Woodbridge Strikers); MF - Julia Benatti (FC London); MF - Cat Rogers (North Mississauga); FW - Christabel Oduro (Woodbridge Strikers); FW - Jade Kovacevic (FC London); FW - Laura Gosse (Durham United FA)
Subs: Hope Sabadash (Woodbridge Strikers), Jessica Lisi (Woodbridge Strikers), Tori Chia (Darby FC), Sarah Stratagakis (Aurora United FC), Alyscha Mottershead (Woodbridge Strikers), Kira Bertrand (North Mississauga), Jackie Tessier (Kingston Clippers), Mika Richards (Vaughan Azzurri), Sona Makulova (Sanjaxx Lions)
Quebec Selects: Lysianne Proulx (Varennes), Nadege Lesperance (Lakeshore), Marike St. Pierre Mousset (Longueuil), Fanny Pelletier-Laroche (Lakeshore), Charlotte Larrivee (Lakeshore), Nahida Baalbaki (St. Leonard), Julie Casselman (Mascouche), Marika Guay (Lakeshore), Jessica De Filippo (Lakeshore), Sarah Feola (Lakeshore), Audrey-Ann Coughlan
Subs: Sydney Nelson (Lakeshore), Leonie Portelance (Brossard), Anyssa Ibrahim (Varennes), Caroline Gubernat (Lakeshore), Wayny-Natasha Balata Nguenign (Lakeshore), Julianne Vallerand (Varennes), Sophie Guilmette (Charlesbourg)