It was a match filled with pace, skill and back-and-forth action at Esther Shiner stadium between two first year clubs, North Toronto Nitros and Toronto Skillz.
North Toronto's Killian Elkinson (52') provided the lone goal off a penalty kick, as the match saw many chances squandered throughout.
From the beginning, it seemed that North Toronto was the team in control. They held the ball more often than their opponents, created numerous chances on goal, and moved the ball around with ease. What did let them down was their ability to finish, which was something coach Gary Fleming wanted his team to solve.
"In the first half we had some chances that we could've been two or three [up], and game over. Second half they had chances to come into it, I lost count on how many corners they had. But overall we are happy with the win," said Fleming.
"It was a one goal game, anything can happen."
Toronto Skillz entered the match with a 3-13-3 record, but looked sharp at times in the match, and even caught North Toronto off guard a few times.
Head coach Leslie Fitzpatrick mentioned after the game that something was more important than the result, and that was seeing his younger players play quality minutes in a League1 Ontario match.
"Performances by some of the youngest players is what we are looking for and is something to build on."
Only three Toronto Skillz players playing against the Nitros didn't go through their academy, and the majority were prospects.
Players like Wadoui Fadul, Roen Fordyce-Hlywka and Sameer Fathazada were mentioned by Fitzpatrick as being key members for their team in the match, and for good reason.
Fadul, a 17-year-old forward, used his pace to create chances on the wing and was able to open up the play, while Fathazada looked strong in his central attacking role, and served well as a prime attacking option for his side.
"It was a tough game. North Toronto is a quality team and kudos to them. Unfortunate on our end, one mistake and that's it," said Fitzpatrick.
The story of the season for a talented Toronto Skillz has been not finishing their chances and there were times when they could've tied it up or even taken the lead.
However, North Toronto’s strong back-line was the difference on the night.
"There were times where the physicality and the speed came out for both sides, as both teams have a lot of athletic talent. And there were other moments where you could see a lot of skill and execution," said Fitzpatrick.
Fleming did speak out about the stellar play of Bradley Ogbevuon, Gianpiero Sansonetti and Akibul Hoque, who are all youth prospects for the Nitros and were able to put in a solid performance on Sunday.
Ogbevuon was an ongoing threat down the left wing for North Toronto, looking to set up crosses for his teammates and making the opposition work hard to stop him. Hoque played a quieter role in the middle, but looked composed and handled himself well. His work inside the box is what lead to him being hauled down and Elkinson’s goal.
With the win, North Toronto is now tied for third in the east with Durham United FA on 36 points. Their next match will be against Aurora United FC on Saturday, September 24.
As for Toronto Skillz, they will need to handle a Vaughan Azzurri side looking to clinch first in the League1 Ontario east division on Sunday, September 25.