The proverbial game of two halves ensued at University of Windsor on Friday night as visitors Woodbridge finally won 4-1 over Windsor TFC, but not without a comeback being necessary.
"I thought the whole team played decent," said Woodbridge head coach, Peter Pinizzotto. "We played against a pretty good team tonight."
"Windsor plays pretty quick in transition and they had a few chances themselves. I think what I liked about my team overall is that we never gave up, they never put their heads down even when they tied the game with five minutes left in the first half."
Milan Beader (31', 58') got two on the night for the Strikers, his first coming just after the hour mark, but Windsor had a better of play in the first frame and Noah Pio (41') pulled out the equalizer going into the break.
"I think [Pio] was a part of what we did well today, but we also adjusted our formation to create more attacking chances in the final third and it worked," said Windsor head coach Zibby Piatkiewicz.
"We were creating a lot of chances, we just couldn't finish."
Quillan Roberts (Photo: Martin Bazyl)
Woodbridge began to assert themselves more and more so in the second half, and once again it was keeper Quillan Roberts that was there for one clutch save after another when needed. Gradually, the momentum slid the direction of the visitors as Woodbridge showed the form that has brought them to top of the east division.
"Overall Roberts has been a key part of why we are in first place today, he has made the saves at the right time, but I have to give credit to my team," said Woodbridge's Pinizzotto. "It is not just one person."
"You could see in the second half we had a few chances to score, and then Windsor went down to ten and it opened up the game a bit more," he added.
"They were trying to tie the game and it left too many opportunities for us to put the game away and we did so."
Milan Beader (Photo: Martin Bazyl)
A dismissal to Windsor defender Jamar Kelly (69') put the hosts in a very difficult position, and as they pushed for the equalizer they were caught on the break by Woodbridge's Luca Baldassarre (87', 90').
Baldassarre's brace in the final three minutes makes it the third occasion this season when he has been a match winner for the Strikers coming off the bench.
"I think we were a little unlucky in front of the net and discipline played a part in that as well," said Piatkiewicz.
"If you ask me, we were playing pretty well today. We were moving the ball well, and we just came up a little short. The scoreline really doesn't show what happened in this game."
"We just have to go back on the practice field and practice actually finishing," he concluded. "We have to make sure we actually put those ones away."
Windsor TFC will next play Vaughan Azzurri on June 25 at McNaughton Turf, Vaughan.
Woodbridge Strikers will next play FC London on June 25 at Vaughan Grove, Woodbridge.
Luca Baldassare (Photo: Martin Bazyl)