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Winning start for Academy
February 6, 2009, 8:22 AM
Filed under: TFC Academy, Toronto FC

Toronto FC’s Senior Academy team came out on top in a rollercoaster first match of the 2009 season. James Stamopolus scored a last minute winner to give the Reds a 5-4 victory over York University at BMO Field.

TFC conceded in the first minute but drew level in the 10th minute from a volley by central midfielder Brennan McNicoll. The team started to regain confidence and shortly after scored another goal after a good work initially by Andre Verdugo who played in James Stamopolous for a neat finish. The Senior Academy then conceded three consecutive goals. Two came from corner kicks where the physical presence of the York University players made a huge difference.

During the first part of the second half both teams seemed to cancel each other out with very few goal attempts. It was not until the introduction of left winger Ashtone Morgan that the game sparked into life. Quickly after coming into the game, Morgan used his pace to get beyond the right full back and cross a ball into the box where a York University defender handled the ball which resulted in a penalty kick. Up stepped the ever growing Brennan McNicoll who clinically slotted the penalty low and hard to the goalkeeper’s right.

The score was now 4-3 in favour of York and the Senior Academy teamed had renewed confidence. A few minutes later it was Ashtone Morgan again rushing into the penalty area where he was tripped from behind and the referee pointed to the spot once again. There was only ever going to be one player to step up and take the penalty. That was Brennan McNicoll who was on a hat-rick. This time the young midfielder decided to strike his penalty to the opposite corner for his third of the match and the game was tied at 4-4.

The pick of the goals was yet to be witnessed by the modest crowd inside BMO Field. In the 89th minute, left midfielder James Stamopolous dribbled in from the right and unleashed an unstoppable drive from 30 yards that screamed into the top corner of the goal. The game was now 5-4 in favor of the TFC Senior Academy Team and the young team was celebrating as if they had just won a league title.

“It was very positive from match for us from a number of aspects,” said Senior Team Academy Coach Jason Bent. “The players responded to a negative start and focused on playing their football. Although we conceded two goals from set plays I was not overly upset because it is still the beginning of February and we have not had a chance to work on our set plays in training.”

“The boys showed great team spirit and never stopped believing they could get back into the match. The entire squad was used to good effect and I am confident that the players now realize that our success will be contingent on the strength and depth of our squad. I hope next time out we don’t concede four goals because it can’t be good for my health,” said Bent.

Source: Click Here

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