London Advances With Dominant Effort
FC London Women's SoccerGreg Bowman
FC London’s women’s team is off to the League 1 Ontario semifinals after a 3-0 win over FC Oshawa on Saturday night. London wins the home-and-home 7-1 on aggregate.
“We have a lot of respect for our opponents…we knew if we didn’t score first, this could have been a very different game,” said Head Coach Mike Marcoccia after the game. “If you concede first, then the gap becomes a two-goal gap and then you have a problem. Our goal was to score and then once we scored once, we obviously continued to score.”
London led 4-1 on aggregate coming in, winning the first leg of the matchup last week in Oshawa. The four goals were split between Jade Kovacevic and Marisa Oliveira, who both had two.
It was more of the same in London’s home-half, with Oliveira scoring her third goal of the matchup in the 34th minute of the game: “All I saw was the ball get placed to Jade [Kovacevic], and then Jade fumbled it like a house league player,” joked Oliveira on the goal. “So, I just continued on and slid in there – also like a house league player – and that was the end of that. We both agreed ‘let’s move on.’”
Oliveira’s goal gave London a 1-0 lead at halftime, with the home side dominating the possession. While London could have just parked the bus and played for a tie, they were in control of the entire game.
That control continued into the second half. Jade Kovacevic got on the board with her third goal of the matchup: “I always try to think of moments where I act in games and what goes through my head, but sometimes you just react,” explained the London captain on her goal. “In that moment, I think for a split second the keeper gave me cross-goal, so I just went with it because it’s what I saw, and I’m surprised too that I got my foot on it.” Kovacevic’s goal came off a volley while a defender was draped all over her.
Oliveira added her second of the game about 10 minutes later. The midfielder scored four of London’s seven goals in the series: “This is the highest I’ve played for sure,” commented Oliveira on her level of play. “I haven’t played anywhere overseas, I haven’t played for Team Canada or anything like that but playing with players who have…it definitely makes me a better player.”
It appears that FC London will be taking on Vaughan Azzurri FC in the semifinals. The two teams previously played in the first game of the regular season. Vaughan came away with a 2-1 win at home against a London team comprised of many call-ups, and no Jade Kovacevic.
“We have to be fantastic. Vaughan is the better team. They finished higher, they had the better regular season. So, at this moment, they’re the better team,” commented Marcoccia on the next round’s matchup. “In order to beat Vaughan, we have to be perfect.”
It will be up to Vaughan on where the first leg of the League 1 semifinals is to be played as they are the higher seed and make the schedule. Regardless, the first leg will be played next weekend.
London is searching for its third League 1 Ontario title in the past four years.