London Squeaks out First Leg Victory
FC London Women's SoccerEtay Kuperman
FC London’s Women’s team were looking to win game one of a two-game aggregate series, in the second round of the league one playoffs against Vaughan SC on Saturday evening. London was coming off a dominant first-round series where they beat FC Oshawa 7-1 in aggregate. Vaughan was also coming off a dominant series, in which they beat Alliance FC 8-0 in aggregate.
London won a nail-biter 4-3 on Saturday, to take the lead after the first leg.
London came out slow, giving up two goals in the first 15 minutes. The first was three minutes in, scored by Vaughan forward Yoanna Peralta. The second was 12 minutes in scored by Vaughan midfielder Cassidy Brooks.
After those two goals, London began to rally. Having several chances in the latter part of the first half, this culminated in London getting on the scoreboard in the twenty-third minute, when London midfielder Kayla McQueen scored to make the game 2-1.
There was a scary moment in the first half, when London striker Jade Kovacevic, who suffered an injury in game one of last week's series, went down in an apparent knee on knee collision. Thankfully, she was able to get up by herself and stay in the game. After the game, Jade has this to say “..Every game obviously there’s some knocks and our coach is actually very good at our post-game recovery and taking time throughout the week to take injury prevention measures. So yeah I feel great.”
The marquee matchup of the night was London’s captain, striker and leading goal scorer Jade Kovacevic versus, Vaughan’s captain and top defence Teniola Odetoyinho. It was clear early on that Teniola was to shadow Jade, whenever she was in Vaughan’s defensive zone, and it worked in the first half, as Jade went off-sides several times and missed the net on her only shot attempts in the first half.
However, thanks to some game plan adjustments, Jade came out firing in the second half scoring three goals, one in the 48th minute on a breakaway. One in the 58th minute on a breakaway and finally one in the 81st minute on a beautiful strike roughly 25 yards out to finish off the hat trick. “.. I noticed that I had some space at the top of the 18, and I noticed that this keeper stepped a couple yards off of her goal line and I figured it was a good opportunity to at least try this shot, because I haven’t tried her from afar yet and I hit it well and it went in,” said Jade after the game about her hat trick scoring goal.
Vaughan wouldn’t go away quietly though, having numerous chances in the last ten minutes of the game, culminating in a goal in extra time. This goal was scored by Vaughan forward Colleen Beesley.
That was it for the night as London held on to win 4-3. “We're going to go back and review this game, and obviously come up with a game plan. We were not going to be happy about this, this was not a good result for us. At the end of the day we worry about how we play just as much as the result, and we did some things well and we did some things poorly that we have to improve upon,” said coach Michael Marcoccia after the game about game two.
London now leads the series 4-3 on aggregate. The second leg will be next Sunday the 25th at 7:00 pm in Vaughan.