By: Kajan Thiruthanikasalam
NORTH YORK, ONT.- Sparks always fly whenever the Centennial Colts and the Seneca Sting face off against each other, just in general. It is especially evident when it comes to men's soccer.
Wednesday night's installment of the Centennial-Seneca rivalry was at Seneca Fields as both teams were battling to get a crucial win to better position themselves in what has been a very competitive OCAA East.
The Colts felt like they let an opportunity slip away last time they faced the Sting in what turned out to be a scoreless draw in their season opener. They didn't let up this time.
Two goals within a span of two minutes early in the first half proved to be the difference as Centennial (5-2-2) beat Seneca (2-2-3), 2-0. They have now earned at least a point in three straight games.
"If they (Seneca) beat Durham and we beat Fleming, it means we finish second," Julian Carr, Colts Head Coach, said about the implications from this win. "That's why these three points were huge."
It was expected to be a chippy battle and it did not disappoint as a total of eight yellow cards were handed out, with four from each team.
"It's always important for us to keep our heads (in the game)," Carr said. "If one of us coaches gets thrown out, we still play with 11. If one of them gets thrown out, we play with 10, nine and so forth. If they keep their heads, we're fine."
Although Seneca had the edge in shots (20-13), Centennial had the Sting's number in shots on goal (10-5) and corner kicks (6-5).
Brandon Love made two out of four saves for the loss while Tayjon Campbell filled in for the rest of the game and stopped all six shots he faced.
Tristen Wilson set the tone for Centennial to start off the game as he used his speed to generate numerous chances on net. They finally broke through in the 17th minute when Matveev took advantage of Love mishandling the ball off of a corner kick and buried it top shelf for his second goal of the season.
Centennial added to their goal tally in the 19th minute after Mirabal fired away a free kick from 35 yards out in which it deflected off Love's fingertips before hitting the top right corner for his first goal of the season, to the delight of his teammates and the Colts fans in attendance.
"I've seen it before. I know what he's capable of," Carr said about Mirabal's goal. "I'm just ticked off that I didn't have it on film."
Centennial was then forced to go on the defensive as Seneca was desperate to get on the board. But the defense was up to the task as they blocked numerous attempts and Oneyeka made three point blank saves, including a deflection off a top shelf attempt from Seneca's Jackson Ofosu in the 40th minute as the Colts went into halftime up two.
In the second half, there were a total of six yellow cards as things began to get even more physical with a frustrated Sting squad desperately trying to get back into the game.
Their best chance came in the 54th minute when a free kick was deflected in the back of the net- only for the referee to wave off the goal because of offside. Seneca never had a more threatening sequence after that as Centennial held on for the win.
The Colts wrap up their regular season at home against the Fleming Knights (0-7) but despite their record, Carr says not to take them lightly especially with the top four teams in the OCAA East not set in stone yet.
"There is no creature that's more dangerous than a wounded animal; right now, Fleming is a wounded animal," Carr said. "They don't want to finish winless. We have to put them away early and play our game."
Centennial finishes the road portion of the season undefeated with a 4-0-1 record.
TOP 3 PERFORMERS OF THE GAME
Marcus McGlynn (MF)
Josh Persaud (MF)
Dylan Campbell (F)
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The Colts have a full week off before their final game of the regular season at Progress Turf Field against the Fleming Knights on Wednesday Oct. 17 at 8:15 pm.