(WINDSOR, ON) – Windsor TFC got the ball rolling on the 2017 League 1 Ontario season with a home match last night against the visiting North Mississauga Panthers. Striker Celso Carapau led the full effort of the side and staked Windsor to a 2-1 victory.
The Panthers were first on the board with a 33rd minute goal which found its way past keeper Kyle Vizirakis. Windsor pressed forward, however, and were rewarded with a penalty kick when Carapau was obstructed in penalty area. His shot managed to elude the keeper who guessed to dive to the proper side of the net.
“I put a little bit of pace on it,” Carapau related after the game. “[Stephen Ademolu] kinda looked at me and said how to stay focussed on it, gave it a little bit of pace, and it went in.”
Carapau’s tenacity would be recognized less than 10 minutes later when he discovered the ball inside the 6 yard box and finished strongly.
“I kinda reacted to it a little bit quicker because the guy went to head it out and he fanned on it and I jumped it, hit it with a little bit of pace, and it went past the goalie,” said Carapau.
It took Windsor a while to find their feet from the opening whistle. Somewhat tentative and still learning their roles under first-year coach Zibby Piatkiewicz, once warmed up the team did a fine job of controlling the ball and finding the open man.
“For the first 30 minutes, [North Mississauga] were dominating the game,” said Piatkiewicz. “But I think after that goal that they scored, it woke us up a little bit, so the guys figured out what they should be doing on the field.”
Despite the increased play, there were still moments of confusion in the back end. At times, Vizirakis resembled a sweeper as he journeyed as far as 30 yards from his goal line to fix a broken play. And into extra time, the Panthers came within inches of tying the game on a shot which bounded past the far post.
The overall play by Windsor was strong from every corner of the pitch. Jamar Kelly dominated on defense and showed signs of why he was a league All Star last season. The midfield was ably managed by Ciprian Codea, Chris Al-Youssef, Brad Dos Santos, and Luke Husbands.
“Jamar is a beast. I mean, this guy is something else,” said Piatkiewicz. “We didn’t know till last week if he was going to play this year. Trust me, I’m glad that he’s here.”
Newcomers Damon Johnson and Bryce Phillips didn’t look out of place along side the returning veterans like Ademolu, Stefan Zastavnikovic, and Kyle Ruggaber. The full effort from all involved resulted in 3 points on the league ladder.
Beginning last night, Windsor TFC announced that all home matches will be played at Alumni Field this season. Game 2 takes place Sunday, May 7, with the kickoff at 4:00pm, when the Oakville Blue Devils come to town. Windsor drew 2-2 at home and lost 4-2 on the road to Oakville in two matches last year.