Match Recap: Richmond Hill Soccer Club 3 - 2 Vaughan Azzurri (Provincial Elite)
In a battle between two of the top three teams in the Provincial Elite division, first place Richmond Hill Soccer Club were able to pull off a 3-2 comeback over third place Vaughan Azzurri at Downsview Field.
The match started off with both sides having identical chances to take the lead within the first five minutes, but both attempts would miss their intended targets.
Vaughan took control of possession early on, not allowing Richmond Hill to create much in their half.
After 22 minutes of play, Vaughan's Alexander Zis slotted home the first goal of the match off a play inside Richmond Hill's box.
The Azzurri didn't stop their dominance of play there, as they were able to limit Richmond Hill to less than three quality chances before the half time whistle.
Even though they weren't able to get much past the Azzurri backline in the first 45, Richmond Hill coach, Filip Prostran, reminded his team of the positives that they can take into the next half. "I just told them to keep fighting, keep working, good things will happen.
"We are playing really well. We are creating chances, things are happening for us. I just told them to stay with it."
In the second half, Vaughan midfielder Joshua Mills did his best to crush any positives for Richmond Hill when he capitizled and made it 2-0 in the 52nd minute.
Seeing that they were now down two goals, Richmond Hill started to open up more, pressuring Vaughan to make mistakes and getting more chances on goal off set pieces.
"After we got the second, I think we stopped playing," said Vaughan coach Patrice Gheisar.
"Perhaps because we were in a good level of control of the game, maybe we decided to just look past the certain task needed."
In the 68th minute, Richmond Hill's Matthew Isabella snuck in past his markers and tapped in a low cross from the right wing which put his side on the scoreboard.
The home team didn't stop there, as they were able to continue pestering the Azzurri with strong defending and quality runs in the middle of the pitch.
Nearly 10 minutes after scoring their first goal of the match, Richmond Hill's Sean Fafinski capitalized off a scramble in Vaughan's penalty area to tie this match 2-2.
With two goals in the span of 10 minutes, RHSC seemed to have finally found the spark they lacked in the first half.
With less than five minutes remaining - and after numerous chances to go ahead - Richmond Hill's Kyle Stewart headed home the winning goal that just beat the outstretched Azzurri keeper.
When asked who he thought stood out the most in this comeback effort, Prostran said it was a team effort, not one individual. "In games like this, when everyone's working, everyone's battling, it's hard to pick out one or two [players].
"The overall team energy and fight was excellent.
"We made mistakes. They took momentum and after the first goal they just keep going," said Gheisar.
"It was difficult to adjust."
Richmond Hill now sit seven points clear of second place Durham Celtic with 19 points in eight matches.
Their next match will be in the Alf Beese Cup against Panathinaikos on July 4 at LAmoreaux #1.
As for the Azzurri, they will take on Toronto Celtic in Alf Beese Cup play on July 5, before taking on second place Durham Celtic on July 7.