Guelph United, Electric City tie one on in opener
GUELPH – Nil. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Naught.
Pick whichever one you want as that’s the total number of goals scored in Guelph United’s League1 Ontario men’s soccer league season opener Thursday night.
United began defence of its league championship title by battling the expansion Electric City FC of Peterborough to a scoreless standoff at Alumni Stadium.
Guelph United 0 Electric City 0
Both teams had some stellar scoring chances in the physical match, but the goalkeepers were equal to the challenge of all shots that made it to them. And not all of those glorious chances resulted in shots on target as players on both squads also put shots just over the crossbar.
Electric City might be an expansion squad, but they come into the league with aspirations of becoming a full-blown professional outfit and they look to repeat United’s first-year success.
Last year United finished atop the Western Division and then prevailed in the crossover playoffs with a marathon shootout win over Master’s FA of Scarborough in the semifinals and a 3-1 victory over Blue Devils FC of Oakville in the final. Due to the pandemic, the league operated with two divisions and they never played outside their own division until the playoffs.
This year the league is back to its usual one-division format and each team will play every other team in the league once for a 19-game regular season.
United’s roster of 22 players listed on the L1O website includes 14 players who were on the championship-winning roster last season – Jared Agyemang, Evan Dick, Lucas Doros, Nicolas Galvis, Jace Kotsopoulos, Harvey Marchant, Amardo Oakley, Luke Rankin, Jack Sears, Tomasz Skublak, Dion Stergiotis, Ian Vidovich, Devante Walker and Alexander Zis. There are also Cole Fernandez, Gray Yates and Parmpreet Johal up from United’s reserve squad.
Newcomers are Tedi Lisi, Marko Maletic, Owen Sheppard, Sam Spoelstra and Marcel Zajic.
Lisi is an Albanian who was with the Cape Breton Capers university team last fall after a couple of years of junior college play in the U.S.
Zajic played in Poland last year and previously played in L1O with Sigma FC and he also spent two years in the Canadian Premier League with Forge FC of Hamilton.
Maletic played with FC London last year while Sheppard also played university soccer at Cape Breton.
Spoelstra’s the new keeper, one United knows well as he’s toiled with FC London and Western Mustangs in Ontario university play. Remember, United’s coaching staff is also the coaching staff for the Guelph Gryphons.
United now have three consecutive road games before their next league match at Alumni Stadium. They’re to play Alliance United FC at Scarborough’s Centennial College April 30 at 6 p.m., ProStars FC at Victoria Park in Brampton May 7 at 7 p.m. and Woodbridge Strikers at Vaughan Grove May 15 at 7 p.m. before hosting Master’s FA May 19 at 8 p.m.
However, United will have a home game in the Canadian championship tournament May 10 when they’re to battle CPL side HFX Wanderers of Halifax in the opening round. Game time is 7 p.m.
HFX is 1-1-0 in CPL league play this season.
Winner of the United-HFX game is to host MLS’s Toronto FC in the second round. That game is to be held either May 24, 25 or 26.
- Guelph Sports Journal