Teams: Toronto FC, Fiorentina, Barça
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Canada Earns Well Deserved 1-0 Win Over Millwall
Burnaby, BC - Canada’s Men’s World Cup Development Team earned a well deserved 1-0 win over English First Division and 2004 FA Cup Finalists Millwall FC at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby BC, Wednesday night.
Playing their second game in the tournament, hosted and organized by the BC Soccer Association, the Canadians scored the game’s only goal in the 5th minute. Josh Simpson intercepted a pass at his own 18 and set off on a 50-yard run before sliding a perfectly weighted pass to the streaking Olivier Occean. Occean shrugged off a tackle by Millwall defender Darren Ward and, keeping his balance, slid the ball past the Millwall goalkeeper.
Ten minutes later the English side was reduced to 10 men when Matthew Lawrence was sent off for deliberately stomping on a prone Kevin de Serpa. The visitors started a large number of regulars but were no match for the Canadians on the night.
For the second consecutive game, the young group of Canadians outplayed their opposition and delivered an extremely entertaining effort.
Due in part to the departure of Tyler Hughes, Gabriel Gervais and Greg Sutton, Canadian head coach Frank Yallop rearranged his lineup with Simpson slotting in at left back and Marco Reda and Nevio Pizzolitto paired in the centre of a back four with Adrian Serioux dropping into the right back position. Serioux, who was impressive as a defensive midfielder in Monday’s 1-1 draw with Hearts, and the rest of back four allowed only one shot on goal and looked composed all night. Canadian goalkeeper Theo Zagar earned the shutout.
Vancouver’s Alfredo Valente started the game wide left but was forced to leave in the 60th minute with a hamstring pull and was replaced by Mesut Mert. Terry Dunfield and Mauro Biello controlled the midfield while Kevin de Serpa and then Chris Lemire partnered Occean up front.
Seventeen-year-old Jaime Peters started wide right and put on a show to start the second half when he ran the Millwall defenders ragged with a series of runs, dribbles, feints and crosses which had the crowd buzzing. Occean complemented his goal with a powerful and determined performance, battling for every ball and holding the ball up when needed. He came close to scoring a second with a surging run and quick shot from outside the 18, which the keeper did well to turn aside for a corner.
Yallop was again extremely pleased with the performance by his team which in only five days managed to come together and provide two outstanding efforts.
“I couldn’t be happier with the performances put in by the players. This has been a huge benefit to our program and has been a giant step forward in terms of forming the nucleus of players we will use in the semi-final round of qualifying. I want to personally thank BC Soccer for showing the initiative in hosting this great event and providing us with this opportunity,” said Yallop.
The Men’s World Cup Team will return to Vancouver on August 18 when it faces Guatemala in the opening game of the semi-final round of World Cup Qualifying at Swangard Stadium.
Canada: Theo Zagar, Josh Simpson, Marco Reda, Nevio Pizzolitto, Adrian Serioux, Alfredo Valente (Mesut Mert, 60), Terry Dunfield, Mauro Biello, Jaime Peters, Kevin de Serpa (Chris Lemire, 60), Olivier Occean. Coach: Frank Yallop.