Ontario’s own North Mississauga Panthers crowned U-14 boys champions
With the ball on his left foot, North Mississauga Panthers striker Matthew Morris had one thought in his head during the 76th minute of a scoreless U-14 Boys National Club Championships final.
“Only mindset I had was to shoot,” said Morris, who was just outside the penalty area, facing Alberta Inter’ 98 keeper Michael Clonfero. “I looked at the goalie, picked my corner and it went in.”
With that goal, the North Mississauga Panthers capped off their impressive run in the 2012 Canadian Soccer Association National Club Championships by beating Alberta 1:0 Monday at the Soccer Centre.
“I’m so happy for the boys,” Panthers head coach Rick Titus said. “They worked very hard this season, so I’m thrilled for them.”
Not only did North Mississauga win all five of its games during tournament play, it also never allowed a single goal.
“We’ve been good at keeping other teams off the scoreboard the entire year and we happened to be good at that today,” Titus said.
After a scoreless first half, the Panthers nearly took the lead in the 53rd minute as midfielder Matthew Monteiro’s shot from 30 yards out hit the crossbar. With four minutes left, it was Liam Chong Tai who helped set up Morris for the eventual game winner.
“The pressure was coming on, time was running out,” Morris said. “I would say it’s the biggest goal I’ve ever scored.”
Titus added, “(Morris) will score the big goal every time. He always makes it happen and he made it happen today. It’s incredible.”
For Inter head coach Nick Anastacio, it’s a painful ending to the tournament for his club. “The 76th minute,” he said, “we’re never going to forget that mark.“
Anastacio called his goaltending duo of Clonfero and Jacob Zottl “outstanding” during the championship and says Inter simply didn’t get enough quality scoring chances to win the final.
“I didn’t think we broke them down enough,” he said. “We didn’t do enough up front to get the job done. Ontario’s got a big solid team. We were winning some battles here and there but we weren’t getting the runs off the ball enough that were needed to break down that Ontario team.”
Quebec’s Lanaudiere-Centre took third place after defeating the Manitoba’s Winnipeg South End United 3:0.