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Arnold Milan Cup--Metro Lions vs Portmore United

Rocket Robin

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Result of the Sunday September 19th, 2004 special exhibition game between the CPSL Metro Lions and Portmore United (from Jamaica) in the first annual Arnold Milan International Soccer Cup played at Birchmount Stadium in Scarborough at 4:00pm.

56 min...Lions Caswain Mason GOAL...Lions Ainsley Romany on rush on left has 30 yard cross that charging Mason dives forward and connects to on 10 yard header from right that's into left side of net beyond goalie Shawn Sawyers.

65 min...Lions Marko Jankovic grabs hold of Portmore player inside Lions box to left side of net and prevents him turning around. Referee Joe Fletcher signals for a Penalty kick.

66 min...United captain Anthony Modeste blasts his Penalty kick that skies wide right of top corner of net as goalie Courtney Campbell leaps that direction.

Final Score:...........Metro Lions...........1.............Portmore United............0............

Attendance was huge on this warm sunny late afternoon. Every seat would have been filled on both sides of the stadium if people had actually squashed into them but many of the late arrivals stayed on the track in the end zones. The game was an hour late in starting with all the entertainment, introductions and speeches given. Actually a good thing as it allowed the entire crowd to get inside the stadium safely. Congratulatory letters were read from Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin and Ontario premier Dalton McGinty. FIFA exec Dick Howard also said a few words. (That was his voice--ad libbed he told me--doing the South American style "goaaaaallllllll" calls during last night's A-League Finals broadcast).

Portmore got an early chance at the 4 minute mark but the player booted a 15 yard shot wide left. This set the tone for the United team the rest of the evening. Many of their shots were off target or mistimed. Lions defense was steady and they were under pressure from the time after they scored their goal when the United team stepped it up a notch. Lions goalies Gregory Drakes, Anandeep Saini and Courtney Campbell share the shutout and all made a few good saves. Drakes started and was replaced at 30 minutes. Saini was replaced at 64 minutes by Campbell who was immediately under pressure to stop the penalty kick 2 minutes later.

Lions forward Gabriel Salustius looked the best player at forward setting up good passes although well covered himself. Gregory Messam was made the honoury captain for today's game. He was a former Jamaican national team player. Ainsley Romany had been in the same position just a few minutes before the Lions goal but kicked it too hard and the ball sailed well wide of the net. He took something off his next kick and Caswain Mason was able to get to it.

The game was originally delayed from last Sunday because of Hurricane Ivan. Air Jamaica flew in the visiting team earlier this week. The game was turned into a fundraiser for hurricane relief.

This was the first Arnold Milan International Soccer Cup. He is the owner of the Metro Lions and this is to become an annual event with an international team being brought in each year. Seeing the overflow crowd at today's match, this looks like an instant success. Milan came over to me and asked what I thought of his team's performance. (I hadn't been sure until today which guy was actually Arnold Milan). Well they were hanging on at the end but they did look good I said. Also I mentioned if the team could have 10% of this crowd come back to their CPSL games during the week, they'd be a huge success. Milan said he was advised not to play Portmore because his team would get beaten 11-0. The Lions did work the ball out of their own end and didn't resort to the long ball more than a few times.

Lions were billed as the 2003 Canada Cup Finalist. Portmore United were billed as the 2003 Jamaican champions. This team was formerly named Hazard United and I had seen them beat the APSL Toronto Blizzard in 1994 1-0 when the Blizzard had a player red carded in the first half.

The crowd was very pro Jamaican but they liked good soccer so good moves by the Lions and their goals drew cheers.

Rocket Robin


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