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CPSL Rogers Cup weekend

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Result of the Friday October 8th, 2004 CPSL game between Brampton Hitmen and Toronto Croatia played at Victoria Park in Brampton at 7:30pm. This was considered the Wild-Card game of the Rogers Cup tournament.

37 min...Hitmen Jonathan Bustamante GOAL...Bustamante recovers ball in TC box in crowd of players and slides 15 yard shot from left into low right corner of net.

50 min...Toronto Croatia Zvjezdan Kresic GOAL...Kresic 27 yard freekick up middle is a hard blast that deflects off end-man in BH wall of players and ball bounces into right side of net. Hitmen's Milodrag Akmadzic had just picked up a Yellow card for not giving 10 yards in the wall.

68 min...Toronto Halburto Harris GOAL...TC Zvjezdan Kresic cornerkick from left has Harris flick 12 yard header that BH defender and goalie Tony Swaminathan get a piece of but ball trickles into right corner of net.

93 min...Toronto Leo Laurito GOAL...TC Halburto Harris on 2 on 1 on right has short pass to Laurito in center and Laurito's low 15 yard shot is into low left of net.

Attendance was about 225 on this warm night. The crowd was divided between Hitmen and Toronto Croatia supporters.

Toronto Croatia kept the pressure on for the first ten minutes of the game but after that the Hitmen finally worked their way out of their own end and the game was fairly even. The game was rough especially near the end with a lot of fouls comitted and referee Steven DePiero had to hand out some Yellow cards.

Toronto Croatia goalie George Azcurra had to be sharp at the end of the game to prevent the Hitmen from scoring the equalizer. Hitmen poured everyone forward during injury time for three cornerkicks and missed on a bicycle kick in the box and had a good shot by Jonathan Bustamante pushed wide by the goalie. The Hitmen were left short at the back and that resulted in them being caught for the third goal.

Toronto Croatia now moves on to the semi-final against Hamilton Thunder tomorrow at 1:00pm. Whoever won this game would be exhausted in having to play the conference winning Thunder so soon after this game.

Rocket Robin


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Robin: it is really a shame or "sham" that the wildcard team winner has to play so soon after the Friday night game. The CPSL has to smart'em up at this bush league setup. These two games in a day routines don't allow the body to heal. There's an inherent unfairness in this setup. JMHO

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Result of the Saturday October 9th, 2004 CPSL game between Toronto Supra and Vaughan Shooters played at Victoria Park in Brampton at 10:00am. This was a semi-final game of the Rogers Cup tournament.

10 min...Shooters Mathew Palleschi GOAL...Shooters Joey Todaro passes from 40 yards up middle to 25 yards on left that has Palleschi take 18 yard shot from left low to right corner of net beyond goalie Michael Silva.

52 min...Shooters Branco Majstorovic GOAL...Shooters Cameron Medwin 30 yard freekick from right has leaping Majstorovic head ball into net.

69 min...Supra David Sousa GOAL...Sousa weaves into Shooters box and his 18 yard shot has Shooters Jorge Molina redirect ball into low right corner of own net leaving goalie Brian Bowes diving and appearing to get a hand to it but can’t keep it out.

75 min...Shooters Fitzroy Powell GOAL...Supra Belmiro Cruz 30 yard shot is caught by Shooters goalie Brian Bowes who then quickly throws a wind aided 60 yard ball to a charging Powell and he chips 40 yarder over goalie from left into right corner of net.

85 min...Shooters Mathew Palleschi GOAL...Palleschi gets break at center and rushes by sliding defender on left on 2 on 0 with Shooters Joey Todaro and Palleschi slides 10 yarder on tough angle on left into right corner of net.

89 min...Supra RED card...Goalie Michael Silva is given a red card for an infraction by referee Calin Pintea. Backup goalie Anthony Santos is subbed in for midfielder Fred Perreira so Supra will have a backstop.

Final Score:...........Toronto Supra..........1..............Vaughan Shooters..........4.........

Attendance climbed to about 100 by the end of this game played in very windy conditions. I could see Supra would be in trouble when they couldn't score with the wind from the south at their backs. Shooters goalie Brian Bowes is known around the league for having a great arm but today's grand throw found Fitzroy Powell in the clear who scored their third goal and put the game away just as the Supra goal changed the momentum of the game.

The grounds crew at Victoria Park solved the gaping holes in the net at the south goal by tying a second strand of netting over the original and this would stop any balls from getting through some of the beach ball sized holes in the original.

The team with the third best record in the league and this division upsets the team with the best record. The early goal by Palleschi was important in building the Shooters confidence.

Rocket Robin


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Result of the Saturday October 9th, 2004 CPSL game between Hamilton Thunder and Toronto Croatia played at Victoria Park in Brampton at 1:00pm. This was a semi-final game of the Rogers Cup tournament.

29 min...Toronto Croatia Leo Laurito GOAL...Toronto Croatia Halburto Harris runs across center and pushes ball forward to Laurito who's in all alone on right, Laurito rushes downfield and rolls 15 yarder to left corner of net behind charging goalie Roberto Ferrari 10 yards off his line cutting down the angle.

80 min...Thunder RED card...Charles Gbeke for a foul on the edge of the TC box got a Yellow card then referee Alex William pulled out a Red card for the air- punching and cursing after the play. William filled in the details for me at the Awards banquet later in the evening that he'd already talked to Gbeke earlier in the game about his complaining.

88 min...Toronto Croatia Leo Marasovic GOAL...Marasovic gets away on a 2 on 1 break from 45 yards and rush has him slide in 18 yard shot with goalie diving 10 yards out unable to stop ball.

Attendance was about 100 people on this cool windy day. The wind really did play a factor in this game with the Thunder with the wind at their backs in the second half getting every shot they had with extra power towards the north goal. Toronto Croatia was really hanging on for the entire second half. Goaltender George Azcurra earned the shutout and just for that game could have earned the Goaltender of the Year award at the CPSL Awards dinner later in the evening. He did win! He looked confident rounding the player traffic and catching the crosses that that the Thunder kept putting into the box.

Another upset in today's second semi-final game. Toronto Croatia had played the previous evening in the Wild Card game and now won this matinee and now are in the final. Actually up to the last game of the season they would be a long shot to be here. They beat Brampton Hitmen with an injury time goal two Sunday's ago to jump from fourth to second in the Western Conference and passed the Hitmen in the standings and tied Windsor Border Stars but were given second because of a better record against that team. Last Sunday they beat the Border Stars 5-0 in a quarterfinal game they hosted.

Rocket Robin


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Winners of the CPSL Seventh Anniversary Annual Awards Banquet held Saturday October 9th, 2004 at La Contessa Banquet Hall in North York. Attendance was about 120.

After dinner CPSL President Stan Adamson told a few jokes that were somewhat like a 'roast' in their sting about the sad-sack Durham Storm, coin flips and the Field Turf at the Ontario Soccer Centre. (Example: “…so getting a game in on the still wet field the referee asks ‘heads or tales’ and then ‘what end do you want’ and the winning captain says ‘the shallow end please’.”)

1. Referee of the Year (presented by chief of referees Walter Kirchner) ---Amato De Luca

De Luca has been a FIFA official for two years and already has 13 internationals including USA vs. Jamaica, USA vs. El Salvador, and Portugal vs. Brazil. He is already ranked the #2 official in Concacaf!

2. Coach of the Year (presented by FIFA executive/broadcaster Dick Howard) ---Pat Hilton of Windsor Border Stars

expansion team winning the Open Canada Cup and making the league playoffs.

3. Runners up in the East---Metro Lions

4. Eastern Champions---Toronto Supra

5. Runners up in the West---Toronto Croatia

6. Western Champions---Hamilton Thunder

7. Top Scorer---Paul Munster of London City (award accepted by team physio Shawn Kevin who had to watch Munster's recovery from a career ending injury from a prior year.

8. Open Canada Cup Finalist--Ottawa St Anthony Italia (award accepted by OSA official Burt Lobo)

Ottawa were one of 12 amateur teams that entered this year's Cup competition.

9. Open Canada Cup Winner--Windsor Border Stars (accepted by owner/player Jeff Hodgson)

10. Fair Play Award--Durham Storm

this was a trophy for least yellow and red cards for the season.

11. Rookie of the Year---Paul Munster from London City

ooh. probably someone we're never see again based on hearing he's trying out for teams in the Czech Republic. He's from Northern Ireland so he could try out for any European team. Last year's winner was 30-something veteran player Darren Tilley who didn't return to the league.

12. Goaltender of the Year (presented by Dick Howard)--George Azcurra from Toronto Croatia who accepted the award dressed formally in black the same colours he usually wears as goaltender.

Dick Howard also comments that in two years Toronto Croatia will be celebrating their 50th anniversary. He also saluted the women of the game. Wives who put up with their spouses and the many women's officials in the game.

13. Defender of the Year (presented by Burt Lobo) ---Justin Marshall of Windsor Border Stars

yeah I watched him this year in the backline and running the wings to start rushes and taking many of the up field dead ball kicks.

14. referee official Walter Kirchner gave a special award to the female officials of the CPSL. This year the league had an 'all women' crew of Stephanie Dan Haan, Deb O'Hara, Lisa McNeil, and Tamara Reitsma officiating the Hamilton Thunder vs. St Catharines Roma Wolves game and the players supposedly uttered no four letters for the entire ninety minutes. Each of these women was presented with a special plaque.

15. MVP of the Year (presented by league president Vince Ursini) ---Danny Amaral of Toronto Supra

16. Presidents Award (presented by Vince Ursini) ---Bruno Ierullo of North York Astros

given to the top executive/organizer.

Now Vince Ursini gave a speech about the state of the league although we now had to compete against the blaring dance music of the wedding dinner downstairs pumping through the floor.


thanked the officials, and the Windsor Border Stars for their success.

he's having discussions with BC and Alberta teams to enter the Open Canada Cup next year.

he complained about the CSA ignoring the professional game in Canada (they only admin National teams and the amateur game) and therefore the CPSL will have to do it ourselves.

the two international teams the league hosted this year Boavista Portugal and Portmore United Jamaica came off as a great success.

congratulated George Azcurra for winning goaltender of the year with quip that he'd won it for two years in a row then didn't win last year when he got married.

he said female referees made no difference to the games this year which was a good thing.

one reason the league emphasized female officials this year is the CPSL is trying to launch a woman's league in 2005 or more likely 2006 but still has some political hurdles.

he then thanked a barrage of names like Clifford Dell, Walter Kirchner, Stan Adamson, the Brampton Hitmen organization for hosted this year's championship, Bruno Ierullo (Astros owner), Julian Carr (from their television show The CPSL Soccer Show, he was here videoing the presentation), club owners, and the winner of this Monday's Vaughan Shooters vs. Toronto Croatia game.

17. Stan Adamson presents a special award to Enio Perruzza "The Voice of the CPSL" who has been the announcer for the North York Astros for 14 years. [Enio told me earlier in the day he has announced around forty games this year when we consider the Astros and Shooters home dates at Ontario Soccer Centre and the Open Cup games he did].

18. Lastly OSA president Colin Linford gave a short speech.

he knows the CPSL is really the only Canadian professional league (remember the A-League has Canadian teams but is still American run) and wants to make the CPSL voice heard. He wants the CPSL to expand across Canada and it must stay a flag bearer.

Earlier in the evening I'd asked Border Stars execs about their great attendance in both Windsor and Michigan (some overlap of crowds, no border hassles by customs officials. crowds of 1500 hundred some games compared to the 'under 100' that I see at too many Toronto games) and the struggle of getting enough players on their roster to come for their Toronto area road trips.

Calin Pintea and Al Perreira have had a pretty successful year running the Soccer On-Line website. Certainly I've been happy knowing the names on the roster and officials a few days before the games. Posting my game reports to their website certainly has made me better known by players, fans, and officials then I was when I just posted to just the Voyageurs message board and my own web page.

I asked Charles Gbeke (Ottawa Wizards, Toronto Lynx, Hamilton Thunder) about playing next year but he's already got his agent working on some tryouts in Europe.

The trophies (from sponsor Olympic Trophies) looked pretty good again this year with most molded into a chiseled maple leaf just like the CPSL logo. Dozens of trophies were not presented but they were for individual players who played on the winning and runner up teams--winning awards were almost twice the size of runner up awards. Fortunately there were cardboard boxes so the awards could be loaded up and distributed by the individual teams. There was no swarming of teams to the front this year to pick up team awards. Actually there weren't a lot of players here this year.

Rocket Robin


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Toronto Croatia wins CPSL title

BRAMPTON, Ont. (CP) - Leo Marasovic scored two goals as Toronto Croatia beat the Vaughan Shooters 3-0 Monday to claim the Canadian Professional Soccer League championship.

Marasovic, a midfielder, scored in the 49th and 59th minutes while Marco Milicevic added another two minutes from time to help Toronto Croatia win its fourth major title since the club's formation in 1956.

The Vaughan Shooters had the best opportunities to score in the first half lead, but failed to find the net. Toronto Croatia then took control of the match in the second half, despite playing for the third time in four days.

"We just didn't give up despite playing so much recently," said Velmir Crljn, Toronto Croatia's player coach.

"And it paid off."

Toronto Croatia defeated the Brampton Hitmen 3-1 in a wild-card game Friday and shut out the Hamilton Thunder 2-0 in a semifinal Saturday. The Vaughan Shooters earned a berth in the final with a 4-1 victory over the Toronto Supra.

Toronto Croatia previously won the Canadian title as Metros-Croatia in 1976. The club also won professional soccer titles in the National Soccer League in 1992 and the Puma League in 1995.


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Oops forgot to crosspost here from an e-mail I sent to Soccer Online and NUKE Soccer.

Anyway I should get the last laugh because there definitely was a fourth goal scored! I had to ask the referee who he gave credit to then talk to Zupan to ask who passed him the ball.


Result of the Monday October 11th, 2004 CPSL game between Vaughan Shooters and Toronto Croatia played at Victoria Park in Brampton at 3:00pm. This was the Rogers Cup final.

49 min...Toronto Croatia Leo Marasovic GOAL...Toronto Croatia Edin Kalic on left from 45 yards crosses through middle to find Marasovic on rush on right and his run from 25 yards where he rolls a 12 yarder into left corner of net.

60 min...Toronto Croatia Leo Marasovic GOAL...Shooters defender Angelo Pollastrone ignores the calls from his goalie Brian Bowes to let the ball roll inside the box so he could pick it up and instead clears only 12 yards where ball is intercepted by Marasovic who lofts 25 yarder into left side of net.

85 min...Shooters RED card...Jason DeThomasis gets it for tackle from behind on TC Zvjezdan Kresic injuring him near center line.

85 min...Toronto Croatia RED card...goalie George Azcurra for swatting/punching/cold-cocking face of Jason DeThomasis in retaliation. He'd come 45 yards out of his net when players started to push each other. De Thomasis went down like a ton of bricks. Referee Amato De Luca wasn't left with much choice. Back up goalie Vinko Kozina was brought in to replace the injured Kresic so the team would have a goaltender.

90 min...Toronto Croatia Marko Milicevic GOAL...TC Leo Marasovic rush on right on 2 on 1 has ball passes to Milicevic who kicks in 5 yarder to right side of net.

94 min...Toronto Croatia Antonijo Zupan GOAL...TC Leo Marasovic breaks in on right and kicks ball that deflects off sliding defender VS Jorge Molina and momentum carries ball across face of box where Zupan kicks the ball in from one yard although it may have rolled in anyway.

Final Score:..............Vaughan Shooters.........0...........Toronto Croatia...........4............

Attendance was about 300 on this cool sunny day. The wind was not a factor in today's game. The field was soft so some mud was flying on a few kicks.

The game was closer than the score indicated with the Shooters having about three good chances to score in the first half although Toronto Croatia had more just as many if not more. Leo Marasovic replaced Leo Laurito at halftime and his fresh legs gave them more speed after the break. Shooters were caught short at the back during the last few minutes of the game with even goalie Brian Bowes playing 40 yards off his line at times to keep the pressure in the Toronto Croatia end.

Referee Amato DeLuca gave out quite a few Yellow cards too but that was to keep control of the game.

George Azcurra was allowed back on the field to hoist the Rogers Cup trophy after the game was over and be in the team pictures. The bench was shocked that he'd take the initiative or be baited into swinging at Jason DeThomasis. DeThomasis had been Red carded for a kick from behind near the end of the Shooters vs Metro Lions quarter-final match in which he injured the player he checked so he missed the Shooters vs. Toronto Supra semi-final under suspension.

A VIP room was set up for after the game. I wasn't going to attend but stayed a few minutes. London City coach/owner Harry Gauss was still talking about Paul Munster. The loyalty and what a good player he was. Munster could have left during the Labour Day weekend for an English team in the Northern premier league (non-divisional) and be paid for playing but elected to stay with London City for their Open Canada Cup run. He had no commitment with City but stayed around to complete the season. He also scored his goals usually one at a time or four when the team really needed them but he didn't pad his totals by rolling them in once the games were blowouts. He should have been signed for a two year contract in the Czech league but the new manager hadn't taken over yet so the old manager has him there on a three week trial. Gauss called Munster "The Real Deal".

I didn't hang around in the VIP room for long after the game so I could home in time for Thanksgiving dinner with my family. This was my 54th CPSL game of the season! There were probably a lot of more stories in that room but it was finally time to end my season.

Rocket Robin


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