Soccer: Lakers nipped out of the playoffs

As construction workers worked on the buildings of downtown Toronto, the Varsity Blues hammered the Nippising Lakers 6-0 to start their 2019 OUA playoff campaign.

There’s many dream places to play a soccer match, but for the few people who witnessed tonight’s playoff game, Varsity Stadium was the place to be. The air was crisp, the sun setting and the CN Tower in glistened in the distance. Everything was perfect for the first game of the playoffs.

Keeping to the theme of perfection, the Varsity Blues could not have dreamed of a more ideal start than they got against the Lakers. Toronto came into the game as the third seed, narrowly missing out on the first round bye, meanwhile, the Lakers squeaked into the playoffs in the sixth seed.

U of T asserted their dominance early, finding the back of the net in the third minute with a goal from Atchu Sivananthan. The former Guelph Gryphon bursted down the right-hand side and slid the ball smoothly past Laker’s goalkeeper Gabriel Pastore. While it was a nice finish, the Nippising defender was on the wrong side of Sivananthan, who was easily able to shrug off his defensive mark.

With that goal, Toronto’s game plan became clear. They were going to press, and it was going to be ferocious until the game was won.

“It was part of our plan, we wanted our midfield to press high so the opponent would not play it over us, and our pressure worked both offensively and defensively” Orlov said.

That was only the first early tally for the Blues, who added another one in the fourteenth minute to lead by a pair before the quarter-hour mark. Certainly a pretty good start for the home team.

The match was pretty well iced in the 30th minute when Nicholas Osorio, brother of Toronto FC’s Jonathan Osorio blew a shot from the top of the 18-yard box to make it a three-goal lead for the home team. Again, it was a complete defensive breakdown for the Lakers, who left the shooter completely wide open, and their netminder out to dry.

Screaming shots from distance are often the best goals in a game, but not in this one. The best goal was actually the fourth one, and the second one off the boot of Sivananthan. He collected the ball in midfield, put on the jets and blasted past a trio of defenders before slamming the ball across the net.

Toronto padded their already voluminous goal tally with a fifth in the 73rd minute and added another cherry on the already massive sundae with a sixth in the final minute.

The performance was dominant from start to finish for Toronto, who could not have dreamed of a better night for the men’s soccer team.

The Varsity Blues will now hop on the short bus ride to Downsview Park where they will take on the Ryerson Rams in the second round of the playoffs.

“I’m very excited, it’s a Toronto rivalry in the playoffs. What more could you ask for?” were the last words spoken by Orlov post-match. All that’s to say, it should be an exhilarating game between the two downtown schools.

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