Bruins lose in dramatic fashion at OCAA tourney


The Sheridan Bruins lost the opening game of the OCAA provincial soccer tournament in dramatic fashion against the Cambrian Golden Shields, 3-2, bowing out after a penalty shootout.

Participants at this year’s tourney at Centennial Park in Etobicoke, consisted of host Humber Hawks (9-0-1 OCAA), Sheridan (6-5-1 OCAA), Cambrian (5-2-4 OCAA), UTM Eagles (2-5-3 OCAA), Fanshawe Falcons (7-1-2 OCAA), Algonquin Thunder (7-0-3 OCAA), Fleming Knights (3-4-3 OCAA) and finally Niagara Knights (3-5-2 OCAA).

The Double Blue went in to the tournament with some momentum finishing the regular season in second, behind Humber, in the Central Division.

It was bitterly cold at field level. Winter was in the air as snow fell over Centennial, accompanied by strong winds making it very tough on players and forcing coaches to change strategies.

“The weather affected us big time. We are a team that keeps the ball, keeps possession. With the other team playing long balls and the strong winds, it helped them a lot. It was hard for us to play our game,” Bruins coach Andrew Seuradge said.

The conditions came in to play soon after kick-off. Cambrian took advantage of the weather, playing a 50-yard pass over the defence, which got caught up in the air. The Golden Shields lone forward Marcello Tantallo, had the ball bounce his way breaking free, alone on the Bruins goalie, slotting the ball home.

The location of the field didn’t help the Double Blue either. Situated in the middle of a bowl, amplifying the bad conditions. Despite that, coach Seuradge urged his players to keep the ball on the deck.

Sheridan persistence paid off with 10 minutes left in the first half. In the 35th minute the ball was worked from left to right shifting the Cambrian defence out of position. The ball was eventually sent in, finding Joshua Persaud to the left of the Golden Shields’ keeper, where he converted a tough angle shot just inside the far post.

The Bruins were dominating the flow of the game in the first half even though the spoils were shared. Right after kick off of the second half, Sheridan worked the ball just outside of the box earning a direct free kick. Captain Manny Morgado stepped up to take it, and rifled one off the cross bar and out.

Seuradge was yelling from the sidelines for his team to keep the ball and control the game, but Cambrian stole the momentum. For about 15 agonizing minutes, the Golden Shields were buzzing around the Sheridan penalty area. Nothing came of the pressure.

After an uneventful second half, the game was sent to extra time. Where the Bruins produced some great link up play around the opposing 18-yard box. They would eventually break through where a foul was committed on the Sheridan forward, prompting the referee to point to the penalty spot.

Again captain Morgado took the responsibility on the set piece. With a determined look in his face he calmly curled his penalty off the post and in to the net, giving his team the 2-1 lead.

It was a back and forth game from there, with Cambrian playing the ball long to force some offence. With almost no time on the clock, the Golden Shields piled every player into the Sheridan box for a free kick from 50 yards out. The ball was played over the top right onto the Bruins penalty spot and tipped in to the net by Tantallo. The goal was virtually the last kick of the game, sending it to the dreaded penalty shootout.

“Our marking was our downfall in this game. We knew that they like to play that way, kick the ball long and play for penalties and we let them do it,” Seuradge said.

After 120 plus minutes of play, each team was visibly tired. Captain Morgado for Sheridan stepped up and his shot was saved. Cambrian missed their first shot as well, setting up an exciting finale. Unfortunately for the Double Blue the game ended with a Cambrian victory, relegating them to the consolation bracket.

“We knew we were the better team and I think we let Cambrian into the game. We didn’t control the game as well as we should have and it cost us in the end.

“It’s a tough loss for us but we have 15 guys coming back for next year, so I think we can learn from this and come back stronger next year,” Morgado said after the game.

The Bruins were hoping to finish in the top two in the OCAA tournament, which would give them qualification to the Nationals in November. Unfortunately the loss leaves them looking to next season. They finished the year 6-3-1, a record the team can be proud of.


Here is an infographic showing in depth stats, the way the group stage was set up and a map of the location is provided.