Toronto Impact defeat Futsal Club Toronto in OT Thriller to win 2011 TFL Championship
It was yet another classic match between 2 of Canada’s top mens futsal squads that needed overtime to determine the playoff champions this past Sunday for the Toronto Futsal League Championship.
In another closely fought encounter between the 2011 regular season league champions #1 ranked Futsal Club Toronto and last year’s Toronto Invitational Futsal Tournament champions the 5th ranked Toronto Impact, who made it into the final after a miraculous 4 goal comeback to beat Real Toronto last week in the semi-finals.
TFL 2011 Playoff Champions: Toronto Impact
The stands were boisterous with fans of both teams enthusiastically banging and shaking noisemakers, making for a raucous atmosphere through the game. The Impact, led by coach Lorenzo Redwood, opened up the scoring early when veteran goal-scorer Alex Lopez beat out FCT goalie Roy Blanche with a low blistering shot.
FCT would counter back quickly after some excellent passes along the wings exploited the Impact defence that saw Jonathon Bustamante equalize in the 14th minute. Each team exchanged another goal before going into the break at 2 a piece.
The final frame featured some of the most intense futsal in the country all season with both teams defending aggressively. The Impact went up 3-2 when Matt O’Connor finished off a great cross court pass from Mike De Luca.
Impact forward Josh Jaramillo aims to dribble cross court
But with 3 players that played for Canada at the 2008 Grand Priz in Brazil, FCT would certainly not bow out without a dog fight. After taking their timeout, a quick triple passing set play that Elbio Lombardi finished off brought the game back to a draw. The game continued to go back and forth before Lopez scored his 2nd of the match to yet again put the Impact by 1.
Impact’s Matt O’Connor streaking down the court trying to outpace FCT’s Chris Duenas
After a controversial call by the officials that gave FCT a penalty shot with 2 minutes left, it would be goalkeeper Blanche, stepping up to the spot and he would not disappoint as he beat Josh Lemos with a rocket up high that tied the game up at 4 and that’s how it ended in regulation time.
Sudden Death Overtime would see both teams take a more cautious approach, hoping not to concede the final goal of the season. After spreading the offensive zone deep with 2 forwards, the Impact were able to draw upon Josh Lemos to act as the 5th attacker.
The championship winner would come in the 3rd minute via a waist-level shot from lemos that deflected off of Lombardi’s back off that Blanche had no chance on. Final Score: Toronto Impact 5-4 Futsal Club Toronto. The Impact now automatically earn a spot into the Copa Canada Championships in 2 weeks time where these two squads may again face off.
Coach of the Year: Lorenzo Redwood
Mens Divison MVP: Leo Laurito (Futsal Club Toronto)
Regular Season Champions: Futsal Club Toronto
Playoff Champions: Toronto Impact
Division MVP, Leo Laurito (blue-left),trying to prevent Matt O’Connor from an attempt on net