Galaxy Eye First Place
Brantford 2 London City 0Updated Monday June 29, 2015 by BRIANSMILEY / The Expositor.
It wasn't pretty and it wasn't thrilling but the Brantford Galaxy will take the three points they earned on Sunday night.
Hosting London City in a Canadian Soccer League match at Lions Park in the Steve Brown Sports Complex, Brantford won 2-0.
The win improved the Galaxy's record to 5-3 and moved the team to within one point of Toronto Croatia for first place. London falls to 0-1-6.
"It was a little bit because of the weather, the field was very wet," said Galaxy coach Tomo Dancetovic of his team's defensive strategy in the first half.
"Looks like a little bit too cautious. We were waiting to see what (London) were going to do,"
Most of the first half was played in a steady rainfall. Right from the opening kickoff, both teams appeared content to move the ball backwards instead of forward.
"The first half, we didn't know what they had," said Dancetovic. "I told them place short balls and keep possession."
Brantford's Haris Redzepi and Yan Ilic did show some desire to move forward in the first half - and defender Kyle Grootenboer made a fine defensive play. Otherwise, the game was played between the two boxes.
After a couple of early corners that resulted in no offence, Brantford's Harris Fazlagic took a shot in the 38th minute from the right side of midfield but it was just wide of the goal. That attempt drew the applause of about two-dozen fans who braved the wind and rain to watch the match.
Finally, in the one minute of extra time the referee awarded the two teams, Aleksa Markovic was able to put the first shot of the game on goal. The harmless attempt was stopped easily by Vladimir Markotic.
Just like the first half, the game's second 45 minutes featured much more east-west play than north-south action.
Thankfully it took just 20 minutes into the second half for the game's next shot but once again, it was a harmless attempt by a home player that was stopped with little effort from Markotic.
In the 70th minute, the most exciting moment of the game came and went with still no goal. At that point, the Galaxy's Markovic took the ball in the box and appeared set to fire a shot on goal but two London defenders helped snuff out that chance.
Two minutes later, Steven Lovell put a nice through ball to Redzepi into London territory. Following a brief mishandle of the ball, Redzepi recovered on the breakaway to put the ball past Markotic into the back of the goal.
The fans were pleased to finally warm their hands up with applause.
The game continued to open up from that point as Brantford's Bojan Samardzija took a ball down the wing but Markotic got his hand on that blast to keep the score at 1-0.
In the 81st minute, Lovell once again made a nice pass and this time the Galaxy's leading scorer - Zdenko Jurcevic - went in and hammered a shot home.
It was Jurcevic's 11th goal in eight games, placing him first in the league, four ahead of three other players.
Dancetovic was pleased with the end result.
"We were struggling the first 15 minutes but, after we got together, it was better," he said.
"We have a pretty good squad. The results show. We have lots of experience. It's getting better and better."
Brantford goalie Luka Besenic did not have to make a single save in recording one of the easier shutouts in his career.
After a July 3 match against Serbian White Eagles at Centennial Stadium, the Galaxy play five straight home games. Those matches will be crucial as Brantford tries to climb to the top of the league table.
"We want to be at the top of the league," said Dancetovic.
"My expectation is after that five games, to be at the top of the league."