April 30, 2023-Windsor City FC vs St. Catharines Roma Wolves League1 Ontario
Anticipation was obvious Windsor was ready for their team to come home. At this early point in the season, both teams had lots to gain. For St. Catharines this game provided a chance to go above .500. For Windsor a valuable first victory of the 2023 campaign and a memorable home opener in their new home Acumen Stadium. Much of the pregame was overcast weather, but this did not stop the Windsor City FC faithful from turning out. The importance of this fan presence is something not lost on the assistant coach, Rob Arce, “It means a lot to these guys. The friends, family, and community are proud of these players. The fans help serve as the 12th man and inspire the players to perform better.” When asked about what the team needs to do on the field to find success against the Roma Wolves Arce mentioned the need to stick to the game plan, take high quality shots, while playing ground ball that allows for Windsor City FC to
dictate the tempo of the game.
As the players were getting ready for the match the overcast weather suddenly turned into sunshine, serving as a good omen for one of the teams. The match started with a high level of intensity from the Roma Wolves that initially for the first eight minutes of the match Windsor City struggled to compete with. This intensity culminated in a goal for St. Catharines by Christian Lacuesta in the sixth minute of play. Immediately after this Windsor City found a renewed focus and went to work. WinCity quickly answered the Roma Wolves with their own goal by Gianfranco Facchineri from in close and personal at the front of the net. Not only was this their first goal of the match, but also of the season. This demonstrated perseverance and resilience from the players as the players rebounded quickly. WinCity also showed good control of the midfield, but paid a price as Nestor Lopez received a yellow card.
In the 18th minute a scramble in front of St. Catharines net resulted in their goalkeeper losing control of the ball and Windsor’s Owen Antonuik scoring in the 18th minute. The momentum continued in Windsor’s favour after two yellow cards to St. Catharines player Victor Kariuki, he then received a red card in only the 26th minute of play. One less man so early into the match provided a stark advantage to Windsor City as they were granted more room for all aspects of the game. Despite a goal being called back for offside the pressure from WinCity continued to mount on their opponents.
The second half of match was more of the same, lots of ball movement, short effective
passing, and sustained pressure. This all combined to generate more goals for WinCity. With a larger field than last week there was less physicality but a pair of yellow cards were
handed out, one a piece. This was followed by a second goal by Owen Antonuik on a penalty
kick in the 63rd minute. This would be followed by another Windsor City goal being called back for offside. In the last few minutes of the game dispute being up 3-1, Windsor did not hold back, as Braden Stevanovic scored a natural hat-trick with goals in the 87th, 90+3 and 90+5 minutes of the game, resulting in a final score of 6-1, with shots 18-3 in favour of Windsor City.
In a season where the every point matters, these three points are crucial in Windsor’s bid
to remain in League1 play for the 2024 season. Post-game the locker room was filled with
happiness, and pride. Winning a home opener was extra special as goalkeeper Dante Carraro put it, “Winning in front of the fans and the community just feels great.” Simply, the team was able to recharge and re-find themselves after two tough weeks of play. Head Coach Valter Cosenza highlights this game as instrumental in the character building of the team, as it showed them that despite the early panic they can still find their focus and find a win. Cosenza articulated that despite the win there is always room for improvement, so for next week's game against Alliance United FC, fans should expect an entertaining match. The old saying ‘third time is a charm’ definitely proved to be the case for Windsor City FC’s third week in the 2023 League1 season.