BARRIE - After a scoreless first half that saw both the Simcoe County Rovers and North Toronto Nitros exchange chances on Wednesday, it was the Rovers that used late-game heroics to come out on top in the thrilling quarterfinal matchup.
Tied 0-0 in the 82nd minute, Ryley Wishart – who was substituted into the game in the 79th minute – scored a towering header off a corner kick from Shawn-Claud Lawson to give the Rovers a 1-0 lead at Downsview Park.
The goal was long-awaited for the Rovers, who controlled possession for a majority of the game prior to the goal.
Five minutes later, goal-scoring sensation Ethan Beckford put the game away with an absolute rocket in the 87th minute to give the roadside a 2-0 lead and a berth in the semifinals as a result.
The Rovers, whose late-game goals have been a staple for the team all season, won in front of a capacity crowd at Downsview Park in Toronto, which saw many Rover fans make it down to the game, as well as team president Julian de Guzman and co-owner/TFC defensive back/CMNT player Doneil Henry.
De Guzman said this victory is yet another milestone in a banner inaugural season for his club.
“We had clear objectives for both sides,” said the club president to Northern Tribune. “We obviously want to perform well and develop players at the same time, but to achieve something like making the playoffs is a sensational job.
“This is exactly where we want to be,” continued de Guzman to North Tribune. “It shows what this could be coming down the road, if we go in that professional direction.”
The Rovers now await the remaining quarterfinal game to be played before finding out who they will play in the semis.
If Alliance wins their quarterfinal matchup, the Rovers will play Vaughan Azzurri at North Maple Regional Park at 7 pm on Saturday night.
If the ProStars win, the Rovers will play on Sunday at 4 pm at Sheridan College versus the Blue Devils.