PDL SOCCER: Michigan Bucks leapfrog past Toronto, into first place

| June 6, 2013 | Comments (3)


TORONTO, Ont. — The Michigan Bucks leapfrogged from third to first place on Wednesday afternoon with a matinee shutout win in Toronto over the Lynx, 1-0.

The Bucks (3-1-0, nine points) used a fresh lineup to attack the young Canadian side from the opening whistle, while goal keeper Adam Grinwis registered his second shutout of the season in four games. The loss dropped Toronto’s record to 1-2-0 (three points).

Bucks first-year head coach Demir Muftari gave four new players their first start of the season for the Bucks after they all earned spots from their past month’s effort in training.   Jason Stokes and Anders Vest-Hansen started in the midfield with the Walker twins, while Mo Kaba and Quincy Thomas got their first starts on the back line. Forwards Catalano and Zach Steinberger created several first half opportunities but could not get one past veteran Lynx goalkeeper Matthew Silva.

Silva was forced to make three saves in the opening stanza and defended two dangerous Michigan corner kicks.

The Bucks continued to press in the second half and were patient when several early opportunities were either stopped by Silva or an errant final pass in the box.  The visitors would finally break the ice in the 57th minute when Steinberger played midfielder Stokes down the left flank. The English attacker took on two Lynx defenders and cut back across the top of the eighteen where he unleashed a ball that Silva got a hand to and deflected it to Catalano who was waiting patiently at the six yard line and calmly smacked home his first goal of the year and would eventually amount to the game’s only goal.

BACK ON TOP:McihiganBucks forward Tom Catalano and his teammates moved to the top of their division Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over the Toronto Lynx. Courtesy Photo | Michigan Bucks

BACK ON TOP:McihiganBucks forward Tom Catalano and his teammates moved to the top of their division Wednesday with a 1-0 victory over the Toronto Lynx. Courtesy Photo | Michigan Bucks

While Toronto knew they had to push forward to get the equalizer, the Bucks were thinking a second goal might just be necessary to secure the three points. Steinberger, Matt Walker and Catalano would combine on four connecting through balls that each looked like they would result in a Bucks goal, but Silva stood his ground until the end. He stoned Steinberger from short range when the PDL’s leading scorer thought he had a sure finish in the 77th minute.

Thanks to a stellar defensive performance by the entire Bucks team, Grinwis didn’t have a whole lot of saves to make, but did come up big in the 82nd minute when he dove and tipped away a dangerous Lynx corner kick and then punched out another incoming cross at the penalty spot just a minute later. The Bucks would negotiate the final minutes and were happy to get out of town with the 1-0 shutout, which put them in first place tied with FC London (3-0-0, 9 points) in the Great Lakes Division, with their first showdown of the season looming on Friday, June 14 in London, Ontario.

Muftari was pleased with the performance of his entire starting eleven.

“It would be difficult for me to choose a Man of the Match because all eleven starters were instrumental in the win.   Every year we struggle in Toronto, largely due to the tenacity of the young teams they produce,” said Muftari. “These kids work hard and don’t ever quit. We knew we should have scored an insurance goal to relieve some of the pressure at the end, but we just ran out of gas. Our overall conditioning has helped us early in the season and today it was crucial. This may not look like an impressive win on paper, but the team knows how important it was to come off the road with three points today.Now we get ready for the Fire on Saturday.”

The Bucks and Fire play on Saturday night at Saline High School (6:30 p.m. kickoff) in the first of two games the high caliber teams will play this season. Tickets for the match, which is sponsored by the Saline Area Soccer Association (SASA) are $10 Adults and $7 Youth (16 and under) at the gate. Children 5 and under are always free to Bucks games. Special discounted tickets are only $5 each or a special Family Pass, which allows entry to everyone in the immediate family, for only $18 must be purchased online before Saturday.  These tickets can be purchased at or at the Bucks web site at


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