A battle of two high performing men’s League1 Ontario teams ended with a 3-2 victory by Alliance United FC over the visiting North Mississauga Soccer Club’s Panthers at Mount Joy Field in Markham last Thursday. 

The story of the game was a tale of two halves. The Panthers got off to a fast start, scoring two goals to get up early. The team ended the first half with a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal by Sundin Esperance, and a second half goal by Jordan Prescod in the 47th minute made it 2-0. Alliance had not yielded a goal in their previous five matches. 

The game unraveled for the Panthers with a red card against Tristan Watson moments after entering the game as a substitute for Prescod. Coach Balta was also ejected for not playing nice with a water bottle after Alliance scored from a free kick in the 56th minute. 

Alliance United FC took advantage of being up a man against Panthers, scoring in the 68th and 77th minutes to give them the game. 

Balta is taking the red card in stride and doesn’t believe that discipline issues will affect the team moving forward. 

“Unless you’re at a point where you’re in the 90th minute and it’s a foul that can keep you from losing or tying the game, it’s not good,” said Balta. “[But] in general, we haven’t had issues in terms of discipline, so it’s really just a matter of addressing it and moving forward.” 

Alliance United FC sits atop the League1 table so far, with five wins and one tie. Before last Thursday’s loss, North Mississauga had been just five points behind Alliance United in the standings and had also gone undefeated with two wins and two ties to start the season. With a game in hand vs Pro-Stars coming up (rescheduled game to July 3rd). 

The Panthers currently sit in the middle of the pack in League1, with eight points and a game in hand over everyone who is above them in the standings. That positioning leaves Balta and his club with confidence, especially having a good game against a top team. 

“We had control for most of the game,” said Balta. “But we had a couple let downs and against a good team, they will find a way to win. … This game shows that we have the capability to beat them.” 

Balta also said the team must focus on fixing and analyzing where the team broke down, but he has an optimistic view of the team in general, especially how they’ve been dealing with tougher competition. 

“These games have been getting tougher and tougher,” said Balta. “It may look like we’re struggling more … but we just have to keep improving.” 

The North Mississauga Panthers will return home to play Durham United FC on Friday at the Paramount Find Foods Centre Field #1 at 7:45 p.m. This will be only their second home game so far this year, after playing their first game of the year at home where they tied Unionville Millikin S.C. 1-1 on May 3rd. It’s been a long road trip to start the season!

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