London City season on line

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 6:40 AM ET

After a pair of 4-1 losses and the forced retirement of veteran midfielder Tonino Commisso, London City is again in danger of missing the Canadian Professional Soccer League playoffs. Another early season exit would be an awful end to the promising start in the league's Western conference.

City has a 6-8-2 record and sits fifth in the West with four road games left. The top three in each conference make the post-season.

"The past few years, we haven't had a gift like (CPSL scoring leader) Paul Munster," City general manager and coach Harry Gauss said.

"Now that we have him, we don't want to waste that gift. The guys know Paul's going to get at least one goal -- all they have to do is keep the ball out of the net."

But London's back end is depleted by injuries, youth and rusty returnees.

Gauss is tempted to bring back Marco Peeters, his most consistent defender. But Peeters is recovering from a broken jaw and Gauss doesn't want to ruin his future for a few games of gain.

"We're trying not to panic," Gauss said. . "We need to beat Brampton and Croatia because they're the teams directly in the hunt with us."

They start tomorrow night in Oshawa against an 0-16 Durham team. It's Gauss' biggest fear.

"Durham has absolutely nothing to lose," he said.

Cup crazy

If the London Portuguese men's team beats the Ottawa Royals on Sunday night in Vaughan, they'll match the London Marconi Club's total of two Ontario Cup titles (1966 and 1978).

Portuguese also won the Cup in 2002 and played in the nationals in Newfoundland.

"The difference between us and Marconi is they had a big gap between their Cups," Portuguese manager Carlos Miranda said. "We're trying to do this with the same group of guys. The core has been together for seven, eight years. After losing last year, I could tell the guys came back hungry this time. They want to win this."

Portuguese will be without Genti Buzali, who scored the winner in the semis against Cambridge. He's off to his native Albania on a family trip. Steve Maio will also miss the game -- he has a buildup of yellow cards.

"We'd love to get back to nationals (in Charlottetown). We have a sour taste in our mouths from 2002," Miranda said. "In our last game, Manitoba scored on their final free kick to knock us out of the medal round, then went on to win nationals."

The Portuguese also boast a quality side in the Master's over-35 division. The team faces a top-of-the-standings showdown against the White Eagles in Nilestown at 6 p.m.

"The points are close and this game could decide it," Portuguese manager and player Joe Sa said. "White Eagles have one more game so we have to win this one. If it's tied at the end of the year, it goes to goals for and against."

Girls rule

On Sept. 29, strike another blow for gender equity.

CPSL director of officiating Walter Kirschner has assigned four female officials to work that night's pro game between the Hamilton Thunder and St. Catharines Roma Wolves.

Kitchener's Stephanie Denhaan will be the referee, Deb O'Hara of Kitchener and Lisa MacNeil of Guelph will be on the lines and Guelph's Tamara Reitsma will be the fourth official.

"I don't look at them as female officials, just quality officials," Kirchner said.


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