Reluctant Salamon strikes
By RYAN PYETTE, Free Press Sports Reporter
Ask London City's Atila Salamon if he enjoys playing forward in soccer games and he gets a painful expression on his face -- like he's just been kicked in the shins. Even after scoring twice and setting up Gentian Dervishi's winning goal in City's Canadian Professional Soccer League season-opening 4-1 victory the Durham Storm last night at Cove Road field, Salamon still looked about as comfortable as someone sitting on a thumb tack.
"I don't like forward, midfielder's more my position," the 30-year-old Londoner said. "I've played fullback here (the last two years) but I really like midfield. That's where I'd like to be."
If the native of Romania, who is "100 per cent of Hungarian descent," keeps playing like he did last night, it's going to be tough for City GM Harry Gauss to use him anywhere but in City's strike force.
The combination of Salamon and Dervishi proved too much for the expansion Storm's tender defence.
Thirteen minutes after Salamon broke loose and popped an easy shot over Durham goalkeeper Zane Hendrickson's head, the transplanted forward set up Dervishi for the seven-year veteran's first of two on the night.
The clever Dervishi popped the ball short post on the stunned Henderickson.
"That's my specialty," Dervishi said with a grin. "Goalies like to cheat to the far side and when they do, skillful players can pop it into the short side. I think we have a team that's going to score a lot of goals this year but I don't want to jinx it."
After a relatively tidy first half, City surrendered a goal to former Durham Flames marksman Jahmo Welch three minutes into the second period.
But Salamon scored his second goal three minutes later on a nifty head shot over the outstretched Hendrickson. London goalie Haidar Al-Shaibani, who didn't have much to worry about in the first 45 minutes, was busier in the second frame and made a couple of big saves to perserve the two goal edge.
Dervishi wrapped up the scoring in the final minute.
"It was a good win, a good start," Dervishi said. "A lot of good things happened out there."
City 4, Storm 1
London goals: Atila Salamon (21', 51'), Gentian Dervishi (34', 90')
Durham goal: Jahmo Welch (48')
Next: London faces the defending league champion Brampton Hitmen next Friday, 8:38 p.m. at Cove Road field.