Portuguese club in London for friendly

RYAN PYETTE -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:26 AM ET

Clearly, Portugal's pro soccer teams can't get enough of London.

Santa Clara will be the country's third team to visit the Forest City in the last five years, following in the talented cleat marks of Boavista (2004) and Maritimo (2001).

Who's next on the tourist list? World-class Porto?

The Santa Clara club, which plays in Portugal's second division (honour) -- one rung below the top-notch Superliga -- is in town for a friendly game against the London Portuguese Premier Division squad (including an assortment of Western Ontario Soccer League stars) tomorrow at 2 p.m. at the Portuguese Club, 134 Falcon St.

"They're on a month-long tour of Canada -- they've brought in seven Brazilian players and they're making a push to get back into the premier league," Portuguese manager Carlos Miranda said. "I've seen them play before. They have a stadium that seats about 10,000 to 15,000. We're not expecting much, but we hope to play well enough to put on a good show."

The last two Portuguese matches were organized through London City's Harry Gauss and played at Cove Road Field against Canadian Soccer League selects. Both games ended in visiting wins and clean sheets so it would be an achievement if the home side scored a goal this time.

No matter the result, everyone should be well-fed with a big buffet dinner and autograph session with Santa Clara slated for today at 6:30 p.m. at the Portuguese Club. The cost is $20 ($15 for kids).

Game tickets are $20 (10 and under are free) and a barbecue will follow the match. Call the club (519-453-4330) for more details.

Cup crazy

The London Supernova never leave the Schwan's USA Cup in suburban Minneapolis, Minn., empty-handed.

Geoff Painter's London Supernova under-15 girls squad brought home the hardware by winning its division at the massive 900-team annual tournament with a dominant 5-0 victory over NEW United from Appleton, Wis., in the championship match last weekend.

Striker Jessica Parry scored three goals, while Shawna Jay and Pam Johnson added one each in the title game. Earlier, Parry scored the lone goal in a tightly contested semifinal win over a tough Edmonton side.

The Supernova's younger sisters -- the London City under-14 Flash -- settled for silver after falling 3-2 in the final to Arsenal of Fort Collins, Colo. Emily Tustin and Kayla Zakrzweski scored the London goals.

"We wanted the Cup (top-flight) double and we came close," Painter said.

The Supernova, Flash and older Supernova under-16 team, which won the USA Cup and a national championship in 2004, are all still alive in Ontario Cup play. Painter's battle-tested under-15s are between national championship qualifying seasons and will contest their Cup playoffs next month in Ottawa at the Ontario Summer Games.

Hello, City

Tshaka Anderson is just 16, but he's already a big part of London City's Canadian Soccer League plans.

The lanky Londoner by way of Jamaica went to Cove Road Field with his dad to watch a City match and, not long after, found himself in uniform patrolling the central midfield. Never accuse manager Harry Gauss of not getting the crowd involved.

"I'm used to playing against men because I never played against my own age in Jamaica," said Anderson, who lines up against the Windsor Border Stars tonight at 8:38 at the Cove. "(At City) I'm in the middle with Dennis Peeters and I'm learning a lot. I just want to get better and help the team."

In the fall, Anderson returns to Laurier secondary school for Grade 12 and to play soccer and football (he's the gridiron team's kicker).

Pereira back

London soccer star Michael Pereira has left Porto in Portugal and is expected to give WOSL front-runner London AEK a boost in the final half of its season.

The 17-year-old was offered a long-term contract by Porto, but Pereira opted to return to London and finish high school, leaving his NCAA eligibility intact.

"We're working on his international transfer," AEK manager Tom Kouzounas said. "He's a good player and we have some big games coming up (an Open Canada Cup game against London City next Friday and Ontario Cup quarter-final against defending champ GS United).

"He's going to help."


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