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Lions look to repeat as bronze medal winners ar nationals

October 12, 2014



Ontario’s London Marconi became the first team to advance to the Challenge Trophy gold medal match after defeating Manitoba’s FC Winnipeg Lions 1:0.

It was a hard fought, physical semi-final. At this stage in the competition teams are going into their fourth match in five days and, as muscles tire, the winner is often the team that wants it more.

“It’s all mental at this points,” says Marconi midfielder Tyler Hemming. “I told the guys before the match, ‘we need to be mentally tough.’ Because physically, everybody is hurting and, really, at this level, the teams [in terms of conditioning] are equal, so if we can stay mentally stronger than anybody else we should be able to win.”

Marconi certainly showed hustle, pressuring Manitoba’s back line and closing down space along the wings. Striker Taso Bujouves looked particularly dangerous and nearly gave his team the lead, in the 22nd minute, after breaking in alone on Lion’s keeper Steve Sawatzky, who did well to get low and block the shot with his body.

“I give them credit,” says Lions coach Tony Nocita, “they pressed us well and when that happens you have to rely on getting through the first line of pressure – that’s the key to opening things up – but, there were moments in the game where we just needed to make a good decision but didn’t. And [as a result] we gave up possession, which, at times, left us chasing the game.”

Nevertheless, Manitoba proved a difficult team to break down. And only conceded a goal, half way through the match, after Hemming turned and smashed a ball towards net, “hoping someone would get on the end of it.”

That someone was Bujouves, who having run into the box, jabbed at the ball with his left foot. “It was kind of lucky, so if you’re going to report this, say it was a beautiful touch, pure finesse, you know, make it a sweet story, because the truth is I kind of just ran into it.”

While Manitoba would make a late flurry, in the dying minutes, the 1:0 score line would hold. And for the second year in a row, the Lions find themselves in the bronze medal match instead of the gold. “It’s tough,” says Nocita, “to get this far and fall short. But hats off to London, they played well.”

Tomorrow both teams are back in action. Starting with Manitoba vs Saskatchewan for the bronze at 11:00 ET / 08:00 PT. While Ontario’s Marconi will face Alberta’s Calgary Callies at 12:00 ET / 09:00 PT in the gold medal match, which will be streamed live at

Today’s results
FC Winnipeg Lions (MB) 0-1 London Marconi (ON)
P.E.I FC (PE) 7-1 Yellowknife FC (NT)
Dartmouth United Golden Goal (NS) 1-3 Royal Sélect Beauport (QC)
Calgary Callies (AB) 0-0 a.e.t (4-2 on kicks) HUSA Alumni Saskatoon (SK)
Vaughan Azzurri (ON) 0:4 Croatia SC (BC)

Challenge Trophy: As group play come to a close - goalkeepers shine

October 10, 2014



On day three of the Sport Chek National Club Championships, Manitoba’s FC Winnipeg Lions took on Alberta’s Calgary Callies. On the line was first place in Group C, as well as regional bragging rights.

Considering how well these teams know each other, this match could easily be called a derby. It had all the elements: tough tackles, near misses and plenty of emotions … as well as the requisite cards that follow. And with little separating the two sides penalties would be required to crown FC Winnipeg Lions the victors: 0:0 a.e.t / 3:2 on kicks.

“We knew it was going to be a tough, tough match, says Winnipeg’s Head Coach Tony Nocita. “We’ve played Alberta before … they know us, and we know them, so I’m not surprised by the way it went down. “

Callies Head Coach Dave Morrow agrees. “It was two good sides going at it. While I thought we had the better chances, we were evenly matched. Unfortunately [for us], it went to penalty kicks…so it is what it is. And with no disrespect to the other teams, it could easily have been a final.”

It was a game in need of a hero and none stood taller than Manitoba’s goalkeeper Steve Sawatzky. While he wasn’t called-upon often, he made a series of crucial saves. None more important than the one in the 46th minute, when he slide across his net, extending his arm above his head, to prevent what should have been a simple tap in for Alberta.

“Steve is just fantastic,” says Nocita. He’s a real calming influence and today, no doubt, he was the difference.” Sawatzky was equally impressive during the penalty shoot-out, stopping three of the first four shots to secure the victory.

As Group C winners, Winnipeg will now face runners-up in Group B, New Brunswick, while Alberta will play Group B winners British Columbia. Both matches will take place tomorrow.

Live coverage of the men’s semi-final and final of the Challenge Trophy will be streamed on Sunday 12 October and Monday 13 October, at

Today’s results
Croatia SC, BC, 4:0 Dartmouth United Golden Goal, NS,
FC Winnipeg Lions, MB, 0:0 a.e.t. Calgary Callies, AB / FC Winnipeg Lions wins 3:2 on kicks
HUSA Alumni Saskatoon, SK, 1:0 Royal-Sélect Beauport, QC, 
London Marconi, ON, 3:1 P.E.I FC, PE

Lions Capture 3rd Consecutive MSA Cup Championship

July 19, 2014


FC Winnipeg Lions captured the club's 8th MSA Cup Championship and 3rd consecutive MSA Cup Championship (2012, 2013, and 2014) with a 3-1 victory over Winnipeg Juventus.

After an early Juventus goal in the 7th minute of the game and a key diving save late in the first half by Lions goalkeeper Steve Sawatzky which kept the margin at one, the Lions trailed 1-0 at halftime.

Both the Lions and Juventus traded opportunities early in the second half, with goal line clearances by both clubs helping maintain the 1-0 Juventus lead. 

The score remained 1-0 for Juventus until the games 71st minute when Lions substitue AJ Naumiuk, who missed 6 weeks of play due to injury, returned to the lineup and scored the equalizer.  

Moments later, Lions midfielder Dominic Antonini scored in the 72nd minute on an impressive strike which would end up being the game winner, giving the Lions the 2-1 lead.  

In the final minutes of the second half, Lions striker Brendan Rattai secured the Lions victory closing the scoring in the game with a goal in the 83rd minute, making the score 3-1 Lions.

Lions midfielder David McPhail was named the games MVP.

Corner Kicks:  The Lions will represent Manitoba at the Canadian Soccer Association's Challenge Cup in Toronto, Ontario, from October 8-13, 2014.  The Lions captured the Bronze Medal at the Challenge Cup in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2013.