Greater Sudbury Soccer Club
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Cyclones grab control early - remain tied for division lead

The Sudbury Cyclones appear resolute in their determination not to play down to the level of their opponents.

Racking up a seventh straight win, roughly half of which against adversaries that were clearly overmatched for much of the encounter, the Cyclones once again took control of their home affair on Saturday quite early.

Scoring three times in the opening 29 minutes and adding a second half tally for good measure, the local League1 Ontario entry stopped visiting Darby FC 4-0 at the Cambrian College field, improving to 8-1-1 and remaining tied for the League2 - Northeast Division lead with Alliance FC out of Markham/Scarborough.

Michael Marcantognini scored in the 9th and 29th minutes, with Timi Aliu sandwiching a strike of his own in between before sub Lucas Spirkoski took the wind completely out of the Darby sails just three minutes into the second half.

Keeper Josh Bondoc recorded the shutout as the Cyclones recorded their fifth clean sheet of the summer.

"It's the standard that Giuseppe (Cyclones head coach Giuseppe Politi) has set for us, striving to be the first team in the table," said Montreal-born Nipissing Lakers' sophomore Chanley Francois.

"We're in a battle with Alliance. If they go up, we must go up. When we play, even though we're winning, we have to keep pushing to get more goals."

With their sights set on a promotion to League1 Championship play for 2025, the Cyclones are keenly aware that a tie with Alliance at season's end could possibly be decided by goal differential, the locals currently holding a single goal edge (+25 vs +24), with both teams sitting with four games left to play.

After beginning regular season play with a 1-1-1 record, the Sudbury side have shown notable improvement, with team closeness certainly playing a part in the obvious progress.

"I feel that it's our cohesion," said Francois. "We really didn't know how we all played at the beginning of the season. But we're all living together (at Laurentian University residences). From practicing together, doing things together, team events, I feel that we have a better understanding of what people like and what their playing style is."

For their part, the Cyclones have adapted an aggressive approach, running a back line of just three defenders. "We're fast players and we bring a physicality to the team," said Francois. "That's why the style that Giuseppe chose fits us best."

On a more personal level, the young man of Haitian descent has circled back somewhat in terms of finding a role which helps most in terms of Cyclone success.

Francois is one of two center defensive mids typically on the pitch, having now secured a spot in the starting lineup.

"I used to play that position when I was in France but when I went to Nipissing, I started playing right back," he explained. "Here, I started playing in the six (CDM) so it's old memories from playing back in France."

"When I am playing in the six, the ball moves faster. Because we play with two sixes, I have to make sure that I transition with my other six, that we move uup into each other's space."

The Cyclones are back at home next Saturday, facing Masters FA (5-3-2) and then closing out the season with matches on July 20th (road vs Pickering FC - 1-9-0), July 27th (home vs Vaughan Azzuri - 6-2-0) and August 3rd (home vs Unionville-Milliken - 2-8-0).

Greater Sudbury Soccer Club