In the last game of the 2023 OPDL Gary Miller Charity Shield, it was Hamilton United Elite against Ottawa South United (OSU) in the Girls U17 division at the Ontario Soccer Centre Outdoor field. OSU was in their second final of the weekend, following the U14 Boys on Saturday afternoon, while Hamilton made their first appearance.
The first half was void of many clear goal scoring chances as the wind was howling, making it difficult for both teams to move the ball, but OSU did create a good chance early. In the third minute, Adrianna Da Silva intercepted a pass and fed Anna Swyers in the box. Sawyer nearly danced into the six-yard box, wriggling past her defender, but Hamilton’s other defenders were able to swarm and get a block on the shot attempt.
Hamilton’s best first-half chance came in the 37th minute when Chiara Nicolazzo drove down the middle and fed a wide-open Tyra Sterling on the wing. Sterling attempted to return the favour as Nicolazzo drove into the six yard box, but OSU goalkeeper, Laura Salgado, was able to deflect the pass. OSU would regain the ball on the clearance and Sterling attempted a second centering cross to Nicolazzo, but Salgado was once again up for the challenge, coming out to claim the cross.
It was a stronger second half for both sides, with each taking more attempts and shooting with better accuracy. Ottawa’s first chance of the half came in the 48th minute from Zoe McLauchlan who tried for a low long-range shot, but Hamilton keeper Madeleine Boucher was ready for the save.
Hamilton brought more energy to the second half, almost doubling the number of shots taken by Ottawa’s side. One of Hamilton’s most notable attempts came from Nicolazzo in the 80th minute when Ottawa keeper Laura Salgado had come way out of her goal to stop a through ball. If Nicolazzo had aimed just slightly more to the left, it would have been a goal, but instead the ball hit the outside post. She tried again in the 81st minute, but Salgado was able to tip that ball away.
Towards the end of the match, Hamilton had a few more chances. Mya Newcombe took a shot in the 87th minute that was blocked by Salgado, and Jessica Pitirri had an opportunity in added time, but sent the ball straight to Salgado for the save.
The nil-nil full-time score meant the winning team would be decided in a shootout, and this is where Hamilton got their edge. Boucher saved two shots and Salgado saved one, making Hamilton the final 2023 OPDL Gary Miller Charity Shield champion.
Visit the 2023 OPDL Gary Miller Charity Shield Match Centre for a recap of all the weekend’s matches.
Watch the full game on the Ontario Soccer Youtube channel.
Visit the Ontario Soccer Facebook page for the full album.