Whenever space opened in front of Lansdowne's goal yesterday, Milford Mill sophomore Joseph Toto seemed to materialize with the ball and score.
Toto looked like a pro against the visiting Vikings, scoring five times and assisting on a sixth goal by Saye Nimley during a 7-0 shutout in a Baltimore County Division III game.
"I've been playing soccer for 10 or 11 years, and when the goalie's coming out, I know how to play the ball to score," said Toto, who was born in Liberia and came to America in 1999.
"I've got a lot of strategy in this game: I know when the goalie's coming out to just play the ball in the goal, or whether to dribble and score," said Toto, 16. "They had players on me, but I just left them behind, and they couldn't see it coming. I've got too much sense in this game. I want to play soccer for my professional career."
Toto got assists from Devin Thompson and Justin Stephens on two of his three first-half goals as the Millers led 4-0 at halftime.
The fast forward raced in on passes to create all but one of his goals, and that one, an 18-yarder in the second half, he one-timed past besieged goalkeeper Neal Martin, who, despite the score, made 13 saves.
Dradian Sewell scored once, and Chris Wellington had two assists for the defending division champion Millers, who raised their league and overall record to 8-0 with their fourth shutout of the year. Lansdowne is 3-4 and 3-4.
Milford Mill has outscored its opponents, 49-4. The Millers, 1-11 only two seasons ago, have a 108-11 scoring advantage over their rivals over the past 18 victories. The spree includes 11 shutouts.
Toto is one of two players from Liberia on an 18-player roster comprised of six players from Jamaica, three from Trinidad, two each from Ethiopia, Nigeria and India, and one from Ghana.
"We all sort of said, `These guys are from all over the world, we've got a great team going,' " said goalie Tim Israel, who is from India. "We've got talent all over the field and from all sorts of countries. And we're all close friends."
The defense, comprised of Israel and defenders Gospel Nwogwugwu, Jefferson Oguzie, Akil Raphael, Kheran Chan and Temesgen Tewolde, is a cohesive unit, the goalie said.
"Defense is doing an absolutely marvelous job. And my goalkeeping coach, [assistant coach Chris] Llewelyn, he's taught me everything I know," said Israel, who needed to make only three saves yesterday.
"Gospel is our main guy, and Jefferson, he's a big, tall guy and takes care of any headers that come our way. Between myself and those guys, we've just been locking it down back there."