2017 Best Canadian Soccer Teams — End-July Update

With Premier Development League action coming to a close, Major League Soccer kicking back off following a short Gold Cup reprieve, and North American Soccer League closing up its Spring Season, there’s a lot happening over the past couple of weeks. Here’s the latest results and how it affects each team’s position in the elo-ratings.

Although the first week of this stretch saw Major League Soccer taking a break for the Gold Cup action, they returned for a tonne of matches in the 2nd week, with each Canadian-based team facing off twice. The Wednesday night action on the 19th saw Montreal Impact FC fight their way to a 2-1 victory of Philadelphia Union. Montreal’s victory was long overdue, but sadly they were unable to create any momentum as their match against FC Dallas on Saturday saw them lose 2-1.

Toronto FC managed to squeak out a draw against New York City FC on Wednesday, with both sides scoring twice. The Reds then hosted Colorado Rapids, and held the visitors to a 1-1 draw. Although good enough to maintain the top place in the East, Toronto should have been able to defeat the 2nd-last team in the West. TFC fans have got to be a little concerned about these recent performances.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC started off well, with a 1-0 victory over LA Galaxy. Sadly, they were also unable to create any momentum and fell 2-1 to Portland Timbers. Vancouver remains above the play-off line for the moment, but without gaining any points against those above them, it will be hard for them to maintain the final play-off position, especially with San Jose Earthquakes only 1 win away from overtaking the ‘Caps.

In 2nd division play, we had a bit of a lighter schedule during this period. FC Edmonton finished off their Spring season with a 1-0 loss to New York Cosmos. On the bright side, FC Edmonton officially sold out for the match. This is pretty great news for the team, despite their losing record. On the bright side, it looks like they’ll be getting some great players back in time for the Fall season, and still have a chance of fighting their way up to get the 4th play-off spot.

Although the USL doesn’t officially take a break, there were only a handful of matches for Canadian-based teams over the past couple of weeks. Ottawa Fury FC drew at home against Rochester Rhinos, while Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 did the same against Reno 1868 FC. Although not great for either team, a 1-point draw is better than losing all 3 points to the competition. In contrast, Toronto FC II had a pair of matches, and lost both of them. First they fell to NY Red Bulls II, 1-0, and then they dropped a 2-0 decision to Rochester Rhinos. Admittedly, no one really expects a lot from TFCII, but it would be nice to see them win once in a while.

League1 Ontario continues to chug along, and with 16 teams, there’s always plenty of action. The craziest match of this period has to be the 11-1 stomping of ProStars FC courtesy of the mighty Vaughan Azzurri. To be fair, Vaughan has a number of big-time players that are waiting for the Canadian Premier League, while ProStars is a much smaller academy, with many of their players coming up from below. This year’s L1O is very polarized, with many of the top teams having players that are ready and waiting for the next step to arrive. That’s a part of why you see certain teams consistently dominate the competition.

In addition to the demolition of ProStars FC, there was a lot of action in the 1st weekend. On just the Saturday, Sigma FC dropped OSU Force, 4-1, Durham United FA fell at home 2-3 to FC London, Aurora FC disappointed home fans with a 1-6 defeat at the hands of Windsor TFC Stars, and North Mississauaga SC fell 2-3 to Master’s Futbol. The Sunday saw 2 matches, with victories going to the visitors: OSU Force defeated Windsor TFC 1-0, while North Toronto Nitros dropped Sanjaxx 5-0.

The 2nd weekend of play started with a Friday night special, 3-1 for FC London over Aurora FC. Saturday saw OSU Force continue to win, with a 5-0 victory over lowly Sanjaxx Lions. Sigma defeated North Toronto Nitros 2-0, and TFCIII dropped Master’s Futbol 3-1. Sunday brought a slight surprise as Oakville Blue Devils managed to defeat Vaughan Azzurri, 2-0. Unsurprisingly, North Mississauaga doubled-down on Toronto Skillz, 4-2, while Woodbridge went 4-0 over ProStars FC. Additionally, in a very close match, Windsor TFC were victorious against Durham United FA.

Also worth mentioning, the L1O All-Stars faced off against PLSQ All-Stars. The Ontario-side came away victorious with a 1-0 scoreline. We’ve a match report from Rocket Robin, a story-lines write-up from Dan Baldwin, and a special Sea-to-Sea Podcast full of interviews from the match courtesy of Nathanael Martin.

The Premier Ligue de Soccer du Quebec Cup consists of a series of home-and-away matches, with the champions moving forward until a final victory. With seven teams, one team is given a bye to the 2nd round, while the others pair-off. This year, AS Blainville was gifted with the bye. Oddly, in the opening weekend of the tournament, no team was able to pull ahead with a victory, as all teams managed exactly 1-goal. This favours the away-side slightly, as a scoreless tie in the 2nd match would see them through to the 2nd round.

The teams were matched in such a way that it ensured one of the new sides would be gifted with a 2nd round entry. With a 1-1 draw in their first match, Dynamo de Quebec hosted CS St-Hubert for the second leg. This too resulted in a draw, however the score was 2-2. With the away-goals counting double in the case of a draw, CS St-Hubert are gifted a way into the 2nd round. Considering how low CS St Hubert sit on the Elo-ratings, they should be an easy walk for their competition.

FC Gatineau managed a 1-0 upset in the 2nd leg against CS Mont-Royal Outremont. This victory has propelled the team to the next round. With how things are laid out on the PLSQ site, they will be matched up against CS St-Hubert. As a result, we can reliably count on FC Gatineau making it to the PLSQ Cup final this year.

The third match-up was between CS Longueuil and FC Lanaudiere. Although the two sides had managed a draw in the first leg, the second was no compeittion. CS Longueuil dropped FC Lanaudiere with an emphatic 3-0. As a result, Longueuil will be facing the league-leading AS Blainville in the semi-finals. Although AS Blainville has done exceptional throughout the season, Longueuil has held their own and will look for an upset against the top team in the 3rd division.

5 of 6 Canadian sides continued to play over the past couple of weeks. With 3 regular-season matches, 1 play-in match, and 2 play-off matches, they certainly weren’t pointless, for the most part. WSA Winnipeg ended their season with a 5-2 victory over St Louis Lions. Winnipeg sat bottom of the table in the Heartland Division throughout the season, so their final stretch of matches served as a sort of “thanks for coming out.” It felt good for Winnipeg to win at the end, and gave the team and its fans encouragement for next season. Whether that next season will be with WSA Winnipeg in the PDL, or with the new Winnipeg team in the Canadian Premier League remains to be seen.

Victoria Highlanders FC played their final home match against Sounders FC U-23, and beat them with 2 goals. Considering that this came on the tail of a 2-0 victory the previous week, it was a good feeling for players and fans that have, for the most part, had a very disappointing season. Highlanders then traveled to Calgary and played spoiler, keeping the Foothills to a draw which cost them the #1 position in the Northwest Division.

Chill are the Central Conference Champions for 2017.

This year, the Northwest Division only receives 1 spot in the PDL playoffs, given to the winner of a 2-team play-in round. With #1 Portland Timbers U23 facing off against #2 Calgary Foothills FC, there was some hope that a Canadian team would advance. Sadly, Calgary lost its footing and Timbers fell forward into the opening round of the playoffs. Portland went on to lose the following match, making for a very poor showing for the Northwest Division.

K-W United, ranking 2nd in the Great Lakes Division, faced off against Thunder Bay Chill, the #1 team in the Heartland Division, in their opening round of the playoffs. Although United fought hard, they were outmatched by Chill, and fell 2-0. Thunder Bay then proceeded to freeze out Des Moines Menace, 2-0, to become the Central Conference Champions. As one of the final-four, Thunder Bay will be hosting FC Golden State Force on July 29th at 7:30 Eastern/4:30 Pacific.

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Elo-ratings as of 27 July 2017. For information on how this is calculated, read our primer
Elo-ratings as of 27 July 2017. For information on how this is calculated, read our primer

And that’s the round-up for this 2-week period. Expect our next report on August 17th. The League1 Ontario Cup final will play out, as will the 1st-leg of the Premier Ligue de Soccer du Quebec Cup semi-finals. If AS Blainville continues to do well, they may leapfrog PDL’s WSA Winnipeg. Add to that the Premier Development League semi-finals and final, which may see Thunder Bay Chill close the gap on FC Edmonton, if things continue to go well for the PDL side, and poorly for lone Canadian NASL team. The US Open Cup will also close up the semi-finals, which may eliminate either FC Cincinnati or Miami FC, allowing us to have a look at how the inter-league play in the Voyageur’s Cup & Open Cup affected the league average. As you can see, even though some leagues have begun to wrap up, there’s still lots going on in North American soccer.

If you’re really excited about keeping up to date on Elo-ratings, consider donating on Patreon. Although these update articles come out twice-monthly, all patrons will receive weekly Elo-rating updates, which may provide a better view of a team’s trends throughout the year. There are other Patreon benefits available as well, and we aim to add more as we are able.












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Shawn Gray

Shawn Gray

Shawn Gray is an experienced author who has previously published articles on transit, cycling & politics. With a Bachelor of Arts (English) degree, a Bachelor of Education degree, an Event Management graduate certificate, and two years of Business Administration, his education has helped him connect with a variety of people, through numerous industries. In 2014, he was a Team Lead in the Club Section of TD Place, where the Ottawa Fury host matches. Now located in Victoria, British Columbia, Gray enjoys the local PDL matches, and tries to watch his favourite clubs online with his infant son whenever possible.

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