2017 Top Canadian Soccer Teams: Mid-September Update

With the series of hurricanes happening across the southern United States, a large number of MLS, USL, and NASL matches were cancelled or delayed. This didn’t directly affect any of the Canadian teams. This means there were still a lot of matches over the past few weeks, and some movement within divisions. A few changes in schedule did occur for League1 Ontario, but they still had plenty of matches to go around.

Toronto FC only played a single match over the past couple of weeks: a 4-0 destruction of San Jose Earthquakes. As a result of their triumph, TFC have secured a playoff berth. The way the season has played out, the berth hasn’t been in question since very early in the season when the Reds were still trying to find their footing, but now it’s official. Toronto is also only a few matches away from securing the Supporter’s Shield, which will look great in the trophy case.

Vancouver Whitecaps FC also looked great these past couple of weeks. With a 3-2 triumph over Real Salt Lake, they started things off very well. They then steamrolled Minnesota, 3-0, which pushed the ‘Caps right into the top-place in the West thanks to a +6 GD. A the moment, that puts the top place in both the East and the West to Canadian-based teams (Toronto & Vancouver respectively).

Things are not going nearly as well for Montreal Impact FC. They lost both of their matches, by a single goal. This helped bolster Chicago Fire’s position in the playoffs, and propped New England to being just 1 point shy of Montreal. Le blue-et-noir remain just below the cut-off for the playoffs, 5 points behind New York Red Bulls. There’s still time for Impact to slip into the playoffs, but it’s looking slim.

NASL

With such a small league, the large number of cancelled matches were painfully visible over the past couple of weeks. The number of matches played could be counted on one hand, and the USSF’s denial of division 2 sanctioning for 2018 is pretty grim news for the league. Despite this, FC Edmonton managed to play both of their regularly scheduled matches: a home & away series against North Carolina FC. The first match of the series provided the team’s supporters with some hope, as the 1-1 draw on the road gave the team a much needed point as they try to catch up in the Fall season. In the elo-ratings, their draw actually put them slightly above Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2.

Unfortunately, being in 5th-place in the elo-ratings would be very short lived for the Eddies as they would drop a 3-0 decision to North Carolina on the home leg. With 3-point lost at home, FC Edmonton fell back to 6th in our rankings. They are currently 4th in the NASL Fall Season, and 7th in the Fall-Spring Combined rankings.

For those not familiar with NASL’s playoff format: the top team in the Spring and the top team in the Fall both qualify. Additionally, the top 2 teams from the combined table, excluding those 2 champions, make up the 4-team play-offs. As it stands right now, Miami qualified from winning the Spring Season. As they are top of the fall, we move straight to the combined table and take the top-3 (excluding Miami). This puts San Franscisco, North Carolina, and Jacksonville into the Championship. On the combined table, FCEd is 10 points behind Jacksonville, which will be a heck of a mountain to climb in the remaining weeks.

USL

Canadian teams in USL have had some very disappointing results over the last couple of weeks. The combined number of wins between Toronto FC II, Ottawa Fury FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 cannot be counted, because there weren’t any. Six matches, zero wins. Is it really any surprise that none of these teams are flirting with a playoff run?

The closest to a playoff berth belongs to Ottawa. They’re sitting 12th in the East, and 5 points behind Orlando City B. They also did the best of all 3 Canadian sides, chalking up a 2-2 draw against Saint Louis (11th) and a 1-1 draw on the road in Rochester (3rd). Wins have been few and far between all season, but there hasn’t been any since de Guzman took over as interim coach. The record since the take-over isn’t horrific, with 4 draws and only 2 losses, but some wins are desperately needed to keep hope alive in the Nation’s capitol.

Toronto FC II lost both of their matches. They fell 0-1 to Rochester, and then 1-2 to New York Red Bulls 2 (6th). The young reds sit in last place in the East, without even a remote hope of fighting their way above the cut-off line. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 isn’t much better, sitting 2nd-last in the West, ahead of Portland Timbers 2. They are comfortably ahead of Portland, but also far behind the cut-off. Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 lost, 1-3 against Tulsa Roughnecks, but managed a scoreless draw against OKC Energy. The draw, combined with FC Edmonton’s loss to North Carolina, was enough to keep the mini-Caps in 5th-place among Canadian teams on our elo-ratings.

Elo-ratings as of 13 Sept 2017. For information on how this is calculated, read our primer
Elo-ratings as of 13 Sept 2017. For information on how this is calculated, read our primer

League1 Ontario

There were fewer League1 Ontario matches than usual during the past couple of weeks. However, there were more matches with a goal differential of 5 or more than usual as well. The main cuplrit: TFC III. The baby reds downed Toronto Skillz 7-0, and then dropped Windsor TFC 11-0. These huge score differentials propelled  TFC III up 2 spots, and 8-points on our elo-ratings. North Toronto Nitros pummelled Aurora FC 8-0, and although ProStars only fell 3-2 in Oakville, they were dismantled by Toronto Skillz 5-0.

The remainder of league saw more normal-like scorelines. Durham fell to Woodbridge, 2-0. Master’s defeated OSU Force, 3-2. Sanjaxx fell at home to North Mississuaga, 0-2, and Skillz lost at home to Vaughan Azzurri with an identical scoreline. Interestingly, there was only a single draw over the 2-week period. FC London hosted Sigma FC, who has had a number of match cancellations lately, to a 2-all scorefest.

L1O usually does a top team in the East vs top in the West playoff. Currently, Vaughan leads Woodbridge in the East due to a giant goal-differential, with North Toronto 7 points behind them. In the “West”, Oakville currently leads with 48 points, followed by Sigma at 40 points. The West has a tie for 3rd-place with TFC III being ahead due to goal differential.

Premier Ligue de Soccer du Quebec

The past 2-weeks were split between a trio of league matches, and a pair of PLSQ Cup matches. In the league, CS St-Hubert continues their surprising rebound with a 3-2 victory of CS Longueuil. FC Lanaudiere hosted a scoreless draw against CS Mont-Royal Outremont. AS Blainville also managed to put a halt to their slide with a 5-0 triumph over FC Gatineau. AS Blainville continues to stand top of PLSQ, with a 6-point difference between them and 2nd-place CSMRO.

In PLSQ Cup action, the 2nd-leg of the semi-finals occurred this past weekend. AS Blainville were held to a scoreless draw against CS Longueuil. Since the 1st leg, also a draw, saw Blainville score a goal on the road, the league-leaders were able to push their way into the Cup final. The other match saw FC Gatineau fall, quite surprisingly, to CS St Hubert. Despite their triumph, CS St Hubert will not advance to the PLSQ Cup final as they fell in their home-leg, 3-1 to Gatineau. Although the results and the way in which these teams advanced to the finals may be surprising, both AS Blainville and FC Gatineau were my picks to see each other in the PLSQ Final. AS Blainville will host FC Gatineau on October 28th.

The PLSQ results over the past couple of weeks had quite an affect on the elo-ratings. CS St Hubert is no longer at the very bottom, having jumped above 3 L1O teams (Aurora, Skillz, and ProStars). Additionally, AS Blainville has moved up to be below the top teams in L1O (Vaughan, Woodbridge, and Oakville). Dynamo de Quebec has also managed to leap-frog FC Gatineau, while CSMRO is just a single result behind CS Longueuil. It will be interesting to see how things shake out over the coming weeks.


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Elo-ratings as of 13 Sept 2017. For information on how this is calculated, read our primer
Elo-ratings as of 13 Sept 2017. For information on how this is calculated, read our primer
Closing

Although I will endeavour to have an update available around September 28th, it is very likely that the next Elo-update will be delayed as far out as October 12th as I will be moving from BC to Ontario. I’m driving my toddler, wife, and what remains of our stuff across the country, which is going to take at least a week, and then there’ll be some delay while we get setup at the other end. I’ll try to get things updated and setup as quickly as I’m able, but I expect there will a gap.

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 will be a slight gap while I move across country, but I will endeavour to catch up on the missing weeks once I’m back online. 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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