We’ve only got three weeks of inter-conference play remaining in the season – let’s take a look at what matches we have to look forward to.
Aurora FC (1-1-9, 7th East) @ FC London (5-4-2, 4th West)
Friday, July 21 @ 8:00 pm – German Canadian FC Stadium, London
London returns home this week with a great opportunity to move up in the standings as they face a winless-in-four Aurora FC. Hot off a 3-2 victory against Durham last weekend, a win in this match would not only give London eight straight games without a loss, but it would also move them into a tie for third with TFC III – depending on the result of that team’s match against Master’s later on this weekend. Aurora will be looking for a better result after a 6-1 loss to Windsor last week. Last year’s match ended in a close 4-3 victory for London.
Sanjaxx Lions (1-3-8, 7th West) @ Ottawa South United (5-1-6, 6th East)
Saturday, July 22 @ 3:00 pm – Terry Fox Park, Ottawa
Ottawa has earned points in three of their last four games, and will be looking to continue that trend as they face 7th-place Sanjaxx in the nation’s capital this weekend. Ottawa came out of last weekend up by three points after playing two matches – a 4-1 loss to West-leading Sigma FC on Saturday, followed by a tight 1-0 victory over the Windsor TFC Stars the day after. OSU is locked in a tight battle with Master’s Futbol for fifth place in the eastern conference, and with Durham, Vaughan, and North Toronto only 4-7 points ahead in the standings, a late-season push could make things very interesting. Sanjaxx fell to North Toronto by a 5-0 score last weekend, and will be looking for a better showing this time around. This is the first-ever meeting between these two teams.
MATCH OF THE WEEK
Sigma FC (10-2-0, 1st West) @ North Toronto Nitros (7-2-3, 2nd East)
Saturday, July 22 @ 8:00 pm – Varsity Stadium, Toronto
This is North Toronto’s last match of the year at Varsity Stadium, but it should be a great one as both teams have a lot on the line. Sigma will be looking to cement their lead in the eastern conference after a 4-1 victory over Ottawa last weekend, and a win here could give them an eight-point stranglehold over Oakville should that team lose to Vaughan on Sunday. North Toronto finally got back on the right track last weekend with a 5-0 win over Sanjaxx, snapping a 3-game winless streak which threatened to move them out of contention for the eastern conference title. A win here for the Nitros would not only be Sigma’s first loss of the season, but would be important to keep themselves in the race with tough matches against London and TFC III coming up over the next few weeks. The Nitros only have two home matches left this season; both as Esther Shiner Stadium as Varsity opens back up for the university teams. Last year’s meeting was a 3-1 victory for North Toronto – something the Nitros should be overjoyed to walk away with again this time.
Toronto FC III (7-1-2, 3rd West) @ Master’s Futbol (5-2-5, 5th East)
Saturday, July 22 @ 9:00 pm – L’Amoreaux Park, Scarborough
Master’s will be looking to take advantage of a sidelined TFC III this weekend at home against an opposition which has only taken the field one time over the past month (a 4-3 victory against Vaughan on July 8th). Master’s is definitely a team on the upswing – after starting the season with four losses in five games, they’re now undefeated in their past four and knocking at the door of the eastern conference challengers. While a win for Master’s would certainly be unexpected at first glance, they’ve shown the ability to keep things close against top teams – in their four games against top calibre teams this season, three of those have only been lost by a single goal. This match has the potential to be closer than many would initially think, and an unlikely win here could see Master’s only three points shy of second place should they get favourable results elsewhere around the league. TFC will have to ensure a win here if they want to challenge Sigma for the conference lead; despite having two games in hand, Sigma is already ten points ahead, and TFC can’t afford to drop too many more points in the chase. Last year’s result was a 9-0 victory for Toronto FC III, and considering the improvements that Master’s made in the offseason, I’d be utterly shocked if we saw a repeat of that result here.
WOMEN’S MATCH OF THE WEEK
West Ottawa Women (6-1-6, 3rd) @ Vaughan Azzurri Women (5-2-3, 6th)
Sunday, July 23 @ 11:00 am – McNaughton Park, Vaughan
If you’re up for a double-header of soccer action this weekend, check out the Vaughan women taking on West Ottawa on Sunday morning before the men’s match in the afternoon. The women’s league has got some fierce competition this year, with five teams locked within two points of each other for second place in the standings. West Ottawa has played more games than anyone else (this is their 14th in the 20-game season) and are tied for third in losses, but are still challenging for position near the top of the league (they don’t believe in draws, apparently). Vaughan has a great chance to separate themselves from the pack, as a victory here would (at least temporarily) move them to the top of that second-place bunch and put them only three points back of league-leading Unionville Milliken. This is the first meeting between these two sides, and they both exited the League1 Cup in the semifinals.
Interested in more League1 women’s matches? You can find the full schedule here.
MATCH OF THE WEEK
Oakville Blue Devils (9-0-2, 2nd West) @ Vaughan Azzurri (7-1-3, 3rd East)
Sunday, July 23 @ 2:00 pm – McNaughton Park, Vaughan
I couldn’t possibly limit myself to only one match of the week with these two teams facing each other, as this contest has the potential to severely damage the title aspirations of one (or maybe even both) of these sides. Vaughan ended a Sigma and TFC-mediated two-game losing streak last week with an 11-1 destruction of ProStars, which set the record for the largest blowout in League1’s four-year history. The win moved them up to third place and four points behind Woodbridge for the lead, after the Strikers saw their important match against Oakville postponed last weekend on account of weather. We’re barely over halfway through the season, but this is almost a must-win for the Blue Devils if they hope to catch Sigma – apart from a match between Sigma and Oakville in two weeks’ time, Sigma would really only have two mid-August matches against Woodbridge and TFC III to stand in their way for the title, and being eight points behind Sigma before those three matches would give Oakville absolutely no room for error. On the other hand, a loss for Vaughan would see them seven points behind the Strikers, and while Woodbridge has a bit tougher schedule going forward, that gap would certainly make life difficult for the Azzurri. A draw here might actually be my least preferred result, because that might the title race in both conferences a lot less interesting moving forward. Last year’s meeting ended in a 3-0 victory for Oakville.
North Mississauga SC (3-2-7, 6th West) @ Toronto Skillz FC (0-0-11, 8th East)
Sunday, July 23 @ 4:00 pm – Birchmount Stadium, Scarborough
North Mississauga had a three-game undefeated streak broken last weekend, thanks to a 3-2 loss against Master’s. They’ll be looking to add three points in this match against the winless Toronto Skillz – a victory here would move them to within two points of Windsor for fifth place in the west, who have a challenge in facing Durham this weekend. Last year’s meeting ended in a 3-0 victory for North Mississauga.
Durham United FA (6-2-4, 4th East) @ Windsor TFC Stars (4-4-5, 5th West)
Sunday, July 23 @ 4:00 pm – University of Windsor Stadium, Windsor
This could be a great match as both teams find themselves in a similar place in the standings. Durham will be looking to return to third place after having it snatched away last weekend, and stand a good chance of moving back up with Vaughan having an all-important match against Oakville earlier this day. Durham has had a mixed record of late, with two wins in the last four matches, but will be looking to stay in the mix by claiming three points here. Windsor started off on a good foot last weekend with a 6-1 defeat of Aurora, but wasn’t able to take advantage of their double-header as they fell 1-0 to Ottawa in their second match. A win in this one will probably keep them three points back of London (who will likely be claiming all three points against Aurora this weekend), while a loss would only put them two points ahead of North Mississauga (who should claim the win against Skillz). Last year’s meeting ended in a tight 3-2 win for Windsor.
ProStars FC (0-1-10, 8th West) @ Woodbridge Strikers (8-2-1, 1st East)
Sunday, July 23 @ 7:00 pm – Vaughan Grove, Woodbridge
After ProStars dropped an 11-1 decision to Vaughan last weekend, I think the main question from this match will be how much Woodbridge can win by. I don’t expect the result of this match to be in any doubt, and if it is, I wouldn’t want to be a Woodbridge player in the dressing room after the match. This game’s most interesting impact would actually be to formally eliminate ProStars from title contention in the western conference with a loss, after playing only 12 games in a 22-game season (though Sigma might actually beat them to the punch if they beat the Nitros on Saturday night). Somehow, this match ended in a 1-0 victory for ProStars last season.