We’re entering our second week of inter-conference games on this rainy last weekend of June – what does League1 Ontario have to offer for us?
Toronto FC III (5-1-2, 3rd West) @ Durham United FA (4-2-2, 4th East)
Friday, June 23rd @ 7:30pm – Kinsmen Park, Pickering
This is an important match for both teams – Durham has to keep finding some wins if it wants a shot at the Eastern Conference title and a chance at a Canadian Championship birth next year. They managed to sneak out a close 2-1 win last weekend against the lowly North Miss – can they find some more magic to stay in the hunt? TFC3 is hot off a 7-0 drubbing of Aurora last week, but remain five points behind Oakville and Sigma for the Western Conference title – can they use the league’s leading scorer (Ethan Beckford, 9 goals) and the league’s leading goalkeeper (Gianluca Catalano, 0.25 GAA) to stay in contention? Their only meeting last year ended in a 7-3 victory for Durham; a result that TFC3 will certainly be hoping to avoid this time around.
ProStars FC (0-1-7, 8th West) @ Ottawa South United (3-0-5, 5th East)
Saturday, June 24th @ 3:00 pm – Terry Fox Park, Ottawa
Ottawa South will be looking to snap a five-game league losing streak, especially after a 3-1 cup loss against Durham this Wednesday and showing such great promise after starting the season with three straight wins. They’ve got a good chance this weekend at home against ProStars, who sit at the bottom of the Western Conference with only one point through eight matches. Can the Force reverse their losing ways, or will ProStars be able to pick up some more points against an Ottawa side who already played a cup match this week and hasn’t won a league game since early May? These two teams have met once before – in the first round of this year’s league cup, which went 4-3 for Ottawa. Could be a close match; be sure to check it out if you’re in the nation’s capital!
North Mississauga SC (2-0-6, 6th West) @ Aurora FC (1-1-6, 7th East)
Saturday, June 24th @ 9:00 pm – Highland Park, Aurora
A great opportunity for both sides to pick up some much-needed points this weekend after a pair of tough starts to the season. North Mississauga will be looking to recreate some of the glory from last year’s inaugural season – where they tied for third in the Western Conference alongside TFC’s Academy – in order to turn things around after five losses in six games. Aurora will be looking to avenge a dreadful 7-0 loss to TFC3 this past weekend – who North Miss managed to beat 1-0 to earn a place in the cup semifinals. Will a different surrounding at Highland Park do them some good? Their one meeting last year ended in a 5-1 victory for the Panthers. Neither side will get much of a boost in the standings but a win for either side could be good for morale nonetheless.
Sanjaxx Lions (1-2-5, 7th West) @ Master’s Futbol (2-1-5, 6th East)
Saturday, June 24th @ 9:00 pm – L’Amoreaux Park, Scarborough
(ed. note: The Sanjaxx-Master’s match has been removed from the league schedule and will instead be played on July 5th)
Windsor TFC Stars (2-4-2, 5th West) @ Vaughan Azzurri (5-1-1, 3rd East)
Sunday, June 25th @ 2:00 pm – McNaughton Park, Vaughan
Vaughan will be eager to hit the pitch again this Sunday, after their away match in London last weekend was called on account of weather (the rematch has not yet been scheduled). The Azzurri are sitting in third place in the Eastern Conference after that missed match, three points behind the Nitros and five behind Woodbridge for the conference lead. The Stars sit one point behind London going into week nine; a win for them here (and a quite plausible loss for London against Woodbridge) would move Windsor into the top half of the Western Conference table. Their one matchup last year ended in a 2-0 victory for the Azzurri… can Vaughan keep pace in the Eastern Conference, or did they overexert themselves in a 6-1 cup win against Master’s this week? Come join me at McNaughton this weekend to find out!
Sigma FC (6-2-0, 2nd West) @ Toronto Skillz FC (0-0-8, 8th East)
Sunday, June 25th @ 4:00 pm – Birchmount Stadium, Scarborough
This one promises to be a lopsided affair, but on the off-chance that it isn’t, you’d be in for a real treat! After eight matches, Sigma is the only team left in the league not to see a loss, and Skillz is the only one not to pick up a point. Don’t count on Sigma to hold back though – they’re still sitting one point behind Oakville for the conference lead and will be looking to build up that goal differential, not to mention finding a few goals for Kadell Thomas to move him into the league’s goalscoring lead. Their one meeting last year ended in a 2-2 draw; can Skillz repeat that feat and shock the league once again?
Oakville Blue Devils (7-0-1, 1st West) @ North Toronto Nitros (6-1-1, 2nd East)
Sunday, June 25th @ 4:30 pm – Varsity Stadium, Toronto
Can this successor to the Toronto Lynx spirit some energy out of their old home turf? North Toronto hosts Oakville in this late afternoon match at Varsity, with plenty on the line for both squads in what could well be a preview of the league championship. Oakville will be looking to hold onto a one-point conference lead which will be in plenty of jeopardy as second-place Sigma faces down Skillz earlier in the day – coming out with three points here will remove a major hurdle down the stretch. The Nitros have plenty to play for as well, as they find themselves in a tight three-way contest with Woodbridge and Vaughan for control of the west… can North Toronto shake up the west and keep themselves in a title hunt with a victory against one of the best? The Nitros won last year’s edition over the Blue Devils by a 4-2 scoreline. This should be a great mid-season matchup with both teams having plenty to fight for.
FC London (3-2-2, 4th West) @ Woodbridge Strikers (7-0-1, 1st East)
Sunday, June 25th @ 7:00 pm – Vaughan Grove, Woodbridge
It’s going to be deja vu for these two squads as they face off at Vaughan Grove for League1 Ontario’s last match of the weekend. Why? They already met this past Wednesday for a cup match at the same field! Woodbridge managed to come away from that match with a 3-0 win to book a date with North Mississauga in the cup semis; a result which London will surely be looking to avenge in league play. A reversal in fortunes is going to be critical to that former PDL side, as London has only managed one win in its last four games; that being a 4-3 result against a ProStars side which has only picked up a single point so far this season. The Strikers will want to get back on a winning streak; their six-game tear to start the season was broken by title rivals Vaughan two weeks ago, and dropped points in this match could very well turn the Eastern Conference into a complete toss-up. Woodbridge won last year’s match by a 3-1 scoreline on the road… can they find another three points from this one? I’ll be there to find out – come join me to take in what should be an amazing game!