BC Day, Civic Holiday, Colonel By Day, Yukon Day…. Call it what you will, it’s the August Holiday and time for an update on the top Canadian Soccer Teams. Since the last update, the PDL has moved through the semi-finals, the PCSL has come to a close, and the League 1 Ontario (L1O) cup has crowned its champion. Both NASL & PLSQ have seen a handful of surprise wins, and we’ve seen some teams reverse their trends. It was a busy couple of weeks.
Let’s start with what hasn’t changed: Toronto FC continues to dominate MLS recovering from a recent slide with some outstanding scores, FC Edmonton rules the NASL, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC2 continue to be the dominant force among Canadian teams in the USL. Montreal Impact has been able to recover from a short slide and once again retake the 2nd position. In USL, Toronto FC II are almost unchanged in regards to their ELO rating, although FC Montreal continues to drop further and further down the table. As it stands right now, FC Montreal has fallen below the Calgary Foothills FC who are now in the PDL Finals, and K-W United who were eliminated in the first round of PDL playoffs. They stand just slightly above the PDL’s Thunder Bay Chill, who were also eliminated in the first round. The PDL final will see Calgary Foothills FC going up against Michigan Bucks on August 6th, effectively bringing true 4th division play to a close for 2016.
Although NASL’s Ottawa Fury remain in 5th, they’ve had a phenomenal recovery. Having won their 3 most recent games, they’ve shot up from 1156 to 1200, now sitting around NASL’s league average. Their academy also had a stellar week and were able to step out of last-place in the PLSQ. If the Fury continue this turn-around, we could be seeing a repeat of 2015 where they came from well behind and ended up with a sick play-off run.
In L1O, the Cup wrapped up with Vaughan Azzurri finishing things off with a close 1-0 victory over Woodbridge Strikers. Their victory allows them to swap spots with Woodbridge for top spot, with Durham United FA remaining in 3rd. Finally, with the PCSL semis & final now out of the way, the Thunderbirds remain top of that “league”, with Mid-Island Mariners taking 2nd. Almost all of the ELO points for the PCSL are concentrated in the hands of the Thunderbirds who generally dominated throughout the season & playoffs.
Finally, with the Canadian Championship & Open Cup play now completely resolved between inter-league teams, we can balance starting positions for next season to better match actual results. There was little difference in the numbers from the preliminary findings a few weeks back, which suggested new starting positions of 1400, 1205, 1006 and 903 for MLS, NASL, USL and PDL respectively. I’m going to choose to exaggerate the movement and start these sides at 1400, 1225, 1025, and 915.
For L1O & PLSQ, I’ve decided if L1O wins the Inter-provincial Cup again, they’ll start at 800 with PSLQ at 775. If there’s a surprise upset and the PLSQ side manages their 1st win in the history of the competition, they’ll both start at 800. As mentioned last week, PCSL is being dropped from the rankings. This realignment of starting points better reflects the reality of the differences between leagues, and should get them more realistically situated should the Canadian Soccer Association finally decide to expand the Canadian Championship. There will be other changes in scoring to take the home & away aggregate competitions into account, and better mirror competition weighting at different levels of play. Expect a full 2017 ELO formatting article to come during the off-season.
That’s a wrap for the August Holiday. There’s plenty more action through L1O, PLSQ, USL, NASL, and MLS in the upcoming weeks, so we’ll be back around the 15th with a mid-month update. As always, if you’d like to see the spreadsheets, send me an e-mail at email@example.com or message me on twitter ( @Shawn_R_Gray)