IS THE FC VORKUTA EDGE NOW EVAPORATING…….CSL Championship Final Sunday
The most obvious observation that can be made about the two finalists, FC Vorkuta and Scarborough SC in Sunday’s CSL Championship, is that both teams bring an abundance of talent and experience from other parts of the world.
Players from both teams, and this applies also to other teams in the 2021 Canadian Soccer League, have created an environment where games are well worth watching, at times highly entertaining and even an expectation and guarantee that when certain teams come together, the match will be spectacular.
Such is the case this coming Sunday when the two teams that have played a dominant role in the CSL in recent years and secured most of the honors, clash in the big event yet again. But is the FC Vorkuta edge now evaporating ? Scarborough’s season by season improvement includes a CSL Championship Final appearance five years in succession to demonstrate what a perfect match now exists on the field of play when these two sides come together.
To look at some of the talent in Sunday’s match, particularly mentioning those not usually in the spotlight but are impressive, nevertheless, Scarborough’s Cameel Reid, a midfielder, made 100 appearances for Sporting Central Academy, the top level of Jamaican soccer National Premier League and was selected by the Jamaican national team. Kavin Bryan, also played at the highest level in Jamaica and made seven appearances for the national team including World Cup qualifiers. Vladimir Zelenbaba, an attacking midfielder, has played in the Serbian First League, the Ukrainian Premier League, a stint in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan and the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Just an example of players who have excelled abroad or at home, and have played an important part in bringing the Toronto west-end team to its very best.
Coaching can make or break a team and Scarborough has generally been strong from the touchline with Zoran Rajovic playing an important role on and off the field during those recent successful seasons when progress was being made before his transfer to Serbian White Eagles. It’s interesting to note that Rajovic struck a hat-trick in a losing cause for Serbian White Eagles in the 7-5 semi-final loss on October 30, a win that put Scarborough into Sunday’s final. Kiril Dimitrov’s strong year by year drive and enthusiasm both on and off the field since declaring in 2014 pro soccer returning to Scarborough, also needs emphasis. As an aside, he too played well in the semi-final with a goal and important assist before coach Mirko Medic substituted and Dimitrov walked off at 75 minutes. Reluctantly, of course.
Scarborough head coach Medic has been a top defender in the CSL since 2006 following a successful professional career in Serbia and his presence has added a new dimension to Scarborough’s performance.
But FC Vorkuta has big guns too, with players like Bohdan Borovskyi, a standout midfielder from Ukraine, Serhii Melnyk, a prolific scorer from the Ukrainian Premier League, played in the top league in Belarus, taking part in a UEFA Europa League match for FK Zhodino, and also played in Muldova. Defender Jesus Eduardo Compean Gonzalez from Mexico is impressive, and so is midfielder Sergii Ivliev from high level soccer in Ukraine with two seasons in Poland. Just a few from a roster that has raised eyebrows in the Canadian soccer community for its unfaltering string of successes since entering the CSL in 2017.
Coaching is shared between head coach Andrei Malychenkov, a former First Division player in Russia going back to times of the USSR and a professional athlete in that country, and Viktor Raskov, a forward with an extensive background in Ukraine. He also played in Poland and Lithuania.
FC Vorkuta are the current CSL defending champions from the 2020 season and are now attempting to secure a third title in this closing match of 2021, having won the league title on October 9 and the ProSound Cup on October 17.
There will be an admission charge of $10 for Sunday’s CSL Championship Final and fans are reminded that as an outdoor activity, all Canadian Soccer League games at Centennial Stadium are not affected by the Ontario government regulation to implement the proof of vaccination requirements that went into effect on September 22. There will be no request for proof of vaccination or identity for entry.
Provincial health protocol is still in effect and spectators are required to wear a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin, unless they are entitled to an exemption. While seated in the stadium, the face mask can be removed. Physical distancing is required.
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