SATURDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINALS WIDE OPEN…….No favorite but lots of excitement

SATURDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINALS WIDE OPEN…….No favorite but lots of excitement

18 Aug 2022

Assuming Continentals FC is a re-branding of the original expansion team that entered the Canadian Soccer League in 2017 – which it is – that means that all four of the semi-final teams at Esther Shiner Stadium this coming Saturday have won the CSL Championship title in years gone by. Continentals have won the title twice, in 2018 and 2020, Scarborough – which entered the CSL in 2015 – has also won the championship title twice, in 2019 and 2021. York Region Shooters first joined the league in 1998 and were champions in 2006, 2014 and 2017.

Serbian White Eagles is a club steeped in Canadian soccer history going back to 1968 eventually becoming a professional team in the National Soccer League, a forerunner of today’s CSL. Serbian White Eagles won the NSL championship in 1974 to then become the first Canadian soccer club to compete in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.  White Eagles have won the CSL championship twice, in 2008 and 2016.

There is no favorite in this season’s championship playoffs as Serbian White Eagles get ready to face Continentals FC in the upcoming semi-finals this coming Saturday, a 4 pm kickoff at Esther Shiner Stadium, to be followed at 6 pm by York Region Shooters vs Scarborough SC. The CSL Championship Final will be played at Lamport Stadium in Toronto the following week on Saturday, August 27 at 8 pm.

White Eagles struggled to find the net in 2021 with an average just one goal per game in the regular season games and repeated its poor scoring performance during the opening weeks of this season. New signings started to pay dividends with a 7-3 result against BGHC 1 on June 18 and a 10-1 trouncing of the same team July 30 to start a regular season-ending winning streak of four games. The team vaulted into the top position in the standings to capture the league title in an amazing turnaround and change of fortune.   Serbian White Eagles are in top form and may have  edge in these playoffs for the championship.

Continentals FC, which finished fourth in the final standings is the semi-final opposition to the White Eagles and while the team was a last year’s championship finalist and league title winner it has not displayed the consistency of recent years during the regular season just ended. Nevertheless, Continentals  remains a force and yet again very capable of ending the current campaign as champion. Continentals will be missing defender Illia Piltenko for this Saturday’s semi-final while under suspension.

Scarborough, with its excellent defensive record of conceding an average less than one goal per game, will be tough in defence of the championship despite finishing third in the standings where only four points separated the top four teams. While usually close to the top of the table at season end, the east Toronto team has a remarkable record of being a championship finalist in each of the last five seasons which includes two championship victories.

York Region Shooters completed a regular season schedule impressively while at times holding top position in the standings after returning to the CSL following an absence of four years. The Shooters were CSL champions and third in the league standings on taking a hiatus in 2017 and returned to this new campaign holding the current CSL champions Scarborough to a 3-3 tie in the opener on May 29.The runner-up position in this season’s regular season standings speaks volumes of the team’s chances to pull off a semi-final victory against Scarborough on Saturday and the team based in York Region cannot be ruled out of a repeat of the championship win of 2017. Missing on Saturday will be defender Carlex Mbobda and midfielder O. Hussein, both serving suspensions.

Saturday’s semi-final games add up to an intriguing affair with results hard to predict, but with much attractive soccer to see while deciding the two teams to advance to the championship final match the following week.

 

CSL CHAMPIONSHIP –  SEMI-FINALS

Saturday, August 20, Esther Shiner Stadium, Toronto 

 4 pm  Serbian White Eagles vs Continentals FC

6 pm  York Region Shooters vs Scarborough SC

 CSL CHAMPIONSHIP – FINAL

Saturday, August 27 at 8 pm, Lamport Stadium, Toronto

 

 

 

 

 

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