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Preview: 2019 League1 Ontario Men's Semi-Final Stage

By League1 Ontario staff, 09/13/19, 4:15PM EDT


(Photo: F10 Sports)

The 2019 League1 Ontario Men's Semi-Final stage is all cued up to kick off on Saturday September 14 with the first legs of both series on offer. 

The first tie finds the regular season champions, Oakville Blue Devils, away to the fourth seed, Masters FA. 

These two sides could not find a way past each other in their one regular season meeting, with Oakville Blue Devils hosting a 1-1 draw at Sheridan College on June 29.

(Photo: Kevin Raposo Photography)

Masters absolutely smashed Sigma in the Quarter-Final stage, taking the admittedly weakened Mississauga academy side down 7-2 on aggregate. Standout players for the Saints were Francis Ameyaw (1 goal, 3x assists), Triston Frankson (2x assists), and head coach Rick Titus' MVP from the season, Adam Czerkawski. Watch out for this team's ability to attack from all angles. 

Oakville Blue Devils finally found a way past their Quarter-Final foes, Woodbridge Strikers, with a convincing 2-0 home result in the second leg. The first leg was a defensive stalemate as both the Strikers and the Blue Devils left Vaughan Grove, Woodbridge with clean sheets and nothing in the goal column.

Oakville had one of the best defensive records in League1 during 2019, giving up only 8 goals in 15 matches. Standout players for the Blue Devils in the playoffs thus far have been keeper Lucas Birstingl (2x clean sheets in playoffs, 10 clean sheets in reg season) and youngsters Spencer Barber and Deryn Armstrong, who both found the crucial goals to win against the Strikers. 

This Semi-Final stage has two legs, with the first a home field advantage to Masters:

Saturday September 14 (7 p.m.) at L'Amoreaux Sports Centre, Toronto

Sunday September 22 (4 p.m.) at Bronte Athletic Park, Oakville

(Photo: F10 Sports)

The second tie pits the league's top defensive side in regular season play, Alliance United, against seventh seed, FC London.

There was very little between these sides when they met in regular season play on June 29 at Mt. Joy Turf, Markham, when Alliance beat FC London 1-nil after shutting up shop following a penalty from captain Nikola Stakic.

Alliance found their way past their quarter-final opponents, North Mississauga SC, with little difficulty, winning 4-1 on aggregate. Kevin DaSilva was the hero in the first leg of the tie, scoring a brace of away goals that gave Alliance a big leg up into the semi.

Standout players included Nicholas Osorio and Atchuanthan Sivananthan, whose pace gave North Miss a great deal of difficulty, and Christopher Donoso, who popped up with the winner in the second leg. 

FC London has earned the title of giant-killer after knocking off Vaughan SC - the reigning League1 Champions after taking the title in 2018 - in spectacular fashion. First London toppled the best attack in the league, taking down Vaughan 2-1 in London, before heading into Vaughan and staving off a dramatic comeback attempt by the Azzurri with a 2-2 draw.

Standout players were Mohammed Reza Nafa, whose composure to stick away the winner in the second leg immediately after Vaughan had put themselves on the road to penalties was an incredible moment. Watch out also for forwards Connor Wilson, Ethan Gopaul, and the dynamic Tomas Alvarez.    

This Semi-Final stage has two legs, with the first a home field advantage to Alliance:

Saturday September 14  (7 p.m.) at Mt. Joy, Markham

Friday September 20  (7:30 p.m.) at German Canadian Club, London

(Photo: Kevin Raposo Photography)