FC London in prime position for playoffs ahead of Tuesday night
Friday night highs and lows
After Alliance United confirmed their Women’s Premier Division playoff spot on Thursday night, NDC Ontario beat Tecumseh 4-0 on Friday to guarantee the 2023 regular-season title. Four different scorers were on hand to make sure NDC go into the playoffs as the top seed, leaving the five-point gap above Vaughan Azzurri too big for the 2022 regular-season champions to claw back with just one game remaining.
Elsewhere on Friday, Hamilton United beat Darby after being two goals down with 20 minutes remaining. Goals from Jenna Parris, Makenna Williamson, and a late winner from Erin Hedgcock saw a great end to the season for Hamilton.
There were two Men’s Premier Division games on Friday night, with Darby winning 5-0 against Unionville Milliken and Kashiff Collins netting a hat-trick in one of them.
In the other, St Catharines Roma Wolves stunned second-placed Blue Devils 2-1 with Christian Cerchiara and Michael Solomon on the scoresheet. Blue Devils made their L1O debut in 2017 and have now lost two back-to-back games the first time in their six Men’s Premier Division seasons, meaning teams behind them are catching up.
Guelph Union seal Premier Division status
There were six matches in the Women’s Premier Division on Saturday, and four men’s fixtures.
Guelph Union were in top form when it mattered on Saturday, beating playoff-bound Alliance United on the road to secure a spot in the top women’s division next season. The team’s leading scorer, Victoria Hinchcliffe, netted her 10th goal of the season – arguably her most important as it proved the deciding goal of the game and confirmed Guelph’s status for 2024.
The teams chasing Union for that final Premier Division spot failed to put Guelph under pressure. After Darby’s Friday night loss, Blue Devils lost 3-0 to North Toronto Nitros with Kiyomi McCausland netting a brace, and St Catharines Roma Wolves were defeated by Unionville Milliken who have now won three of their last four games.
There was also drama in the playoff battle. FC London beat North Mississauga 2-1 after conceding first; a win that saw them jump into the top six with Simcoe County Rovers losing 3-0 to mid-table BVB IA Waterloo.
It was a bitter blow to Simcoe who held sixth place going into the weekend, and it was FC London who defeated them 4-3 in the playoff quarterfinals last year. The London side, meanwhile, need to avoid losing on Tuesday night against Electric City to return to the postseason.
Electric City kept themselves in playoff contention at the weekend by beating Burlington 5-0; Marisa Oliveira netted a hat-trick.
There were two playoff head-to-heads in the Men’s Premier Division on Saturday. Vaughan Azzurri and Electric City played out a 0-0 tie and Alliance United shared the spoils with North Toronto Nitros who twice came back from a goal down to tie 2-2.
FC London beat visiting Woodbridge Strikers in an entertaining 3-2 game, Santiago Fonseca netting the deciding goal, and Hamilton United also won at home, seeing off ProStars 2-0 in a mid-table battle. Hamilton had lost to ProStars last season as their opponents put in an impressive charge to the playoffs, but the teams now sit 12th and 13th in the current standings respectively.
Comeback queens, Hamilton United
Half of the money raised from ticket sales to Vaughan Azzurri’s Women’s Premier Division game against Woodbridge Strikers on Sunday was donated to Vaughan Cortellucci Hospital and Mackenzie Health. There were also food and drinks on site, a charity raffle, and opportunities to donate toys and games for children.
On the field, the Azzurri rounded off their regular season with a 5-1 win; Jotam Chouhan scored a hat-trick and Leah Pais grabbed a brace. Jayda Thompson also found the back of the net once again for Woodbridge but it was ultimately only a consolation.
There were four Men’s Premier Division games on Sunday, which saw Scrosoppi stretch the gap at the top of the standings to six points with their 3-2 victory against Sigma, coming back from two goals down.
Simcoe County Rovers moved into the top three with a narrow 1-0 victory over Guelph United, with Justin Earle the lone scorer, and North Mississauga were 4-0 winners against BVB IA Waterloo.
There was also a six-goal thriller between Windsor City and Master’s FA, where Jose Pabon scored twice as Windsor City won 4-2 and bagged their sixth victory of the season.
There are two games left in the Women’s Premier Division this season, but the battle for playoffs isn’t over.
Before Unionville Milliken and ProStars go head-to-head at the bottom of the table on Friday, FC London and Electric City meet on Tuesday to decide who will finish in sixth place. A win for the Peterborough side will ensure they leapfrog FC London, and in doing so, kick them out of their playoff spot.
Every point matters!
Reigning men's champions Vaughan Azzurri are in the midst of a tight playoff battle