North Toronto Nitros have sights set on playoffs, but currently outside the top six
Closing the gap
Two Men’s Premier Division games will kick off the weekend as Simcoe County Rovers look to close the gap to leaders Scrosoppi. The Barrie side travel to North Mississauga knowing three points will move them into second place, while a win for the Panthers will put further distance between themselves and the bottom three.
Our other men’s game is between St Catharines Roma Wolves and Burlington. The Bayhawks are in a close battle to secure a top division spot on the Road to 2024 and are still in the hunt for the playoffs as a win would move them one point behind sixth-placed Guelph United.
Playoff battle heats up
North Toronto Nitros host division leaders Scrosoppi in one of five Men’s Premier Division games on Saturday. A win for the visitors will take them one step closer to a top-two finish, but the Nitros need three points if they are to get into pole position for one of the playoff quarterfinal positions.
Alliance United are also in the race for the playoffs and sit eighth; they travel to Unionville Milliken for their fixture, a side they beat 4-0 in 2022.
Tenth-place Sigma need to get back to winning ways having lost their last five games in a row, including a 5-1 defeat to Vaughan Azzurri on Wednesday. Not only are they outsiders for a playoff spot, but they also still need to secure their place in the Premier Division for next season. They host bottom-placed side BVB IA Waterloo this weekend.
Elsewhere, Darby host Windsor City – two teams still with a mathematical chance of being in the top division in 2024. They are 2.25 points apart from each other in the aggregate table and three points for either side is crucial.
A win for ProStars against FC London will clinch their spot in the 2024 Premier Division, while three points for FC London would see them move ahead of their opponents in the current standings.
NDC Ontario are focused on retaining the title
Will history repeat itself?
Go back to the 2022 women’s playoffs and you’ll see the same four teams at this stage of the competition, all with the same match-ups; presenting an opportunity for revenge for FC London and Vaughan Azzurri.
In our first semifinal, Vaughan Azzurri clash with Alliance United. It was Alliance who upset the odds and progressed to the final last season following their 2-1 playoff victory. Alliance were sixth-place qualifiers and scored twice early on against the regular-season champions; the Azzurri couldn’t get back on level terms.
When the sides met this season, Alliance United won 2-1 again, so the Azzurri will be out to prove a point.
NDC Ontario and FC London come head-to-head in our second semifinal on Sunday. Reigning champions NDC finished top of the division at the end of the regular season and come into this one as favourites.
FC London should not be underestimated however, when the sides met in the regular season in July, the game ended in a 1-1 tie. FC London fell behind in that game to an April Lantaigne strike but found a second-half leveller through Lauren Rowe. Both sides have had previous success in the postseason, and FC London have already seen off third-seed North Toronto Nitros in this week's playoff quarterfinals, so this should be an exciting match up.
More men’s action
There are two Men’s Premier Division games to round off the weekend. Third-placed Blue Devils host fifth-placed Electric City, with the teams separated by two points. The visitors are unbeaten in their last eight games, while Blue Devils have suffered defeat in their previous two for the first time in L1O since 2016.
Vaughan Azzurri are also in action as they take on Master’s FA. The Azzurri are currently second in the division and could be nine points adrift of Scrosoppi by the time they take to the pitch on Sunday. The last time they faced Master’s FA they were 6-2 winners.
FC London need to cause another upset to reach the final