The Women's Premier Division Final is a rematch of 2022's trophy-game
Underdogs on the up
Alliance United caught their playoff rivals by surprise last season, making their way to the final after scraping into the top six on the last day of the regular season, but this year they finished fourth and seven points ahead of the non-playoff sides.
In the playoffs, they’ve already defeated Woodbridge Strikers on penalties and Vaughan Azzurri to grab a place in the final, but can they go one better than last year?
They come into this final as the only team that has beaten NDC Ontario in the last two years, and this season, had the second-strongest backline in the division, conceding just 13 goals as opposed to last campaign’s 20. NDC Ontario scored three goals against them in the 2023 final, so Alliance will undoubtedly be focused on keeping a clean sheet.
Jenny Wolever and goalkeeper Gurleen Toor are players in form having made the Playoffs Team of the Week and July Team of the Month, while captain Laura Gosse could have a huge impact in what way this game goes.
Defending the crown
Standing in the way of Alliance United lifting their first Premier Division title is the formidable NDC Ontario.
The champions were flawless for the first half of the campaign, winning their first nine games without conceding a goal, and have the best defensive record in the division having conceded just seven goals.
NDC have already picked up silverware this season, winning the Ron Smale Cup after finishing top of the regular-season standings. They’re only lose this season game against Alliance in July, immediately before they beat top-spot rivals Vaughan Azzurri.
In addition to winning last year’s final, NDC will go into the 2023 title decider as favourites. The squad is also full of Canada U20 National Team stars, including defender Zoe Markesini and strikers Annabelle Chukwu and Rosa Maalouf who have been in form in the playoffs.
Gurleen Toor (middle) has been a star for Alliance United
Ones to watch
Goalkeeper Gurleen Toor has been an essential part of Alliance United’s success this season and her performance between the sticks was crucial in their quarterfinal win against Woodbridge Strikers. She made the July Team of the Month alongside defender Jenny Wolever.
Another threat NDC Ontario will be familiar with is Madison Mariani. She scored the winner when Alliance beat NDC 1-0 in the regular season and has been the standout goal threat for Alliance this season, scoring 11 times in 17 games.
For NDC Ontario, their squad is full of Canada U20 National Team stars, including leading defender Zoe Markesini and strikers Rosa Maalouf Annabelle Chukwu who will be players to watch on Saturday.
Chukwu also comes into the game in good form having scored twice in NDC’s comfortable 4-0 victory against FC London in the semifinals. She joined the side midway through the season and has hit the ground running.
Meanwhile Maalouf broke Alliance United hearts in the final last season, scoring a wonder goal in the second half to make it 3-1, and you can watch Maalouf’s goal and a replay of last season’s final here.
You can watch the title decider between NDC Ontario and Alliance United on Saturday, August 5; the game kicks off at 7pm at Ontario Soccer Centre.
The game will also be streamed live on our YouTube channel.
Annabelle Chukwu in U20 National Team action