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Men’s Premier Division Final Preview

By League1 Ontario staff, 08/31/23, 2:00PM EDT


Two teams enter the final game of the season, but only one can come out as the champions.

Scrosoppi players huddle

Scrosoppi come into the game as regular-season champions

Going for the cup double

Scrosoppi have been a dominant force this season in League1 Ontario, only three losses in 2023. They’ve been strong in defence recently having only conceded twice in their last four games, which may make it difficult for Simcoe County Rovers to punish them.

Simcoe did score twice against Scrosoppi in their last meeting in July, but the eventual regular-season champions were firing on all cylinders at the other end of the pitch – star man Tomasz Skublak scoring twice and assisting once to give his side an unassailable lead before half-time.

In the playoff semifinals, Scrosoppi made it past last year's finalists Blue Devils, who they beat 2-1 thanks to Alexander Zis scoring twice in three first-half minutes with a penalty and a free kick.

Qualifying for the Men’s Premier Division Final is a major step forward for Scrosoppi after they finished 12th last year on just 28 points, nearly half the 51 points they accumulated this season.

Roar of the Rovers

Simcoe have gone one step further than their playoff campaign last year, making it to the final in only their second season as a club, and backed by an ever-growing, ever-noisy, Barrie contingent.

In the semifinals, the Rovers took their revenge on Vaughan Azzurri who beat them in the playoffs last year, recording a dominant 3-0 win over 2022's champions. Up front this season, they have been a lot more dangerous with an extra 19 goals scored compared to 2022.

That cutting edge in the final third as been helped by former Vaughan man Orlendis Benitez-Hernandez, whose winning goal actually knocked Simcoe out of the playoffs last year. He will now be razor-focused on securing his second back-to-back winners’ medal.

Simcoe do hold some bragging rights over Scrosoppi having come out on top with a 4-1 win in the Men’s U21 Reserve Division Final last year. Andre Beecher scored the opening goal for the Rovers in that victory and went on to feature 11 times in the Premier Division this season.

Simcoe score in U21 Reserve Division Final

Andre Beecher nets in last year's Men's U21 Reserve Division Final

Players to watch

Scrosoppi’s Skublak was the top regular-season scorer this year with 23 goals, but he is yet to score in the playoffs. Benitez-Hernandez has 15 to his name – joint-third in the league standings – and crucially some playoff-winning experience.

Scrosoppi goalkeeper Andreas Vaikla will make it tough for Simcoe to find the back of the net having only conceded 17 goals in 18 appearances this season. Jevontae Layne will be out to make his life difficult having netted 12 goals in 19 games for Simcoe, including the opener in their semifinal victory against Vaughan.

Simcoe skipper Justin Earle has been a standout performer in Barrie’s backline this year, while full-back Anthony Stolar – a goal scorer when these sides last met – has lots of potential having been selected. in last year’s CPL-U-Sports Draft.

Play your part

Tickets for the Men’s Premier Division Final can be purchased online by clicking here. Paying online is cheaper than buying on the door on Saturday.

If you can’t make it in person, we’ll have a multi-camera livestream taking place on our YouTube channel.

Whatever you do, don’t miss it!

Simcoe players celebrate

Simcoe celebrate after scoring in the playoff semifinals