It is a big weekend for both North Mississauga Panthers' League1 Ontario teams, and even more so for their higher ranked opponents.
If the North Miss teams can get wins against heavy-hitters in both the men's and women's divisions, they will set up an intense end of season series of matches to determine the title winners. Furthermore, on the men's side - there is everything still to play for; the Panther's savage mid and late season form has made them one of only three teams still in the running for the west division title.
Photo: Martin Bazyl
Saturday September 10 - North Mississauga Panthers vs Sigma FC @ Hershey Centre, Mississauga, 4 p.m. kickoff
As mentioned, the Panthers' men still have a fighting chance at winning the western division, thanks to the number of games they have left and the powerful form they have demonstrated.
After starting the season win-less until turning it around in their sixth match, North Mississauga men have lost only once since late June.
Players like Jose Melo, Jose De Sousa and Bradley Fenton have all been big reasons why they have been so dominant. If the men want to continue through to the west division title, these three will need to have a big match vs Sigma FC.
Sigma is currently six points ahead of North Miss and occupy second position in the west after FC London's 3-0 win last night over Oakville.
This will be the second time these two have faced off this year, and with the first match going to Sigma 5-2 the Panthers will hope to reverse the outcome, put a dent in Sigma's title hopes, and successfully finish off their own late season bid to be champs in the west.
Sigma is led by striker Leaford Allen, who has been their primary outlet for goals this season. Allen's 17 goals is currently good enough for second in League1's men's division, and the Panthers will need to be able to shut him down if he is playing (Allen has not made an appearance in the last three matches) if they want to grab these important three points.
Leaford Allen (Photo: Martin Bazyl)
Sigma Win - If Sigma takes the result, they return to first place in the west division on 41 points from 20 matches. Sigma's would look to defend their slim lead through a two match final frame of Pro Stars (home) and FC London (away).
FC London would sit in second position with 40 points from 18 matches. FC London would look to make their two matches in hand on Sigma count with a fixture list of Durham (home); Toronto FC Academy (away); Sigma FC (home) and Sanjaxx Lions (home).
North Mississauga would occupy third position with 32 points from 19 matches, and would be effectively eliminated from the title race.
North Mississauga Win - If North Miss take the points, they would remain in third position in the west, but move to 35 points from 18 matches - only three points behind Sigma with a game in hand, and only five points out of FC London in first place.
North Mississauga's end of season match pattern is Windsor (home); Pro Stars (home) and Toronto FC Academy (away). North Miss would need to win all matches and look for Sigma and London to drop further points in order to overhaul the leaders to the finish line.
Draw - A draw between Sigma and North Miss will do neither side any good, leaving a very difficult set of complications in the way of their respective title hopes.
Sigma would need FC London to lose two of their final four remaining matches and beat the Southern Ontario side as well.
North Miss would still need to win all remaining matches, and both opponents to collapse completely, with the necessary variable of Sigma either winning the upcoming fixture against FC London, or creating a draw in that match.
Photo: Martin Bazyl
Saturday September 10 - North Mississauga Panthers vs Woodbridge Strikers @ Hershey Centre 2, Mississauga, 8 p.m. kickoff
**Livestream on www.league1ontario.com**
On the women’s side, the Panthers will be taking on the second-place Woodbridge Strikers, who will be playing their first match since August 14.
The Strikers are currently battling it out with FC London for first place in the women’s division, and the Southern Ontario 2016 debutante side shows no sign of letting up.
This match will be the the women Panthers' last match of the 2016 League1 Ontario season, and although they cannot win the women's title, they have had a fine run in their last five matches, going 3(W) - 1(D) - 1(L).
With their final performance, the Panthers could still have a great deal of influence on the women's title race if they were to beat or draw Woodbridge, who face a very difficult end-of-season battle for the title.
The Panthers will need to rely on the leadership and skill of 2016 League1 Ontario women's all-star Cathryn Rogers if the club wants to end their season on such a high note.
Rogers has been a key player for North Mississauga throughout the 2016 season, and she will need to be that organizing veteran presence on the day for the younger players that coach Jhon Ardila has been bringing through in the latter part of the season.
Photo: Martin Bazyl
North Miss Win - If the Panthers take this one, they will have ended their season on a high after losing to the Strikers earlier in the season 7-0.
In turn, they will have really created a tough scenario for Woodbridge, as the Strikers title hopes would be out of their hands.
The Strikers would be on 33 points from 15 matches, still three points behind FC London with 36 points from 14 matches.
Although Woodbridge Strikers would still hold the head to head tiebreaker over FC London due to their 2-0 July win over their rival, and Woodbridge and London are set to play against each other in their next match (Sept 17), London's game in hand would be mean they would only need a draw in their final match of the season versus Sanjaxx Lions to take the 2016 League1 Ontario women's title.
Woodbridge Win - North Miss will end their season, and the Strikers will return to first place in the women's division; Strikers would be equal on points (36) with London, but would edge their rivals due to the head to head tiebreaker following their July win.
The stage would be set for a title-deciding match between FC London and Woodbridge in London on September 17. If London were to lose, even a win in their final league match against Sanjaxx would not beat the head to head tiebreaker in Woodbridge's advantage.
Draw - A draw would mean North Miss is guaranteed to finish in fifth place in the women's division, and Woodbridge would face a must-win scenario in London, and need FC London to draw or lose their final match versus Sanjaxx in order for Strikers to take the title.
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