Soccer spectacular set
The scene is set for two playoff semi-finals to be played at Esther Shiner Stadium this coming Saturday, with the opening between Toronto Croatia and Italia Shooters at 1 p.m. and the second game between Serbian White Eagles and Windsor Border Stars scheduled for 5pm.
Toronto Croatia advanced to the semi-finals with a 1-0 victory over Laval Dynamites and Italia Shooters qualified for a semi-final playoff berth following the forfeiture of the quarter-final game by Brampton Stallions following the postponement of the game with Italia last Sunday.
Serbian White Eagles defeated Toronto Supra Portuguese 3-0 to earn their semi-final berth and the Border Stars overcame Oakville Blue Devils, 2-1, in their quarter-final playoff.
Serbian White Eagles are considered favourites to win their semi-final and the CSL Championship following an outstanding inaugural season during which they lost just one of 22 league games and they have conceded just one goal in their last eight games. An attractive team to watch, the Eagles have a potent attack in strikers Gabriel Pop and Sasa Viciknez who account for 23 goals apiece in the 2006 campaign. Viciknez is one of nine professionals brought here from Europe to join head coach, former Yugoslavian international, the legendary Dragoslav Sekularac in the club's bid for CSL honours.
Toronto Croatia have also been impressive this season, they lost just three games in the regular season and a highlight of the year was the Mississauga-based team’s victory in the North American Championship for Croatian teams in Florida last month. It’s Toronto Croatia’s 50th anniversary in Canadian professional soccer and a CSL Championship victory would be just the ticket and something to write home about.
Italia Shooters are in their inaugural year in the International Division, a team derived from last year’s Vaughan Shooters which developed a reputation for quick, attractive soccer that deserved its share of major honours but suffered championship losses in succession in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The team has not lost its lustre, however, and is considered a real possibility to succeed in the upcoming games.
Windsor Border Stars emerge in the semi-finals a bit unexpectedly until fans are reminded of the team’s strong showing since joining the league three years ago including two Open Canada Cup Final wins in succession. The team also won the American Indoor Soccer League (AISL) title on their first attempt in 2005, to stamp the team as being capable of anything that comes along.
The semi-finals this Saturday are expected to provide some of the more spectacular soccer on display since the Canadian Soccer League kicked off last May 19.
Admission to Esther Shiner Stadium on Saturday is12 noon with the following ticket prices:
|SENIORS: (66 & UP)
|TEENAGERS: (14 TO 19):
|YOUTHS (13 & UNDER):