THE CSL SEASON IN RETROSPECT – Highlights of the 2019 Campaign – Part 1
PICTURE: Scarborough was a known quantity in the bid for 2019 honours, having finished third in the 2016 First Division standings and was a championship finalist in 2017 and 2018, losing by the narrowest of margins in a penalty kick shootout decider.
On May 31 at the beginning of the 2019 season FC Ukraine United scored a 3-0 victory over CSC Mississauga and on the following day FC Vorkuta, playing its second game of the new season, ran over Brantford Galaxy 6-0. It was looking like déjà vu for a new campaign being dominated by two relatively new teams that demonstrated an ability to step into the CSL First Division and scoop up most of the honours with ease. Vorkuta had opened its season with a 4-2 win over Kingsman a few days earlier.
Ukraine United midfielder Taras Kryvyy hit all three goals for a hat-trick that 3-0 win on Friday, May 31, all happening while memories were still tuned in to Ukraine United finishing on top in the 2018 season standings with both Ukraine United and Vorkuta having a nine-points clear margin over third place Waterloo. Vorkuta were also the CSL champions, having won the title in 2018.
As the season progressed, Vorkuta became unbeatable, winning its first eight games and going two months before dropping points with a 1-1 draw against Serbian White Eagles on July 20. Ukraine United showed signs of slipping with a 2-1 loss to new club Kingsman on July 5.
In the meantime, SC Waterloo GM Vojo Brisevac had signed five new players from Europe and had some confidence that his side could improve its 2018 third place finish and that Vorkuta and Ukraine United would have to face a strong challenge from at least his club as the season progressed.
Scarborough was a known quantity and an obvious contender after demonstrating a season by season improvement since entering the CSL in 2015, finishing third in the 2016 First Division standings and was a championship finalist in 2017 and 2018 – losing both games in a penalty kick decider by the narrowest of margins.
Serbian White Eagles, CSL champions in 2008 and 2016, and always likely to succeed with league and championship honours, also posed a serious challenger to Vorkuta and Ukraine United while strengthening the team with talent imported from Europe, rounded out the three teams most likely to be candidates to upset the top two during 2019.
The year-end review of the 2019 season and its highlights continue in Part 2.
PICTURE: Krum Bibishkov, now player coach and head coach of Real Mississauga of the Canadian Soccer League has played close to 350 professional games with distinction during a 20-year period, mostly in Europe where he is seen here. When Krum Bibishkov recently questioned the fairness of a league rule for teams loaning players, it was […]