THE CSL SEASON IN RETROSPECT – Highlights of the 2019 Campaign- Part 2
PICTURE: Kingsman (red) earned the distinction of eliminating the 2018 CSL champions FC Vorkuta from the 2019 playoffs, a penalty kicks shocker following a 2-2 tie at the end of extra time on October 12.
With a 100 per cent record from seven victories, Vorkuta faced a big test on July 14 against Scarborough and the match met expectations. It was a tough, attractive encounter at Birchmount Stadium with both sides playing strong defensively. The only goal of the game came at 22 minutes after Vorkuta’s Serhii Ursulenko was brought down in the box and captain Liubomyr Halchuk scored from the spot. Despite the defeat, Scarborough was in second position in the standings and appeared strong enough at mid-season to be one of three teams that could break the Vorkuta/FC Ukraine dominance of the First Division.
The victory against Scarborough was Vorkuta’s eighth before losing a 100 per cent record with points dropped in the tie against Serbian White Eagles on July 20.
Ukraine United were already slipping in the standings including a surprise 2-1 defeat by Kingsman on July 5 and just one victory during August. This was not entirely a surprise to GM Vladimir Koval who had struggled to assemble the team that won the First Division in 2018. Players were held up in Europe this time around and there were early season injuries. With five defeats up to the final month of the regular season in September, Ukraine United would not one of the dominant teams despite an important late signing.
Molham Babouli, an impressive local striker, joined Ukraine United to hit four goals in his first game. It was a 5-0 victory over Brantford Galaxy on September 9 and the win moved Ukraine United from mid-table up to fourth in the standings and the team eventually made third.
CSC Mississauga was living up to an early season forecast by GM Mile Milkovic that his side would be much improved following a bottom of the season finish after entering the league in 2018. The Mississauga side was playing well in the new season and qualified for the post-season playoffs following solid victories against Serbian White Eagles, Brantford Galaxy and Kingsman during September.
Brantford Galaxy, the CSL champions in 2010 while supported at home games and at times away games by Walter Gretsky, father of Wayne Gretsky, again missed the playoffs and generally struggled to make headway in the standings. The club is owned by president Bosko Borjan, father of Canadian national team goalkeeper Milan Borjan.
Real Mississauga also missed the 2019 playoffs while at times playing attractive soccer. Expansion team Kingsman played well in its 2019 inaugural season, but faltered late following impressive wins including victory against Ukraine United on July 5. Kingsman also earned the distinction of eliminating current champions FC Vorkuta from the playoffs, a penalty kicks shocker following a tie at the end of extra time on October 12.
Waterloo ended the regular season in a flurry, winning six of its last seven games to take fourth place in the standings, Hamilton City ended the regular season winning three of its last four to finish sixth, while Serbian White Eagles slumped late to win only one of its last five games to finish fifth.
The year-end review of the 2019 season, the playoffs and Vorkuta elimination shocker continues in Part 3.
For the first season in the Canadian League FC Vorkuta, for which many Ukrainian players stand, they won the championship title.
We talked about the success of the team with FC Vorkuta general manager Denis Yanchuk. Denis is a native of Khmelnytsky, who defended the colors of Podillya, and has lived in Canada since 2010.
Club of Russian immigrants will perform in the higher league.
Oleg Lutkov, a well-known Ukrainian specialist, former mentor of Zaporizhzhya Metallurg and Kryvbas, continue his coaching career in Canada. The 50-year-old coach has headed the FC Vorkuta team.