And The More things Change… The More The Stay The Same…
So the more that things change in sports, the more that that they stay the same. Well maybe…
Five weeks into the U Sports season (4 weeks of rankings), we are starting to see the usual suspects creep into some familiar spots in the U Sports Men’s Soccer Rankings. And besides, what fun would it be if all we had was the same old, same old all the time with almost no changes as everyone tries to position themselves for those 8 spots on the trip November 10 – 13 at Hillside Stadium in Kamloops, BC.
So let’s sit back and relax and enjoy the ride and let’s see where we are at.
In the OUA, it was just a “Ho hum” weekend for the nation’s number 1 team, the York University Lions as they put on another dominating performance in the back half of a weekend doubleheader against the Algoma Thunderbirds at York Lions Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Lions showed why they’re the top-ranked team in the nation, as they throttled the Thunderbirds 12-1. York improves their record to 7-0-1, upholding their undefeated streak at eight, as they continue to lead the OUA West table.
Coach Carm Issaco’s Lions just keep motoring along at the top of the OUA and appear to be on a mission to take home the Sam Davidson Memorial in just over a month’s time in Kamloops, BC at everyone else’s expense .
The number 4 Carleton Ravens, were idle this past weekend, giving them an opportunity to rest and recover some of their bumps and bruises that they have incurred over the first five weeks. The last outing for Coach Kwesi Loney’s men was at U of T where they played to a 0 – 0 draw. The second of the season against the same Varsity Blues. But this Friday, things will happen one way or another when the Ontario Ridgebacks come to visit the banks of the canal before they drain it for the winter.
Speaking of the Ridgebacks, this week, the number 6 Ontario Tech Ridgebacks (7-1-0) are the biggest movers in U SPORTS rankings. Following a 4-0 victory at Vaso’s Field over Laurentian, the Ridgebacks moved up three positions. The Ridgebacks continue to be all smiles even with a loss to the Toronto Metropolitan University Bold back on Sunday September 25th. Coach Ramin Mohammadi’s hard work has paid off surrounding attacking midfielder Chris Campoli with a group of seasoned veterans in Jordan Melo and Jacob Begley to name a few, and with a strong recruiting class is looking to give the men’s team their first provincial championship in their history.
The fourth team from the OUA is the 2021 Bronze medal game participants and reigning OUA Men’s Soccer Champion, Guelph Gryphons.
The Gryphons men’s soccer team moves up a spot in the national rankings to number 7 after taking four out of six points this past weekend. Coach Keith Mason’s aforementioned defending OUA champion Gryphons made a statement on Friday night at home, defeating the OUA West-leading Western Mustangs 3-0 at the Gryphon Soccer Complex. On Sunday, October 2nd, it was off to the University of Waterloo, where the Gryphons found themselves trailing 3-0 before storming back with three goals of their own to earn a hard-fought point on the road.
Just three games remain in the Gryphons regular season schedule, with Guelph off this week for Thanksgiving weekend. The Gryphons are currently 4-1-4 (wins-losses-draws) on the season and sit 4th in the crowded OUA West Standings. The Gryphons men’s soccer team will return to the pitch on Friday, October 14 when they host the Brock Badgers in the first half of a home-and-home series.
New name, same winning attitude at Toronto Metropolitan University.
Coach Filipe Prostran’s Bold, are seeded at number 8 after three consecutive wins by a combined score of 23-1 over Ontario Tech (1-0), RMC (15-0) and Queens (7-1). After a bit of a slow start Coach Prostran has his men’s team hitting stride at the right time. They get a stiff test against second place OUA East U of T Thursday evening at home, and then the return match Saturday at Varsity.
In the RSEQ, the 2021 U SPORTS Men’s Soccer Champions, number 3 Montreal Carabins (5-1-2), move up two positions to crack the U SPORTS men’s soccer top three rankings for the first time in the 2022 season. Despite scoring an “own goal”, Coach Pat Raimondo’s RSEQ leaders defeated the Laval Rouge et Or (3-1) at Vincent-D’indy in Montreal, Que., on Sunday to claim a new spot in the rankings.
Les Blues are sitting firmly at the top of the RSEQ standings with 17 points in eight games and they find themselves just ahead of the Citadins de l’UQAM who are down two points with the same number of games played.
Third-year midfielder and Carabins captain Quentin Paumier earned double MVP honors after scoring game-winning goals on Friday and Sunday.
In the AUS, the number 2 ranked Cape Breton Capers maintained their firm position behind the number 1 York Lions.
A 2-0 win over the Acadeia Axemen on Friday night in Wolfville, NS, Coach Deano Morley’s Capers took charge early and never really left the match and their ranking in doubt.
Kairo Coore (Whitby, Ont.) scored the eventual game-winner 16 minutes into the opening half from the top of the 18-yard box to the bottom corner of the net past first-year keeper Dylan Legere (Upper Tantallon, N.S.).a
Cian Lynch (Dublin, IRE) closed out the first half with a goal in the 45th minute. Lynch was able to catch an out-of-position Legere with a high shot that caught the net under the crossbar.
Lynch was named the Subway AUS Player of the game for his one goal and an assist in the effort to help give the Capers their fourth win in a row and a 4-0-1 record.
Cape Breton landed seven shots on goal compared to Acadia’s two. The Capers led the Axemen 14-5 on taken shots. Daniel Clarke (Milton Keynes, ENG) posted the shutout for the win.
The hard-fought feisty game had 10 yellow cards issued.
Michael Osoria (Coquitlam, B.C.), who returned from playing for the Philippines’ U20 National Team, was named the Acadia Player of the Game for his effort and one of two Acadia shots on goal.
The Capers improve to 4-0-1, while the Axemen are still searching for their first win with a 0-3-1 record.
Coach Graham Kennedy’s number 9 ranked STFX X-Men defeated the Memorial Sea-Hawks 3-1 on Sunday afternoon at King George V stadium in Atlantic University Sport (AUS) men’s soccer action. The X-Men avenged a 2-1 loss to the same Sea-Hawks squad on Saturday, coming away with a weekend split of games and undoubtedly is what affected this week’s national ranking change in position.
Next up is a clash between the two nationally ranked teams in a home date for the Capers on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 7:15 p.m.
In Canada West, this has been a bit of a different year with the number 5 Mount Royal Cougars higher up in the rankings over perennial Canada West representatives Coach Mike Mosher’s UBC Thunderbirds who remain at number 10 this week in the U Sports Men’s Soccer poll.
Coach Ryan Gyaki’s Mount Royal Cougars team has been ranked number 5 overall in the U SPORTS Top 10 Rankings and continues the team’s streak of being nationally ranked within the top five teams across U SPORTS competition for three consecutive weeks.
With only a single game on their schedule this weekend, the Cougars travelled up Crowchild to the University of Calgary to play the Dinos on Saturday, Oct. 1. The Cougars claimed a 1-0 win over the Dinos after a tough game between the two teams on Dinosaur Field. The Cougars’ regular season record now sits at 8-0-2 and continues to lead the Prairie division in the first overall position.
Coming up the Cougars have a bye week before preparing for a return to the field when they head to Saskatchewan to face the Huskies on Friday, October 14th.
For the Thunderbirds, they opened the campaign with a loss to Pacific Division leading Thompson Rivers, but have been able to sit firmly in second after another loss to the aforementioned Mount Royal Cougars (1-0) on September 17th.
But this past weekend despite coming out strong and generating numerous chances among their 15 shots on target, the UBC Thunderbirds were held to a 0-0 draw against the stingy UNBC Timberwolves on Saturday night at Thunderbird Stadium.
This followed a tight 2-1 loss on Friday night, their third of the season, the Thunderbirds at home came out flying and hungry with several chances coming at the at start of the game, but were unable to capitalize. Coach Mosher’s men may be struggling at times this season, but you do not ever count out a champion. Given that his teams have won the last 4 Canada West Championships, UBC is not done, until they are actually done.
The top 10 looks pretty solid, but with obvious “take away” of five OUA teams in the the rankings, “the look” of the rankings, are going to change as early as next week. There are a number of “head to heads” this weekend in the AUS and in Ontario, so let’s see how things shake out after Thanksgiving. The next 5 weeks are going to be fun to watch for that eventual trip to Kamloops, BC for seven groups of visitors.