October 25, 2012 CSL--pregame article on CSL Final (from CSL website)
MONTREAL ACADEMY AND TORONTO CROATIA A CONTRAST.......CSL Championship Final Saturday It’s Montreal Impact Academy vs. Toronto Croatia at Centennial Stadium in Etobicoke, Saturday, October 27, 2012 at 3 pm THE TEAMS Toronto Croatia won the CSL First Division in the season just ended and Montreal Impact Academy were the runners-up. CSL FIRST DIVISION -2012 GP W L T GF GA PTS 1 Toronto Croatia 22 15 1 6 57 13 51 2 Montreal Impact Academy 22 14 3 5 52 17 47 HOW THEY GOT THERE ! The top eight teams in the regular season final standings entered a quarterfinal playoff, with Toronto Croatia and Montreal Impact Academy advancing to the semifinals, then the final. The results were: Quarterfinals: Serbian White Eagles 1, SC Toronto 0 Montreal Impact Academy 2, TFC Academy 0 York Region Shooters 1, Windsor Stars 0 Toronto Croatia 2, Niagara United 0 Semifinals: Montreal Impact Academy 3, York Region Shooters 1 TorontoCroatia 4, Serbian White Eagles 0 There could not be a greater contrast to compare Montreal Impact Academy and Toronto Croatia, the two finalists in this year’s CSL Championship. Most players in the Montreal Academy team are under 21, in a team that’s been in the CSL for just three years and part of a fledgling Montreal Impact organization in their first year in Major League Soccer (MLS). Several of the academy players have been selected for one of Canada’s national youth teams and their abundant talent reflects what the future looks like for Canadian soccer on the world stage. In Saturday’s line-up for the Quebec side are midfielder Kevin Luarca, 19, and Kai Morton, 18, who were included in the Canada U-20 camp for the four-nation Marbella Cup in Spain recently, while Anthony Jackson-Hamel, 19, forward, Hugo LaPointe-Senecal, 19, have also been called by Canada. Midfielder Wandrille Lefevre and forward Mircea Ilcu have been called to the Montreal Impact Major League Soccer (MLS) team. Montreal Impact Academy are bidding on Saturday for their first major trophy. Toronto Croatia, on the other hand, has been in Canadian professional soccer for 56 years, a team of generally older players, several are seasoned in the rigours of tough semi-professional soccer that is the CSL following some years playing at a high level in Europe. The club has a storied past, including the North American Championship victory as Toronto Metros Croatia in 1976 when the team included the legendary Portuguese superstar Eusebio. Looking back on history, Toronto Croatia won the National Soccer League (NSL) championship four years running (1970 through 1973) – the NSL was a forerunner league of today’s CSL. In recent times, Toronto Croatia won the CSL title in 2004, in 2007 and again in 2011. In 2007 the Mississauga-based team won the inaugural Croatian World Championship and repeated that victory in 2011 with wins against NK Croatia Zurich (Switzerland), Dinamo Ottakring from Vienna, Croatia Berlin from Germany and Canberra of Australia. Toronto Croatia won the CSL First Division for the season just ended, they lost just one game, while conceding a remarkably low 13 goals in the 22-game campaign. Montreal Impact Academy, which finished second in the First Division standings, have won their last 11 matches, nine at the end of their regular season and two in the playoffs. Toronto Croatia captain Tonci Pirija, 32, who formerly played for Hajduk Split, NK Solin and NK Medimurje Cakovec in Croatia, also played professionally in Slovenia and Kazakhstan. He is playing his last game on Saturday for the current CSL champions. Defender Josip Bonacin, 28, has played in three European countries, midfielder Dino Buljan, 21, defender Josip Keran, forward Bozenko Lesina, 32, Tihomir Maletic, 32, a prolific striker with 13 goals in the regular season, midfielder Josip Raso, 22, Andelo Srzentic, 22, and Marin Vucemilovic-Grgic, 25, the team’s leading goalscorer with 16 in the regular season, have all played at a high level in Europe. Rosters for the two finalists are in your attachments. The CSL Championship on Saturday is preceded by the CSL Second Division Championship between SC Toronto Reserves and Brampton City Utd Reserves to kickoff at 12.30 pm. The CSL Championship between Montreal Impact Academy and Toronto Croatia is shown live by Rogers TV in Ontario Viewers should check their local listing. The Canadian soccer League would like to thank its sponsors for their generous support of this CSL Championship Day, with special mention to partners Days Inn, Rogers TV, Locust Canada (the official ball of the CSL), Toronto Sun, Olympic Trophies, Givova and Sportchek. Admission to Centennial Stadium is $25 for adults, $10 seniors and students. Family admission (2 adults, 2 youth) is $50.
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