With four weekends left of the regular season, the battle for the four playoff places in League1 BC’s men’s division looks set to go right down to the wire. Six teams have a realistic shot at claiming a postseason berth, and TSS Rovers can basically clinch their spot if they can get a win in Kamloops against Rivers on Friday night.
The Rovers have their eyes on a bigger prize – clinching a second straight spot in the Canadian Championship. A first place finish in the regular seasons standings will secure that, but they will be pushed every step of the way by Victoria Highlanders and it may yet not be decided until both teams meet on the island in their last games of the regular season.
Here’s how the table is looking going into those final four weeks of action:
Here’s a team by team breakdown of how the latest action has played out:
(Please note that some of the goalscorers noted on the league website are incorrect, so may not match what we have listed here. We have meticulously gone through every game noting scorers and assists as we feel it is vitally important to have these correct for the players. We are also currently missing some of the assists as not all of the games have been uploaded onto the League’s YouTube channel. Once they are all up, we will update those stats.)
(1ST) TSS ROVERS
Last year’s L1BC champions have moved into pole position in the men’s division and have a second straight Canadian Championship berth firmly in their own hands at the moment. The Rovers have been unbeaten since our last update, recording four wins and a draw so far in June to leave them top of the table on 20 points after their first 10 matches. Their record of 6 wins, 2 draws, and 2 defeats is the same as the second placed Highlanders, but TSS’ goal difference of +17 is far superior to their long-time Victoria rivals.
Their 22 goals see them as the highest scorers in the division, while their miserly defence also leads the way with just five goals conceded and five clean sheets kept. Leading the way in the scoring stakes is last year’s L1BC Golden Boot winner Erik Edwardson with 7 goals, two ahead of Ivan Mejia on 5, followed by Massud Habibullah on 4. The Rovers only have seven players on the scoresheet all season, with a couple of new names added to the list this month including 17-year-old Kian Proctor, who got his first two goals for the team in the 5-1 win at Altitude on June 18 as he prepares for his first college season with the UFV Cascades.
Mejia leads the teams with a 7 assists, with Edwardson sitting on four. Six other players have registered one assist each.
With Swangard getting renovated, the Rovers had a home-heavy schedule to start the year. The result of that has meant that they’re going to have to do it the hard way to wrap up first place, with five straight away games to round off their regular season. With four remaining, they head to Kamloops to take on Rivers this Friday, followed by a game at UBC against Nau’tsamawt, and finishing off with island trips to Nanaimo and Victoria, the latter of which could be a winner takes all battle for top spot.
(2ND) VICTORIA HIGHLANDERS
The Highlanders have led the way at the top for much of the season, but a series of mixed results has now seen them fall to second on goal difference, although they did finish the month strong with a pair of wins and clean sheets, setting up a fascinating battle with TSS in the coming weeks.
Goals have certainly not been flowing for Steve Simonson’s side this year. Their tally of 12 is the third lowest in the league, but they have only conceded five, joint best with TSS, keeping clean sheets in half of their matches like the Rovers.
Michael Henman has continued to build on a record-breaking college season, leading the team with four goals. Jonathan Walter now has two after scoring at the weekend, with five other players on one goal apiece. Javier Sagaste leads the team with four assists.
The Highlanders have the advantage of having three of their final matches at home and the first three of those final four games are against teams outside of the playoff places, before the last day showdown with TSS.
(3RD) VANCOUVER WHITECAPS ACADEMY
The Whitecaps sit three points behind the top two on 17 points with a record of 4 wins, 5 draws, and just the one defeat. That one loss, the lowest in the league, came at the hands of the Highlanders in Victoria on June 4th. A big swing result as it’s turned out.
It’s been a bit of a mixed month for the young ‘Caps with 2 wins, 2 draws, and a defeat. They are unbeaten in four, however, and Patrick Izett’s stunning 90th minute leveller against TSS on June 21st could also prove to be a defining moment of the season for both teams.
OH. MY. WORD. 🤯
— Whitecaps FC MLS Academy (@WFCAcademy) June 22, 2023
SFU bound Michael Hennessy has been in fantastic form, leading the team with six goals and two assists, with five of those goals coming in the two matches with Altitude. The rest of the scoring has come by committee, with six different players on one goal apiece, with an own goal thrown in there as well. Koji Poon is tied with Hennessy for the team lead with two assists.
Much like TSS, the Whitecaps have had a home-heavy start to the season, with five of their last six matches on the road. Their last four games see them take on just one team in the playoff places, Unity, with their other three (against Nautsa’mawt, Harbourside, and Rivers) all against teams battling with them for a postseason berth, so it should be an exciting end for the young ‘Caps that will certainly shape how the semi-finals will look.
The Langley based side have had a very up and down season. Their last six games have seen them record a three game winless streak, where they put up 12 goals without reply, but that’s been followed by three games without a win, where they’ve only scored one goal and taken one point. They’re still very much in the playoff picture but they will need to get back to winning ways to extend their season and they only have three games left to play, while those around them have four.
Unity have the second best goalscoring record in the division with 21 goals, but look solid defensively, averaging just one goal against per game.
Victory Shumbusho leads their goalscoring charts with six, while Nick Fussell and the Powell brothers Tommy and Francis have two goals apiece. Tommy Powell also leads the team with four assists (based on the stats we currently have).
Unity hold a slender one point lead over Rivers for the fourth and final playoff place, but have played a game more. They do have two of their final three games at home, one of them against bottom side Altitude, and travel to Rivers for their penultimate match of the regular season, so their ultimate postseason fate still lies in their own hands.
Two wins and a draw in their last four matches have seen the Kamloops based side get themselves right back into the playoff picture and they sit just one point below the line right now, with one less game played than 4th placed Unity and 6th placed Nautsa’mawt.
Rivers have a very tough run-in, with three of their last four matches against teams currently sitting in the playoff spots. If they make it into the postseason they will most certainly have earned it and would be heading in as one of the most in-form teams. To do that they need to tighten up defensively as they have the second worst goals against record in the division and have only kept one clean sheet.
Ayman Sahmuddeen leads the team with three goals, while Alesandro Comita, Elijah Dos Santos, and Finn Marshall each have two.
It’s not been a great month for the UBC based side. Mike Mosher’s team managed just one win and two draws from their five matches in June, adding five points to their total and slipping out of the playoff places as a result.
Two of those games also saw Nautsa’mawt kept off the scoresheet and they are the second lowest scorers in the division with just eight goals.
Only five players have found the back of the net for the team this season, with defender Daniel Kaiser leading the way with three, followed by Ethan Gopaul on two. Logan Chung leads the team with two assists.
As tough a season as it’s been for Nautsa’mawt, it’s been an even tougher one for the new kids on the block Harbourside. The Nanaimo based side have just one win and four draws to their name from their first 10 matches and are the lowest scoring team in the division with six goals.
Their 17 goals against is the third worst in the division, but they have kept three clean sheets. The problem has been that they have been kept off the scoresheet in six of their 10 matches and five of their last seven.
Only three players have scored for Harbourside this season. Suka Behery leads the way with three, Billy Baggiopolous has two, and Charlies Purcell has one. With the assists missing from our stats from their game this month with Rivers, Noah Bilodean is the only player we have noted to have one.
Things certainly aren’t going to get any easier for the islanders as their next three games are against the top three in the league. The first of those is a tasty looking island derby at the Highlanders on Sunday. So while their own playoff hopes have gone, they can certainly play a very big part in deciding the positioning of those that do make it to the postseason.
Propping up the table are North Vancouver’s Altitude FC, but it’s not been for the lack of effort and good performances.
Altitude only have one win and two draws for their sophomore season and finish the month on a three game losing streak. Their 12 goals is the same as second placed Highlanders, but they’ve conceded 26, the worst in the league by five.
Athos Di Siqueira and Sairoob Sairoob lead the team with three goals apiece, while new addition Yigal Bruk already has two. Bruk comes to Altitude with recent experience over in Germany at U19 and second team level with Schalke. The North Shore side have desperately been looking to add an out and out striker to their squad this season, but sadly for them it’s come just too late to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Five players have one assist this season.