Just when Hamilton City were feeling some disappointment at the team’s low finish in the regular season standings – sixth of eight teams in the CSL First Division – the side from Steeltown finds itself with an even chance to be crowned champions of Canada’s professional league.
There were earlier signals, however, that Hamilton was underachieving and capable of a much higher standing. Results such as the 1-0 victory over York Region Shooters in a late season game on August 19 – one of only two defeats suffered by the First Division winners in their 21-game season – provided reason to consider Hamilton as a championship possibility.
A relocation of the original London City Soccer Club which launched in that city in 1973 and which changed ownership twice in recent years, brought the team to Hamilton with high level signings from Europe for some attractive home games at the Cardinal Newman ground at Stoney Creek . To reach the final, Hamilton defeated Scarborough 3-0 in the quarterfinals and York Region Shooters in a penalty kick decider in the semifinals.
“We had a difficult regular season but picked it up as we moved into the playoffs and we now look forward to the championship game at full strength and with confidence,” said Hamilton GM Kathleen Nurse.
Serbian White Eagles have also signed players from Europe and will be bidding for their second championship victory having won the title in 2008. The same organization goes back much further with a championship victory in the National Soccer League in 1974. Serbian White Eagles finished the regular season in fourth spot in the regular season standings, went on the defeat Toronto Atomic 1-0 in the quarterfinals, then FC Ukraine United 1-0 in the semifinals.
Dragan Bakoc, speaking for Serbian White Eagles, commented earlier in the week: “We are looking forward to what we expect to be a difficult game with Hamilton, a team with some very good players with experience of big games in Europe. They showed improvement toward the end of the season, but we are ready and with a good positive outlook, he said.”
CSL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL – How they got there !
York Region Shooters 5, Milton 0
Hamilton City 3, Scarborough SC 0
FC Ukraine United 3, Brantford Galaxy 0
Serbian White Eagles 1, Toronto Atomic FC 0
Serbian White Eagles 1, FC Ukraine United 0
York Region Shooters 1, Hamilton City 1 (after extra time)
(Hamilton City won 3-1 on penalty kicks)
CSL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL
Sun. Oct. 30 Birchmount Stadium 2 pm Serbian White Eagles vs Hamilton City