Alliance United Claims League1 Ontario Women’s Crown
A year on from heartbreak, Alliance United has won the League1 Ontario Women’s Premier Division.
In a repeat of last year’s showpiece, Alliance managed to get the better of regular season winners NDC Ontario 2-1 after extra time. The match was played at the Ontario Soccer Centre in Vaughan.
Winning the League1 Ontario Women’s regular season, NDC ended up with a 14-3-1 record. Fittingly, NDC Ontario’s only defeat on the year came against Alliance back in July. Having received a bye to the semifinals, NDC stormed past FC London 4-0.
As for Alliance, they finished in fourth place during the regular season, obtaining a record of 10-5-3. In the quarterfinals, they defeated Woodbridge Strikers on penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time. That led the Markham/Scarborough-based side to the semifinals, where they topped the second seed Vaughan Azzurri 2-1 away.
Alliance started off the final looking the better team. They pressed NDC Ontario quite a bit, with the regular season winners struggling to create major chances. Bar set pieces, NDC did not bring much threat in the attacking third. Alliance was definitely the happier of the two sides going into the break.
That would all change just six minutes into the second half. A corner swung in by April Lantaigne found Eva Greco, who headed it past Gurleen Toor to give NDC Ontario the lead.
After the goal, NDC continued to win possession and control the game. They did create some more chances, looking more likely to score. In fact, it was not until the final five minutes of normal time did Alliance really start to push for the equalizer. They pushed NDC deeper into their own half and slowly started to create some opportunities.
Yet, just as it seemed that NDC would defend their title, Alliance found the net. In the fifth minute of injury time, a long throw was headed into the path of an onrushing Cassie Chan. She made no mistake, shooting it first-time past Zoe Markesini to level the game. Extra time would be needed to determine this season’s League1 Ontario Women’s Premier Division champion.
In the tenth minute of the first extra period, Alliance took the lead. A free kick from Jennifer Wolever found Hannah Clown, whose header beat Markesini and went in.
NDC spent the rest of extra time pushing for a second goal. Ultimately, it never came for them, as Alliance successfully ran off the clock to win the title. It is their first League1 Ontario crown, and what a way to do it.
As a result of capturing the title, Alliance United will head to Langley, BC for the League1 Canada Inter-Provincial Championship. The second edition of the event will take place next weekend at Willoughby Community Park, home of CPL side Vancouver FC.
Joining Alliance in the four-team tournament are PEF Quebec, winners of the Ligue1 Quebec regular season and playoffs; Vancouver Whitecaps Girls Elite, the league and playoff double winners in League1 BC; and Unity FC, the L1BC playoff runners-up. The semi-finals will take place on Friday, as Alliance faces off against the Whitecaps Girls Elite, and Unity meets PEF Quebec. Both the third place playoff and final will occur on Sunday.
Header Image Photo Credit: League1 Ontario