London City hoping to earn playoff spot

MORRIS DALLA COSTA -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 7:11 AM ET

One of the top teams in the Canadian Soccer League will be in town tonight to take on London City.

Toronto Croatia, which has only one loss this CSL season to go with eight wins and four ties, will take on City at Cove Road beginning at 8:38 p.m.

Croatia is second in the International Division. They are chasing Serbian White Eagles who are 10-0-0.

For London City, every game is a big game as they look to crawl closer to a playoff spot. City is last in the National Division -- with two wins, seven losses and five ties -- six points out of the playoffs.

"They are good. They have to be competing with the White Eagles in the same division," said City coach and general manager Harry Gauss.

In the CSL, eight teams make the playoffs. Both division champions go to the semifinals. The second-place finisher in each division plays the winner of a game between the third- and fourth-place finisher.

London City has eight games to play in the regular season.

The team's playoff hopes have been buoyed by some good news. Gentjan Dervishi, who has been in Albania, has returned and will play tonight. He'll move up from his usual midfield position to the front line.

The starting goalkeeper will be Craig Boytchuk from Strathroy. It looks as if he'll be the man from here on in, with Ibrahim Hadzic likely out for the season with an injured groin.

Defender Marco Peeters is also out, with a bone bruise.

But City continues to start a number of young players. Cody Workman has been the most successful of those. The 18-year-old defender has played strongly in the back, earning himself a regular spot.

In that defence, paired with veteran Jeff Brown, is 19-year-old Matt Lammers.

There's plenty of soccer to be played at the Cove over the next week. The CSL has released the schedule for the $10,000 Open Canada Cup Tournament, held here Labour Day weekend.

London City made it to the wild-card game. They'll play Ottawa St. Anthony Aug. 26. St. Anthony is also in the Ontario Cup semifinals.

On the Friday night of Labour Day weekend, the Toronto Lynx will be making their first appearance in London. The Lynx play in the United Soccer League's First Division. London AEK Olympic has drawn the assignment of playing the Lynx in one semifinal.

The Brampton Stallions will play the winner of the wild-card game in the other semifinal. That game will be Sunday, Sept. 3.

The final is Monday, Sept. 4.

The four-team women's Canada Cup also will be held on that weekend.

"We played St. Anthony's twice before and beat them in 2003 and 2004," Gauss said. "It's going to be a good weekend. Having two London teams involved is very positive. That makes it a London party."


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