HALIFAX, NS – The 2022 AUS Men’s Soccer Championship kicks off this weekend, with the 2021 champion Cape Breton Capers welcoming the top teams in the conference to the Cape to battle for the banner.
Last season, CBU hosted both men’s and women’s tournaments, and now the Capers look as though they’re favourites once again.
The men’s Capers took the bronze medal at last season’s U SPORTS men’s championships at Carleton. The men’s SMU Huskies, who come into the tournament seeded fourth, finished off the podium.
49 Sports takes a look at this week’s AUS matchups coming up.
MSOC Championship Predictions
The host CBU is heavily favoured to win, having won 10 of its 12 matches this season. Cian Lynch, Jamie Watson and Jose da Cunha have been playing like MVPs, while Kairo Coore and Owen Sheppard have driven the AUS’s best attack. But the three clubs following, StFX, UNB and SMU, have the ability to win big games. Whoever faces the Capers needs just one big effort to topple the defending champs. The same can be said for the Moncton Aigles Bleus and Dalhousie, who have difficult quarterfinal matchups. Here’s what I think will happen:
UNB 2-0 Dalhousie
UNB’s scoring is miles ahead of the Tigers’, while the Reds have the second-best defence in the conference (after CBU). Dalhousie has been allowing too many chances against all season, and it has burned them. Perhaps they clean that up, or keeper Aiden Rushenas puts on a clinic, which has happened on occasion. But if there aren’t major changes in Dalhousie’s defensive game, you can bet talents like Keji Adeniyi and Luke Rosettani will make them pay.
Moncton 2-1 SMU
Moncton rolls into the playoffs hot, having won four of its last six. In recent years, the Aigles Bleus have finished their season strong. SMU hasn’t done that great in the past couple of weeks, winning just once in its last five. While the Huskies’ team has been good, Sean Freeman can’t carry the scoring by himself, and the defence has shown vulnerability. Moncton’s coming into this one with a bit more confidence, so I’m going with the hot hand over the defending AUS runners-up.
- CBU 3-0 Moncton
- UNB 2-1 STFX
CBU 1-0 UNB
UNB-StFX has match-of-the-year potential should the Reds win their quarterfinal matchup. The two are completely identical in the standings, which makes sense as they are similar teams from top to bottom. They share four of the league’s top eight scorers. While UNB’s Louis-Charles Vaillancourt has dominated in the UNB goal, X’s fullbacks are among the AUS’s best groups. It’s a coin flip, but it seems UNB has an energy of sorts this season that will give them that push into the final.
CBU, as they have all year, has been playing beyond its competition lately. The Capers aren’t only winning every match but doing so comfortably, most recently dispatching Moncton. In the semis, I don’t expect much of a different result. The final’s going to be good as the winner of the other semi will ride high off beating the other. But for me, the Capers’ business-like approach at home provides the edge, as they’ve proven time and time again.
With this result, the UNB Reds and CBU Capers would advance to the U SPORTS National tournament, hopping on the plane to Kamloops, BC, looking to bring the U SPORTS banner back to Atlantic Canada.