Quiet Confidence: Ongaro Tops CPL All-Time Goalscoring Chart
FC Edmonton’s Easton Ongaro now has a two-goal cushion as the Canadian Premier League’s all-time top goalscorer.
The 23-year-old scored his sixth of the season against Valour FC last night, which also put him in joint-second for the 2021 CPL season. He has topped the league’s all-time goalscoring chart since Saturday, when he scored a stunning solo effort against Pacific FC.
The 2021 CPL season started with Easton Ongaro, Akeem Garcia, and Tristan Borges in a three-way tie for the all-time title with thirteen goals apiece. Ongaro now has 19 CPL goals to his name, with Borges at 15 and Garcia at 14. Pacific FC talisman Marco Bustos has risen to second with 17.
This season has seen the Edmonton local score six goals in seventeen matches, contributing one assist along the way. He’s been quietly consistent in all three of FC Edmonton’s Canadian Premier League seasons, proving to be a good poacher capable of producing some great goals, too.
When we spoke to him following his return from Denmark, he noted that his experience playing abroad had taught him a lot about playing under new systems, and that he was eager to get going under head coach Alan Koch in order to have a ‘big year’ with the side.
While Ongaro has done quite well with his time on the pitch, his individual success is perhaps overshadowed by an Eddies side in the first year of a long-term rebuild: Koch stated frankly that the quality at the club was less than what he had initially hoped for, and he wasn’t shying away from embracing an underdog role this year.
The Alberta-based side finds itself second-last with just one win over the last month of play while also having crashed out of the Canadian Championship. The hardships at Clarke Stadium might explain the lack of noise surrounding the league’s all-time top goalscorer, who is just 23 years of age and didn’t come through a professional academy system, semi-professional football, or even provincial rosters.
The striker wasn’t afraid to say he developed late: “I wasn’t always six foot six,” he laughs, “Physically, I was slow, I was weak. I just didn’t have it at a young age to be part of those professional academies.”
It was only after his second year in university that Ongaro found his stride at a point which would typically have been very late in more traditional player pathways. The birth of the Canadian Premier League came at the right time, with Ongaro suggesting that there are others late bloomers like him out there.
I think there’s definitely a lot of players that are like that, because everyone is going to develop at a different stage. It’s not always going to be 14-15. I think it’s a matter of getting exposure, and I think the CPL is the perfect pathway for someone to go from university to the professional game and get that experience.Easton Ongaro
While the Eddies seem to be inching towards the right direction, Ongaro has once again found himself as a bright spark in a stadium that still has a lot of clouds over it.
He was also a highlight note for the club during last year’s winless Island Games campaign, scoring three times in the abbreviated season’s seven match run. His rookie season saw him score ten goals in 21 league appearances, contributing two assists. Certainly not bad for an athlete who was drafted by Cavalry FC in 2018 but never ultimately offered a contract.
While Ongaro’s quiet confidence has seen him reach a lofty spot in Canadian soccer history for the moment, the race for who’ll be the all-time top goalscorer at the end of the season is still wide open: Pacific’s Marco Bustos has 17 goals in 48 CPL appearances overall, 23 of which have been for the Tridents. He has scored nearly double his expected goals in both the current campaign and at the Island Games while contributing a good number of assists, too.
Another one to watch is Halifax’s Joao Morelli, who is on a blistering run of form with nine goals in thirteen appearances this season. He scored four during last year’s short season.
If Championship veteran Joe Mason sticks around, he’s scoring a goal per sixty-five minutes in league action so far, too. There’s competition aplenty from internationals in the CPL.
While Tristan Borges began the campaign tied with Ongaro as the league’s all-time top goalscorer – which is quite a feat, since he wasn’t in the CPL last season – his output of two goals and two assists from thirteen matches is much quieter than his mindblowing golden boot campaign in 2019.
Akeem Garcia has also struggled to replicate his previous CPL form, following a golden-boot winning six goals last season with just one goal in 12 appearances this year. As Ongaro and Bustos are showing, it’s consistency that is key.
The prospect of a tight race for the all-time goalscoring title hadn’t bothered Ongaro ahead of the campaign, who told us that his job was simply to score goals and that’s all he intended to do. Full stop.
With just under half of the season left to go, it’ll be interesting to see how things unfold for the six-foot-six Canadian: he’s acquired a taste for Europe after his loan to Vendsyssel FF, and he hopes to use his CPL form to springboard himself to the continent one day.
For the moment, however, he looks well on track to make the best of his time in the CPL.