CPL Weekly Recap: Here’s What Went Down In Week 2
After an opening weekend that brought goal of the season worthy strikes and red card drama, the second round of Canadian Premier League action brought a lot more of the same.
Before the action on the pitch unfolded came the news that the CPL’s ninth club would launch in Langley next season, with a number of CPL youngsters also travelling for Canada U-20 duty.
Without further ado, here’s what you missed in all four matches from round two of the 2022 CPL season:
FC Edmonton 1 – 1 York United
A snowy night at Clarke Stadium looked destined for a draw before the final minutes of the game exploded into chaos: York United pulled ahead after Osaze De Rosario fired in a rocket that almost outpaced the cameraman, but a never-say-die Eddies side equalized through Masta Kacher just two minutes later.
The home side would go down to ten men moments afterwards after CJ Smith exchanged blows with Diyaeddine Abzi, who was lucky to escape with just a yellow – especially with Mateo Hernandez already suspended for three more games after touching the fourth official during his ejection last week.
With the match finishing level, York United continues to lag behind its expected goals – though Argentine striker Lisandro Cabrera is expected to arrive next week to help with that. Meanwhile, a ragtag FC Edmonton squad has now come from behind twice to remain undefeated. Not bad a club in survival mode!
Atletico Ottawa 1-0 Halifax Wanderers
A much-transformed Atletico Ottawa side now sits one off the top after two straight wins, with the capital city club coming inches away from first half openers through Wright, Tabla, and Shaw, with the latter eventually netting a late winner:
While the late away loss will sting enough, the Wanderers will be more worried about a potential long-term injury to star midfielder Joao Morelli, who had to be stretchered off the pitch in added time with a knee injury that Hart stated “doesn’t look good”.
Forge FC 2-2 Cavalry FC
The league’s first fiery rivalry reignited to see both sparks and goals fly at Tim Hortons Field, with Alessandro Hojabrpour getting the party started with a worldie so good that the even the Bleacher Report hopped on the CPL train:
Cavalry – a side that has shown time and time again that it can force its way back into games – survived a penalty no-call and soon pounced on a fumbled save from Triston Henry, with Joe Mason’s experience ensuring that he popped up at the right place at the right time to capitalize:
Things went from bad to worse for the home side just a few minutes later, with Ali Musse rifling in an out-of-the-box effort to hand the visitors a one-goal lead before half-time:
Forge has always been a tough side to break down at home, though, and substitute forward David Choiniere would bring the hammers level through a sickeningly good curving shot just a few minutes before the final whistle:
The two teams who finished first and second in regular season standings last year now hold just one point apiece after two matches played, so they’ll be raring to restore the status quo next week.
Pacific FC 3 – 2 Valour FC
The highest-scoring match of the season had it all: a red card, two penalties (one saved, one not), five goals, and one goal that was called back. Marco Bustos (who else?) got the ball rolling, starting a great move that led to Manny Aparicio bagging a free header:
Valour’s away trip against the reigning champions was made even harder when substitute defender Tony Mikhael was sent off just four minutes after he replaced Diego Gutierrez midway through the first half, with a high boot catching Nathan Mavila right in the face:
Pacific talisman Marco Bustos then continued to absolutely light up the visitors, bagging another assist to help Alejandro ‘Wero’ Diaz score his second of the season. Bustos would have quite a night at home on the isle, completing 36/40 of his passes and recording three assists against his former club. It wasn’t all one-way traffic, however, with William Akio forcing an own-goal at the other end of the pitch after a speedy run down the right flank.
The first half action wasn’t even done yet, with Akio then giving away an easy penalty call back on the other side. Bustos stepped up to take it against Jonathan Sirois, but last year’s golden glove winner proved up to the task: he made the save to keep the score 3-1. In the ensuing corner, Michael Baldisimo took down the ball and fired home a close-range goal that was called back for a debatable handball.
The second half saw Bustos complete his third assist (!), setting up a charging Josh Heard for his first of the campaign and restoring a two-goal cushion for the hosts. Surely that’s a wrap for the drama, right?
Wrong! With the minutes winding down and Pacific notching a few more chances under its belt, a ten-man Valour managed to pull one back in added time after Polisi brought down Moses Dyer in the box. The New Zealander then stepped up to the spot, converting his penalty to make the scoreline 3-2 with the last touch of the match.
With that, the wildest match of the second round brought the weekend’s activities to a close. Pacific go top of the table with the win, and keep true to their attacking identity by having outscored every other club so far, too.
We’d also like to extend our condolences to Valour assistant coach Damian Rocke, who’s father passed away last week. Valour wore black armbands throughout the match in his honour.
The next round of action will see Martin Nash square up against his old club under a Friday Night Lights matchup at York Lions Stadium, with the weekend then seeing Edmonton play its first away match of the year against Forge and a coast-to-coast clash between Pacific and Halifax on Saturday before Atletico Ottawa wraps up the third round (and its three-game homestand) against Valour on Sunday.