CPL Weekly Recap: Here’s What Went Down In Week 6
The sixth round of Canadian Premier League action saw several goal of the month contenders and plenty of set piece drama, all of which was overlaid by one key fact: with five teams finishing level on points, this is a competitive league with a lot of parity in its opening stage.
With injuries mounting as the matches begin to come thick and fast, this week saw clubs lean on developmental deals to shore up their depth options, too: Pacific FC added Luca Ricci, Cavalry brought in Markus Kaiser after it was confirmed that Fraser Aird was out long-term, and FC Edmonton added Nekhi Wright.
Without further ado, here’s what went down over the weekend:
Forge 1 – 1 Atletico Ottawa
One our big talking points ahead of this match was the fact that Atletico Ottawa had never scored against the hammers in league play, but a makeshift Forge backline featuring no natural centre-backs couldn’t keep that record going: a fantastic build-up from the visitors saw Ballou Tabla split the defenders, allowing Ollie Bassett to run in from the right flank and fire a right-footed rocket beyond Triston Henry:
The makeshift defense actually managed to limit Atletico Ottawa fairly well, reducing the visitors to just two shots on target. The home side enjoyed a hearty 67.7% of possession, but proved wasteful on the opposite end after firing just three of sixteen shots on target.
Thankfully for Forge, one of those shots on target was an audacious out-of-the-box effort from Noah Jensen, who scored his first professional goal in some style:
Both sides walked out of Tim Hortons Field with a point apiece, a fact that the visitors will be happier about than the home team. It also marked the first time Kwesi Loney took the helm for Ottleti, with Carlos Gonzalez serving a one-match suspension.
Pacific FC 2 – 1 FC Edmonton
This top-versus-bottom matchup saw Eddies head coach Alan Koch rest several of his usual starters, with his young-leaning side even featuring a bench where the average age dropped under twenty.
While FC Edmonton forced the reigning champions to a scoreless draw at home a few weeks ago, Starlight Stadium proved to be a different affair: Josh Heard loosed a tight cross through the box in the game’s tenth minute, with golden boot leader Alejandro Diaz in the right spot to prod his fifth goal of the season beyond young shotstopper Darlington Murasiranwa.
Edmonton’s trademark low block was put under plenty of pressure, especially with Pacific FC adopting a back three that allowed full-backs Nathan Mavila and Kunle Dada-Luke lots of opportunity going forward, too. Still, it wouldn’t be until the second half when FC Edmonton conceded another goal in a manner not all-too-unlike the first:
The Eddies would pull one back not long afterwards through substitute Wesley Timoteo, who had just come into the match moments earlier. A set piece opportunity saw Timoteo score with his stomach, but they all count the same.
Pacific would see out the game to procure a tight 2-1 victory over the underdog visitors, with the win seeing the Tridents rest firmly on the top spot of the table with twice as many points as the next-nearest opponent. FC Edmonton walked away with another loss in the column, though plenty of youngsters seemed to hold their own against top notch opposition.
Halifax Wanderers 2 – 2 Cavalry FC
The Halifax Wanderers will rue a result at home that they’ll feel should have been a win, but the trend of late goals stayed true in a match defined by set piece opportunities.
It was the visitors who got off the mark early, with a corner seeing Myer Bevan use his body to redirect a header from Klomp that Christian Oxner couldn’t scoop away from the net:
The Wanderers would find an equalizer through Akeem Garcia – who arguably should have earned a penalty in the match as well – with the Trinidad and Tobago international blasting home a chaotic corner that saw the ball redirected back across the box and strike the crossbar before it reached the striker.
The second half would see Halifax procure another set piece goal, and it came from the other striker stepping up in the absence of Morelli: finding himself on the end of a long corner, Samuel Salter chested down the ball before nutmegging 2019 golden glove winner Marco Carducci for the go-ahead goal:
The hosts were just one minute away from all three points when one of their own attacks broke down and Cavalry were able to earn a freekick from a counter on the right flank. The visitors made good on the last opportunity of the match with Daan Klomp scoring his first of the season and fourth for Cavalry overall:
The third-versus-fourth place clash ended with a point apiece, but for Halifax the match will certainly feel more like two points lost.
Valour 1 – 0 York United
An intense midfield battle saw little joy for either side in the first half, but the second half proved packed with drama.
Last year’s golden glove winner Jonathan Siriois would continue to be a level above in CPL action, saving his team when it conceded a penalty in the early stages of the second half. Osaze De Rosario stepped up for the spot kick, giving away his direction with a subtle look moments before the kick. Sirois read the play well, diving in the right direction to make – astoundingly – his fourth penalty save through five spot kicks in a Valour kit.
York United began to dominate the second half, with Diyaeddine Abzi striking the crossbar and the Nine Stripes ultimately procuring fourteen shots overall, though only three went on target. Against the run of play, birthday boy Sean Rea made the difference through a moment of individual brilliance: the CF Montreal loanee forced his way through a sea of York United defenders before blasting an out-of-the-box screamer into the far corner.
The moment took the wind out of York United’s sails, and the home side was able to see out a 1-0 victory. If there’s a silver lining for the Nine Stripes, it’s that Lisandro Cabrera is finally here and he got to make his debut in the game’s final minutes – though starting the day in second place and finishing it in fifth will leave the visitors with a stinging feeling.
The sixth round of action concluded with five of the league’s teams all on eight points, proving for a chaotic and congested state of affairs in terms of league standings. The only true outliers are Pacific FC with double that amount in first, and FC Edmonton at the bottom with three.
The next round of action will see two Friday night tilts as the Halifax Wanderers host Forge and York United travels to Pacific FC for the first of two straight matches (the other being in cup play), while Saturday will see Cavalry host Valour and Sunday sees the seventh round conclude with FC Edmonton returning home to play against Atletico Ottawa.