CPL Power Rankings Week 12: Canada Day Pitchside Fireworks
Canada Day long weekend provided many Canadians a chance to kick back relax and enjoy a well-deserved rest. For the CPL, it provided another week full of excitement and shock – leading to a few changes in this Week’s Power Rankings. Ready? Let’s begin.
8th Place – Vancouver FC
Surprisingly, Vancouver were a bit unlucky to come away from this game with no points. The club wanted to put on a show for their home fans and desperately needed a fast start. However, York had other plans and opened the scoring in the fourth minute. Not to be discouraged, Vancouver responded two minutes later, equalizing the game at one-all. De Rosario eventually grabbed the winner for York in the eleven minutes from time, leaving Vancouver with no points and a second straight loss.
This was one of the better performances for Vancouver. There has been a lot of roster movement for the Langley side, and many fans were wondering what the reaction would be from this team.
Overall, this was a much more positive game from Vancouver: despite only having 39% possession, they mustered 13 shots and had a handful of chances near the end of the game to equalize. Alas, this is their fifth loss in six games, meaning there won’t be any movement in either the CPL Standings or these Power Rankings. This game did give a glimmer of hope, so it will be interesting to see whether Vancouver can build off of this next week.
7th Place – Forge FC
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The woes continue for the reigning CPL Champions, this time as they fall to Halifax 2-1 in an entertaining match.
Halifax came out the gates running and were rewarded with a 25th minute goal. They kept Forge on the backfoot for the entire first half and Forge were unable to create any opportunities. Come the second half, Forge made a few substitutions that changed the momentum of the game, and started creating many chances – and were finally rewarded in the 88th minute with a Kyle Bekker golazo. It looked like Forge would yet again squeak away with a point until Triston Henry gave up a penalty in the 10th minute of stoppage time, which Nimick put away to give Halifax all three points.
It’s the same old problems for Forge week after week. They once again dominated in all the statistical categories, including a staggering 16 shots, but they had nothing to show for it. They were on the backfoot for the first 45 minutes and didn’t have enough time to completely flip momentum.
It is wild to see Forge at seventh in these power rankings, but in their past eight games, Forge has a record of 2-1-5, with their only two wins coming against Ottawa, n games that they were arguably lucky not to lose, let alone come away with all three points.
Forge have conceded the first goal in seven straight matches, and despite dominating the statistical categories every single week, they have nothing to show for it. We have never seen Forge have a run of play like this and if Bobby is unable to get his team’s act together, Forge could find themselves as low as sixth place next week. Forge are no longer the favourites in the league (for now) and in my opinion, they are there for the taking by any team, including Vancouver.
6th Place – Atletico Ottawa
Things are looking slightly better for Ottawa. Out of all the teams, Ottawa were the ones to halt Pacific’s four game winning streak – and it was no easy task. Salter opened up the scoring for Ottawa in the 19th minute, but they wouldn’t bring the lead into the locker room as Pacific equalized in the fifth minute of first-half stoppage time. Things quickly became worse as four minutes into the second half, Sellouf scored an Olimpico to give Pacific the lead. Still, Ottawa responded brightly and earned a penalty in the 53rd minute, which Bassett put away cleanly. The last wrench in the game happened in the 84th minute, when Espejo pulled down Daniels on a breakaway to give Pacific a potential game winning penalty. Thanks to Nate Ingham’s heroics, Ottawa walked away from this game with a point.
Ottawa got out-possessed 68% to 32%, outshot 13 to 3, and were dominated in the corner kick opportunities by a staggering 10 to 2 – yet they they still came out with a point. For a struggling side, this is a massive result that can potentially turn their season around if they can capitalize on it. With Ottawa’s two newest signings eligible to play next week, Ottawa’s match vs Valour has quickly turned into a must-win game for the rojiblancos if they want a chance at a playoff berth.
5th Place – York United
Some may say York were lucky to get all three points, some may say York were unlucky to not get three goals. In a back-and-forth game vs Vancouver, York eventually did come away with all three points, but they suddenly look like a team that is very beatable.
Wins against Vancouver don’t mean anything to me. How you play against Vancouver is more important – and Vancouver were very much in this game. Despite outpossessing Vancouver 61% to 39%, York only outshot Vancouver 17 to 13, leaving the door wide open for Vancouver to potentially equalize the game.
Since ending their unbeaten run against Pacific, York have crashed back down to earth and have looked mortal. They are still having issues with goal scoring, and defensively York have been soft as of late. Next week’s match against Forge is a massive one that can either send York spiraling or get them back up on their feet.
4th Place – Valour FC
From second to fourth place, but that’s how she blows in these rankings. A two-nil loss to Cavalry is where we stand, though the scoreline doesn’t tell the complete story. Valour outpossessed Cavalry 58% to 42% and outshot the Cavs 15 – 8, yet weren’t able to put the ball in the net.
Valour’s inconsistency shines this week, as they continue their pattern of one win, one loss. This technically means that next week Valour are due for a win, but if they can’t solve their finishing problems (shutout three times in five games), Valour may find themselves slipping down these rankings yet again.
3rd Place – Cavalry FC
Cavalry are low key on a roll right now. This is their third win in four games, and first clean sheet since their victory over Ottawa back in May. Despite being beaten in the statistical categories, Cavalry played a perfect road game, soaking up Valour’s chances and responding with quick counter attacks. Having the lead after six minutes does help, but overall in their recent stretch of games, Cavalry have been slowly turning their season around. Next week provides a difficult test against Pacific, a team that is annoyed with their draw from this week. But if Cavalry can pull off a result, they could find themselves in a first place race.
2nd Place – Halifax Wanderers
Everything is going their way. This match followed the exact blueprint as the last Halifax vs Forge game, even to the point of Forge equalizing late. Yet, Halifax were able to get all three points thanks to a 100th minute penalty.
I was impressed by Halifax in this game: they looked comfortable on and off the ball, and created a numerous amount of dangerous scoring chances, while keeping Forge at Bay. This is their third win in four matches, and with a game against Vancouver coming up they have a good chance of building an unstoppable amount of momentum ahead of their match against Pacific.
1st Place – Pacific FC
Winning streaks have to end somewhere. Pacific should have extended their streak to five, but football had other plans for the island side. If I’m a Pacific fan, I’m a little annoyed but there’s nothing to worry about from this performance. 68% possession and 13 shots shows that Pacific were their usual selves in this game.
Ironically, Pacific has a pretty bad home record against Ottawa. There’s always that one team that you can never beat. Overall, Pacific still look the most dangerous and a draw against Ottawa isn’t the end of the world. However, they will be turning their focus to Cavalry in a match that will be a true test to both teams.