July 18, 2024
  • July 18, 2024
Vancouver FC Jeremy Zielinksi

CPL Power Rankings Week 13: Soaring Above The Rockies

By on July 11, 2023 0 1605 Views

Canada day was a week ago, yet the fireworks continue in the Canadian Premier League.

These upcoming rankings may shock a few, so I suggest you find a cozy place to sit down before continuing to read. Ready? Let’s go:

York United Molham Babouli
Photo Credit: John Jacques

8th Place – York United (↓3)

Yikes. Losing 4-0 at home to your provincial rival is not only embarrassing but also worrying when you have a record of 1-1-3 from your past five games. York United never showed up in this game. Forge dominated from the start, opening the scoring in the 25th minute. York conceded four goals this week, but it could have been more as Forge hit the post twice. York only mustered two shots on goal compared to Forge’s seven shots on goal from 19 shots total.

As mentioned, York have a record of 1-1-3 from their past five games, and to be honest with you, their win last week over Vancouver wasn’t all that convincing. After shooting up the standings, York suddenly find themselves free falling with this Forge result, acting like a Mario Kart mushroom in reverse. In fact, this Forge result encapsulated all the issues York have been having as of late: lack of finishing prowess, soft defense, and overall a team struggling with confidence. York have gone from a title race to trying to keep their heads above the water in the playoff hunt as Ottawa (6th Place) and Valour (7th Place) now only sit five points behind York with two games and one game in hand, respectively.

Next week York face a Pacific side who haven’t won a game in two matches, so you know they will be gunning for three points. They also face a Valour side that are just missing the final third confidence to match the rest of the dominant aspects of their game. Overall, this next week does not bode well for York United.

Vancouver FC Gabriel Bitar
Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier

7th Place – Vancouver FC (↑1)

Although they lost to York United last week, Vancouver showed many glimpses of what they can do if things go their way. These glimpses came to fruition this week as they knocked off a soaring Halifax side by a final tally of 2-1. I will say that both of Vancouver’s goals were on the lucky side, but they worked their butts off to be put in those positions.

Once again, Vancouver got out possessed by a large margin, but this time, they managed 11 total shots to Halifax’s 13 and matched Halifax’s shot-on-goal count with three apiece. Vancouver’s offence looked much better compared to recent weeks, and the addition of Mikael Cantave immediately bore fruits as he got the game-winning goal. On the defensive side, it was shaky, and Halifax had plenty of chances to equalize and even win the game. However, credit to Vancouver for limiting Halifax to three shots on target.

Vancouver has won two from their past four. To me, that is worthy of moving up a spot in these Power Rankings. Their offence appears to be gaining chemistry fast and could quickly start producing at a proficient rate. However, there are still many red flags defensively, and I believe this will continue to be their Achilles heel. Next week, Vancouver have a tough test against a confident Atletico Ottawa side. They have yet to beat ATO, and Ottawa is currently on a three-game home winning and clean-sheet streak. Still, crazier things have happened, and Vancouver only find themselves three points out of a playoff spot!

Forge 905 Derby Win
Photo Credit: John Jacques

6th Place – Forge FC (↑1)

This was a classic dominant Forge performance. 4-0 on the road at YLS, a Terran Campbell hat trick, two posts hit, a Triston Henry clean sheet – all against York United. York are struggling right now, as highlighted in their section. A 4-0 win is exactly what the doctor ordered for Forge FC, but at the same time, it will not influence how I see Forge. Before this match, Forge had a record of 2-1-5 from their past 8 games. A 4-0 win against a weak York team is great for morale, but I’m going to need to see whether Forge can build off this before declaring their slump is over.

Regardless, such a dominant performance like this means that Forge will move up a spot in these rankings. Next week, Forge play a tricky Valour side that has already beaten them 2-0 a month prior. If Forge can build off this York win and earn another three points, they will find themselves surging up these Power Rankings and the CPL Standings. However, for now, we acknowledge this result and await the next.

Atletico Ottawa Ruben Del Campo
Photo Credit: Matt Zambonin

5th Place – Valour FC (↓1)

Valour are lucky this game didn’t end in an embarrassing scoreline. Outshot 17 to 8 and 10 to one on Shots on goal, Valour were outclassed for a good portion of the game. However, their 60% possession tells us that there were portions of the game that Valour could have easily equalized thanks to Ottawa’s incapability to score goals. But, unfortunately, Valour was stricken with a similar curse as despite all the possession, Valour could not put a single ball past Nate Ingham, leading to a 2-0 loss that leaves Valour in 7th place.

This has been Valour’s problem all season long. They look great on and off the ball for several stretches in games, yet they can never score to show anything for it. Valour have the league’s lowest amount of goals with 11… even Vancouver has more with 13. 11 goals isn’t going to help you draw many games, let alone win games. This is Valour’s 2nd consecutive 2-0 loss, and with a date against Forge, who just scored four goals this week, Valour may find themselves dropping once again in these rankings and, worse, may start to see their playoff hopes beginning to crumble yet again.

Atletico Ottawa Attendance
Photo Credit: Matt Zambonin

4th Place – Atletico Ottawa (↑2)

The Nation’s capital is buzzing again as Ottawa wins their third consecutive home game, and extends their home shutout streak to three games, thanks to this 2-0 win over Valour.

It has been a long time since I’ve seen Ottawa attack with such fluidity and creativity. Sacko alone could have had four goals, and Ottawa could have finished this game with five or six goals. While it is slightly worrying that Ottawa continues to struggle with finishing, outshooting opponents 17-8 with 10 shots on target while at home is not something Ottawa fans are used to.

New arrivals Del Campo and Zapater had wonderful debuts. Starting with Del Campo, he brought a unique energy and playstyle to the striker position that Ottawa has yet to see in its club existence. It shouldn’t take long for him to get on the scoreboard. Zapater brought a veteran presence in the six position that helped Ottawa hold onto that 1-0 lead for the entirety of the second half. Malcolm Shaw and Luke Singh’s return from the Gold Cup brought a new level of energy to the reigning regular season champions, too.

I am not trying to be a homer, but this Ottawa team is now full of confidence and depth to really turn their season around. Despite a record of 2-1-1 from their past four games, Ottawa has played extremely well in all of them.

The club plays twice next week, first a match against a soaring Cavalry FC, followed by a home match against Vancouver FC. A four point week could help Ottawa find themselves in a playoff spot. A six-point week? That could help Ottawa find themselves in third place. Not bad for a team that started off the week in eighth.

Halifax Wanderers Mo Omar
Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier

3rd Place – Halifax Wanderers (↓1)

It’s a tough loss for Halifax, but nothing to worry about. Halifax fell to Vancouver 2-1 this past week, ending their 4-game undefeated streak. After gifting Vancouver the opening goal in the 10th minute, Halifax responded immediately, equalizing the game in the 11th minute. Micheal Cantave’s shot took a deflection off a Halifax defender’s foot, and unfortunately for Halifax, that ended up being the game-winner.

Listen, the reason we all love this beautiful game is for results like this. You are always bound to lose a game once in a while. I was impressed by Halifax’s play this week; they had 66% possession and 13 total shots. Their response to going down in the 10th minute is a sign of the mental strength of this team. This is a game where you take the positives and ignore the result.

Next week brings a clash against a Pacific FC side that hasn’t won a game in two matches. I will be looking to see if Halifax takes the game to Pacific or if they take a more cautious approach. Overall, it was a tough and annoying loss to Vancouver, but if Halifax responds against Pacific, everyone will forget about it.

Pacific FC Kunle Dada-Luke
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

2nd Place – Pacific FC (↓1)

Could these be the early signs of a Pacific slump? Maybe, but probably not. Cavalry handed Pacific their first loss since April 30 in a very entertaining game. Cavalry caught Pacific sleeping in the first half and could have walked into the locker room with a 4-0 lead instead of 2-0. However, Pacific battled back in the second half and cut the lead in half in the 72nd minute and almost equalized the game with the last kick of the match. Unluckily, they didn’t have enough magic powder and fell to Cavalry.

After drawing with ATO last week, Pacific lose to Cavalry this week. However, the result only tells part of the story, just like last week. Pacific ended up with 17 shots this week, creating enough chances to split the points. However, sometimes luck doesn’t go your way, and after winning 1-0 three games in a row, one has to question whether these past two results are just balancing the scales.

Pacific play twice this week. First, a matchup against Halifax, followed by a matchup against York. Anything less than four points, and I may have to start taking a closer look at Pacific in these rankings.

Cavalry FC Form
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

1st Place – Cavalry FC (↑2)

Finally, we have a new team in first place in these power rankings, and what a surprise! A couple weeks ago, Cavalry were in the bottom half of these rankings and, at best, were finding themselves in the middle of the pack. However, winning four of your past five games will surely jump you up these standings, and beating the first-place team on the road? Well, that’s how you end up in first place.

Cavalry have been on a tear lately, with this most recent result adding to the flames. The first-half performance from Cavalry had the workings of a title-winning side. Pacific, the best defensive team in the league, had no answers to Cavalry’s waves upon waves of attacks and were counting their lucky stars that they only ended the first half down two.

In the second half, Pacific started pushing, but Cavalry remained strong at the back, with Carducci having a standout game. Cavalry’s offence is becoming a real problem for this league, as their 20 goals are four behind Pacific for the league lead (and Pacific had a 6-3 game to inflate their goals for, too).

However, next week will be a real test for Cavalry, as they have to face Ottawa and Halifax, two young teams surging with confidence. Still, with the way Cavalry have been playing as of late, the CPL may have a new team in first place by the time you read next week’s article!

Header Image Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier

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