July 18, 2024
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Vancouver FC Callum Irving

CPL Power Rankings Week 15: Deja Vu

By on July 25, 2023 0 1936 Views

Week after week, I think to myself, “Surely this was the best week of the CPL,” and week after week, I get proven wrong. This week was definitely not the best week of the CPL, but it brought many goals, drama and points. This means more changes to the Power Rankings, so let’s begin.

Vancouver FC Afshin Ghotbi
Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier / Vancouver FC

8th Place – Vancouver FC (-)

The sixth-minute red card to Eugene Martinez ended this match before it could even start. While there is rightfully a lot of debate over whether it should have been a red card, Vancouver ended up a man down six minutes into the match, so that was that. Vancouver suffers a 5-1 defeat at home, adding another red card in the 67th minute, sending almost all 2,000 fans home upset once again.

This season has turned into a nightmare. No one expected Vancouver to win the league, but there was a big hope that Ghotbi could create a competitive team. Now 15 weeks into the season, Vancouver sits nine points out of a playoff spot with a Goal Difference of -16. What’s worse is that the comparisons to FC Edmonton are starting to arise, and with the attendance numbers that Vancouver are pulling as of right now, it’s a scary time in Langley. I want to sit here and say that Vancouver can turn their season around and remain competitive while growing the attendance… but we all know that probably isn’t happening anytime soon. I honestly don’t see how Vancouver can salvage this season.

Vancouver faces a red-hot Forge side next week, who can score in bundles. However, in two matchups, Forge have yet to beat Vancouver, so who knows what next week brings.

Valour FC Kian Williams
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

7th Place – Valour FC (↓1)

This was as close as possible to a must-win game that Valour could have in the 15th week: a matchup against York at home for a chance to start building momentum. Well, if you want to build momentum, conceding twice in the first eight minutes of the game definitely isn’t the way to do it. Valour would respond in the 10th minute, but that was all she wrote as Valour’s continuous finishing problems extends their winless drought to 4 games.

Year after Year, it’s the same story. What needed to be a good season for Valour… scratch that, what needed to be a playoff season for Valour is quickly becoming another nightmare. Winless in four games, Valour now find themselves six points out of a playoff spot, a gap that keeps increasing weekly. The thing is, Valour play good football for the most part; however, their kryptonite is goalscoring. Valour have a league-low 13 goals in 15 weeks, with Kian Williams leading their team with three goals. Ten players have scored more goals than Valour’s top goal scorer. Ten players that represent all seven other teams. This is the reason why Valour struggles, and this is why Valour can’t win games, and this will be why Valour doesn’t make the playoffs again.

Next week Valour takes on Pacific, a team that is winless in five straight matches and hasn’t scored a goal in two games. Yet, they just mustered 21 shots against Forge. If Valour can’t pull out a result against Pacific, it might be time for a handshake line – Stanley Cup Playoffs style.

York United
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

6th Place – York United (↑1)

York’s two goals in eight minutes proved enough in a 2-1 win against Valour in Winnipeg. Ricci grabbed his first goal of the season, and DeRo added his third of the campaign. This is York’s second win in five games, and they move back into 4th place with a three point gap over sixth. Things are going great, right? Ehh, not really. York were fortunate to come away with all three points. Valour had countless chances to put the ball into the net – but as discussed, Valour are utterly incapable of doing that. If York give up this many chances against any other team, including Vancouver, they will be punished, and this was proven two games ago in their match against Forge.

Still undefeated in two games, York will be looking to start a winning streak next week when they face the Halifax Wanderers. It will be an incredibly tough match, and if I’m being frank, I don’t have much faith in York. However, if they can keep DeRo firing, and if Ricci has woken up, York suddenly becomes a dark horse. It should be a very intriguing match next week.

Pacific FC Adonijah Reid
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

5th Place – Pacific FC (-)

Five straight matches without a win. They sit in second place, but that’s also slipping away from them. I’m genuinely confused.

Once again, Pacific created countless amount of opportunities. Actually, there is a count – 21 Total shots were taken by Pacific in this game, yet none hit the back of the net. Luck doesn’t seem to be on their side week after week, but I don’t believe this can hold out for much longer. If I were a Pacific fan, I’d obviously not be happy right now, but I wouldn’t be panicking because Pacific is playing decent football.

However, if you are looking for something to be upset about, I’d focus on Pacific’s defensive game as of late. It’s been weak and unreliable, with this match against Forge being the perfect example of how that can turn a point into zero points. Baskett isn’t helping his case, but his defenders in front of him are not playing at their level. I’m interested to see if Merriman makes any lineup changes to shake up the defensive side of the game.

Next week, Pacific takes on a weak Valour side. This weak opponent provides the perfect opportunity for Pacific to break out of this groove and return to their title-contending ways. If they post 21 shots again, I have a strong feeling they won’t be walking away with zero goals next week.

Halifax Wanderers Doneil Henry
Photo Credit: James Bennett / Halifax Wanderers

4th Place – Halifax Wanderers (↓1)

Before I begin, let me get this straight Halifax fans. Halifax dropped in these Power Rankings because Forge leapfrogged both Halifax and Ottawa. If you are wondering why Ottawa remains ahead of Halifax, check the next heading. However, in terms of Halifax, they ended Ottawa’s win streak while extending their home win streak to 5 games, thanks to a 1-0 win over Ottawa. It appears that the re-scheduled game played a mental part for all players, as it was sloppy and boring at times. Halifax finished the match with seven shots and won the game off a gorgeous strike from Collomb. Halifax probably should have added more goals, but they won’t be complaining.

See Also: The Wanderers Recap – Building A Dam

So why don’t they leapfrog anyone? Well, Halifax’s scoring issues remain present after only scoring one goal again in this game. As well, Ottawa simply didn’t show up for this game, and while this isn’t Halifax’s fault, in order for them to jump Ottawa they’d have to confidently beat Ottawa or get a result against a full-strength side. Neither happened, so all Halifax does is drag Ottawa down in the rankings. Lastly, if we look at the past couple of matches, Ottawa was on a three-game win streak and a four-game undefeated streak, while Halifax was on a win one game, lose the next stretch. In fact, this win continues that stretch after losing to Cavalry last week. While it is a fantastic and meaningful result that pushes Halifax into the final playoff spot ahead of Ottawa, it gives off a temporary feel until Halifax can start putting together consistent performances.

Next week Halifax takes on York, a perfect opportunity to create consistency. If they manage to walk away with all three points, I will assure all Halifax fans that I’ll find a way to reward them in these rankings.

Atletico Ottawa Karl Ouimette
Photo Credit: James Bennett / Halifax Wanderers

3rd Place – Atletico Ottawa (↓2)

All good things have to come to an end. After a three-game win streak and a four-game undefeated streak, Ottawa put up an absolute stinker against Halifax. Perhaps the rescheduling of the game played a part, as no one on Ottawa looked prepared mentally. I could dissect this game further, but I believe you are allowed a stinker after going on a decent run like Ottawa has done.

However, this loss does come with some repercussions, as Ottawa now finds themselves outside of a playoff spot once again. They sit one point behind Halifax and three points behind York, and as mentioned, Halifax and York play each other next week, meaning that a strong rebound could push Ottawa back into a playoff spot.

Next week Ottawa faces Cavalry at home. Ottawa is currently riding a four game-home win streak, and Cavalry have five wins in six matches, with their only loss being against Ottawa a few weeks ago. Ottawa desperately needs a response after this stinker, and a massive win at home against a flaming Cavalry side could propel Ottawa into a playoff spot and maybe propel them back to the peak of these Power Rankings.

Forge FC
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

2nd Place – Forge FC (↑2)

Silently, like an assassin, Forge have crept up the standings and now find themselves in third place, one point behind first place. Forge defeated Pacific 2-0, and what really impressed me about this game was the fact Pacific scored zero goals on 21 shots – all thanks to Triston Henry. Every year, there is talk surrounding Triston Henry focused on whether he is as good as Forge fans say he is. Well, this year, he’s proving his loyal fans right as he singlehandedly carries this Forge team into another title contention.

Get To Know: Triston Henry

Forge as a whole still remain weaker than previous iterations, but they are still getting results and, as mentioned, find themselves a point off first place. With a match against Vancouver next week, almost everyone expects Forge to extend their unbeaten run to four games, but Forge has yet to beat Vancouver this season. With Cavalry on the horizon after Vancouver, a loss or draw to the Langley side could be devastating to their momentum. Just something to watch for next week.

Cavalry FC Myer Bevan
Photo Credit: James Glezos

1st Place – Cavalry FC (↑1)

First place in the CPL. First place in these Power Rankings. First place in Goals For and Goal Difference. This is why Cavalry is in first place in these rankings this week… oh, and I suppose the 5-1 thrashing over Vancouver played a part too. However, I don’t want to talk about the Vancouver game, as beating a full-strength Vancouver side is the expectation for every team in this league. Spanking a 10-men Vancouver side, now that should be a win so easy that fans begin to petition a mercy rule.

However, I want to focus on Cavlary’s recent stretch of games. Five wins in six matches. In these five wins, they have outscored their opponents 12 to 3, keeping two clean sheets. They are on an absolute tear, with Myer Bevan and Ali Musse leading the way with eight and four goals apiece. They are right in the middle of a title contention, and Cavalry fans are slowly believing that this could be the year that Tommy Wheeldon Jr. finally wins a title.

However, remember how I said Cavalry have won five from their past six? Well, the only team to beat them in this recent stretch is Atletico Ottawa. The same Atletico Ottawa side that Cavalry has a 2-1-7 record against. The same Atletico Ottawa side that put up a stinker this past week is returning home, where they are currently riding a four-game win streak at TD Place. To top this all off, Cavalry will be without Myer Bevan as he will be serving his suspension. Losing twice to Ottawa in four matches would be very annoying, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say it would be devastating. However, after Ottawa, Cavalry has a date with Forge. If these next to games don’t go their way, instead of a title race, they could be in a playoff survival race. Still, I don’t want to end this off on a low note, so I will say that this is the most impressive Cavalry side I have seen ever and looking at this season 15 weeks in, I don’t even think that earlier season Pacific could match with these surging hot Calgarians.

Now it’s time to see whether Cavalry can finally slay their demons once and for all.

Header Image Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier / Vancouver FC

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