CPL Power Rankings Week 6: Add A Little Spice
This was an exciting week of the CPL, which delivered some unexpected results – further making my job tougher, but I’m up for the challenge!
8th Place – Vancouver FC
For Vancouver and everyone else in the CPL, this 0-0 draw against Forge feels like a win. Vancouver were missing 3 critical players and were still able to come away with a point on the road. However, they were out-possessed by 71% to 29% and outshot 18 to 9. We’ve seen numbers like this all season, and Vancouver have shown that they will bend but not crack – except they snapped against ATO last week with a 5-0 loss. Once again, I question how long Vancouver can sustain this form while allowing their opponents to dominate in every category.
If they can pull off results like this against Forge, Vancouver could find themselves in a playoff run. However, if the ATO game is gonna be the trend, then… it will probably be an early goodnight for the CPL’s newest expansion side.
7th Place – Atletico Ottawa
Last week, I saw a few comments suggesting that Ottawa should be higher than 6th place in these rankings due to that blowout win. I was wary and said I needed to see more. Unfortunately for me, I was right in waiting as Atletico Ottawa went back to their losing ways with a 2-0 loss to Cavalry. ATO looked awful in this game. Ottawa played their patented strategy of sitting back and soaking up pressure, but this time they could not offer anything on the counter-attack. Ottawa could only muster seven shots, with only one hitting the target. With only 36% possession, Ottawa never seemed ready to play. It was an utterly flat performance that left fans very disappointed.
Atletico Ottawa seemed to be heading on the right track after a solid performance against Forge and a vibrant 5-0 win over Vancouver; however, all momentum has vanished after this performance against Cavalry. Ottawa’s playing style has been exposed, and teams have finally learned how to beat it. If Ottawa doesn’t adapt quickly, their only chance for a Champions League spot will be through the playoffs. Their next game is against Forge at home – a matchup that doesn’t bode well for Ottawa. One has to ask, how much longer until the passionate ATO fans start voicing their displeasure in numbers?
6th Place – York United
York desperately needed a massive result, and it was delivered by the hands of some unexpected players. York were coming off two crushing 4-1 losses and were looking to get some momentum against an undefeated yet winless Halifax side. York dominated the entirety of the first half, taking the lead in the 11th minute thanks to a stunning strike from Matthew Baldisimo – his first in five CPL seasons. Alou would add another in the 31st minute, and one minute into the second half, Soumaoro would put the game to bed.
This was a refreshing performance from York. They came out of the gates hungry and played with a swagger we hadn’t seen all season. It’s still worrying that York scored three goals, and none came from their attacking front three. If the Nine Stripes want to be title contenders, they will need to start getting offence from Wright, Ricci and De Rosario. York move up two spots this week, but with Cavalry and Forge up next, I am curious to see if this result was a fluke or if the York we all anticipated in the offseason finally appeared.
5th Place – Halifax Wanderers
Entering Week 6, Halifax was excited to play their second home game of the season. Leaving Week 6, Halifax is left worrying. Halifax was undefeated coming into this game with 5 draws, and they were hoping to finally get into the win column against a York team that had yet to show up all season long. Unfortunately for Halifax, York walked into Wanderers Ground and proceeded to spank Halifax for almost the entire duration of the game. By the 46th minute, Halifax found themselves down 3-0, and that was the game.
Choosing a ranking for Halifax was difficult this week. On the one hand, this was their first loss and big stinker of the season. However, on the other hand, Halifax is the only team left with no wins and currently sit in last place. If I’m a Halifax fan, this is the only free pass I’m giving. One more loss, and the alarm bells should start to ring. Unfortunately for Halifax, their next game is against Pacific, so Halifax will probably continue to drop in these rankings.
4th Place – Cavalry FC
A therapeutic win is how Cavalry fans are describing this game. Cavalry, who were undefeated but winless in five games, were hosting Atletico Ottawa – a team that, prior to this game, had a 6-1-1 record over Cavalry and were just coming off a 5-0 win. Everyone was expecting a tough match for Cavalry, and the result surprised many. Cavalry won this match 2-0, but what was really surprising was the fashion they did it in. 64% possession and 9 shots were enough to easily breeze past an ATO side that offered zero counter-attacks.
Cavalry jump into third place in the CPL Standings, but in terms of Power Rankings, I need to see more consistency from Cavalry. This was only their first win of the season. If they continue to win games, then Cavalry will shoot up these rankings. With matches against York, Forge and Vancouver coming up, Cavalry have an excellent opportunity to build some momentum and finally get their season started.
3rd Place – Valour FC
Valour are proving to be a stubborn team to beat this season. This week they faced off against a Pacific FC side that was coming off back-to-back 4-1 wins. Although Pacific were resting some players, they looked dangerous all game long, but Valour were able to handle this pressure and responded with their own. Pacific took the lead in the 49th minute, but Valour were not discouraged and eventually responded 20 minutes later with a goal to tie the game at 1-1, which ended up being the final score.
Valour had 60% possession, and although Pacific outshot them 15 to 8, Valour had many chances to steal all three points, especially after they equalized. Drawing 1-1 with Pacific is a great result, and paired with their performance against Forge last week, Valour is proving to be a tough team to beat. However, like many teams in the league, Valour need to start winning games. Their next two matches are against Vancouver and York. If three points don’t start appearing on the board, Valour will surely drop in these rankings.
2nd Place – Forge FC
71% possession. 18 shots. 518 passes compared to 150 passes. All of this led to a 0-0 draw for Forge FC against Vancouver FC. Vancouver has done this to many teams so far this season, and it’s surprising that Forge couldn’t beat a team that had just lost 5-0 last week – but that is the beauty of this sport.
Forge may be first in the league, but they have yet to hit their stride and have looked beatable in many games. Due to how teams below them are playing, I don’t see them falling out of the top two anytime soon, but the gap between them and Pacific is widening just a smidge.
1st Place – Pacific FC
Nothing changes here as Pacific retains first place. Pacific rested a good portion of their lineup against Valour, focusing on the midweek Canadian Championship clash against the Vancouver Whitecaps. Going back to the Valour game, this was a solid away performance by Pacific, and despite getting the draw, they may feel like they should have earned all 3 points by capitalizing on their 15 shots. This wasn’t their most potent lineup, yet they still played great. If Pacific keep this up, it will be a fun season for the west coast boys.
Header Image Photo Credit: Trevor MacMillan / Halifax Wanderers