CPL Power Rankings Week 8
It appears that last week I chose the worst week possible to miss the CPL, and now I am playing catchup. But nevertheless, the Power Rankings are back!
8th Place – Vancouver FC
This brand-new derby is sure to create entertainment for years to come. After a relatively dull first matchup, this game provided a league record NINE goals in a 6-3 thriller that Pacific won. Vancouver finally showed up offensively with 14 shots, 42% possession, six corners and three goals. However, they allowed Pacific to score six times, leading to their downfall.
Every other week for Vancouver, the issue has been the lack of offence while they stay strong defensively. This week, their offence showed up, but their defence didn’t. Vancouver is a highly entertaining team to watch, but in terms of power rankings, they have yet to put together a streak of games where they show up on both sides of the ball.
7th Place – Halifax Wanderers
What started off as a promising start to the season for the Wanderers has quickly become a nightmare. This week’s loss to Atletico Ottawa leaves Halifax as the only team in the CPL without a win. Now while Halifax didn’t look terrible and, in fact, had many chances to win the game themselves, this narrative has quickly gotten old. Halifax has a big issue with scoring and finishing games. 57% possession and 14 shots, with 0 goals to show for it, is a sign of a team struggling. Andre Rampersad’s miss sums up how Halifax’s season has been going so far.
Halifax currently sit in last place with 6 points. Yet they only sit 3 points out of a playoff spot. Still, 8 weeks in and no wins to show for is an extremely worrying sign for the Wanderers. I keep thinking that they’ll finally pull through next week, but when next week arrives, it’s the same issues over and over again. Until Halifax starts earning 3 points, I don’t see them moving up these rankings.
6th Place – Atletico Ottawa
Take a breath, Ottawa fans: it finally happened. After over 290 days, Atletico Ottawa finally won a game at home against a familiar rival. Ottawa, for once, came out with attack on the mind. Hungry for the win, Ottawa was able to keep Halifax on the backfoot for decent portions of the first half but were unable to grab a goal. Halifax started attacking more in the second half and had a couple of great chances, but Ottawa held firm. Once Carlos Gonzalez used his triple change, it spelled the end of the game for Halifax as Haworth, Verhoeven, and Verhoven brought an unmatched energy that led to Ottawa grabbing two late goals.
This is the second game that Ottawa has deployed a back three. In the last match against Forge, Ottawa may have felt hard done by the way they lost. However, this week it finally paid off, and Ottawa defeated Halifax to finally bring some positive news to their raucous fanbase. Still, this is only their second win of the season, so I will need to see more before they start climbing up the standings.
5th Place – Cavalry FC
Another game where Cavalry drops points. It only took Cavalry 9 minutes to score first against Forge, but it was no surprise that Forge found a way to equalize the game in the 94th minute. This is how Cavalry’s season has gone so far: they’re unable to see out matches, and their fans at ATCO Field have especially seen some devastating bottles. Still, allowing Forge 15 shots and 59% possession usually doesn’t spell three points. It’s a shame the dropped points happened in stoppage time.
Outside of their win against Atletico Ottawa, Cavalry has a record of 1-6-1. They are a weird team to analyze this season. They will play excellent for stretches of the game but then completely shut off for other stretches. They’ve only lost once, but they also have only won once, and they find themselves in fourth place. Expect Cavalry to flip-flop in these rankings for the time being.
4th Place – Valour FC
Valour, like Cavalry, are not losing games – but they aren’t winning them either.
In their game against York, Valour dominated the entirety of the first half yet couldn’t grab the lead. They then needed to play catchup when York grabbed a go-ahead goal, and were successful thanks to a Matteo de Brienne wonderstrike. Valour pushed for the win but was unable to grab all three points despite 60% possession and 18 shots – but having only one goal scored is not a good look.
Still, compared to Cavalry or Halifax, Valour is the team most likely to succeed first. Even their loss against Forge has proven that. However, like Cavalry and Halifax, Valour will begin to fall down these rankings if wins don’t start arriving.
3rd Place – York United
Four out of six possible points this week for York United. This was an almost perfect week for York United as they beat Forge in the 93rd minute with a goal-of-the-season candidate, and then managed to turn around and pick up a hard-earned draw against a tricky Valour side.
York are reminding me of 2022 ATO: they’re comfortable with soaking up pressure but are deadly on the counterattack with many outlets up top. Despite a slow start to the season, York have zoomed up these rankings thanks to their 3-1-0 record from their past 4 games.
The Nine Stripes are on fire right now, but they have two tough tests coming up against a momentum-filled Ottawa side and a high-flying Pacific FC. Still, I have a lot to be happy about if I’m a York fan.
2nd Place – Forge FC
Everyone knows the saying ‘elite teams find ways to win’. That’s been Forge’s motto all season long and why they find themselves in first place in league standings. For power rankings, however, Forge hasn’t shown enough this season to take the top spot.
Yes, they are earning wins and draws, but the fashion they are doing so is different from the usual commanding way we are used to. This week they scraped a point with a 94th-minute winner. In their last game, they lost in the 93rd minute. The game before that, they won in the 91st minute.
Forge are a team that you can’t count out until the final whistle. However, like I have been saying, they keep opponents in matches, and eventually the luck may run out and Forge could start to slip. For now they keep chugging along and will remain in second place.
1st Place – Pacific FC
Oddly enough, despite winning 6-3, Pacific looked less sharp than usual. They left the door open for Vancouver for the majority of the game and even went into halftime tied 2-2. However, in the second half Pacific flexed their muscles and came alive, putting the game to bed.
Pacific has stumbled in the past few weeks. This win was their first win since May 14th. However, if you want to shut down any doubts about the team, a thrilling 6-3 rivalry win on the road will surely do it.
Despite still sitting in 2nd place, Pacific remains the best-looking team in the CPL. Their bench depth, paired with their relentless offence, continues to terrorize the CPL. Next week Pacific face Forge FC and all eyes will be on this match to determine the best team in the CPL.
After eight weeks the power rankings are similarly matching the CPL standings. At the top, we have two strong teams both vying for the top spot. After that, its anyone’s game week in and week out.
All I can say is that the CPL is just getting spicier and I can’t wait for the next week.