Cavalry Clinches, Becomes CPL Regular Season Champions
Cavalry FC have officially become the 2023 CPL regular season champions after Forge bested Pacific this evening (in a wild match with fourteen substitutions, no less), with Cavalry themselves topping York United one-nil earlier today.
The results mean that Cavalry – who are top of the table with 49 points after 26 matches – now have an insurmountable seven-point lead over second place with two games left to play. They’re officially the regular season champions, and have also booked a spot in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup, too.
Domestically, they’ll now get to host a first-versus-second playoff match which, if they win, books them a ticket straight to the 2023 CPL Final. The league’s new expanded playoff format means that even if they lose that, they’ll get another chance to reach the CPL Final at a following play-in match against a lower seeded team.
Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s side have been on an absolute tear of late, winning seven of their last nine matches. They’re tied for most-goals scored in the league, while success at the opposite end sees them also having conceded the least goals out of any CPL side. All-told, the first-place regular season finishers are big favourites, though postseason hasn’t been kind to them in the past.
Of course, the club still needs to lock in a few more domestic U-21 minutes to reach the league-mandated minimum of 2,000, but with the regular season now secure we expect that won’t be a problem for the Alberta-based team.
That’s fantastic news for a club that has recruited smartly to replace the likes of young rising stars in Victor Loturi and Aribim Pepple, with this season also seeing them earn a league-record transfer with the sale of young winger Goteh Ntignee – and yet, none of those departures seem to have slowed their momentum at all.
Cavalry had finished top of the regular season table in both 2019 and 2020, before the league had introduced the concept of a regular season trophy which will now come with the same amount of prize money that the playoff winner gets. Should Cavalry ultimately win the double, the other Champions Cup berth will go to the second-place team in the regular season.
The new reigning regular season champions will see out the regular season with two home matches – one of which will surely have a nice trophy presentation – with a match against Valour coming up this Friday before the season closes against heavyweights Pacific FC on October 7.
After that, it’s all eyes forward on a win-and-you’re-in playoff bout against whoever can lock in second place – right now, that’s looking like either Forge or Pacific, both of whom have bested Cavalry in previous postseason runs. In this sort of form, however, Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s side will take some beating.
Header Image Photo Credit: John Jacques