May 20, 2024
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Valour FC Charalampos Chatzopoulos

By The Numbers: The CPL’s Opening Weekend

By on April 17, 2024 0 1541 Views

The 2024 Canadian Premier League season opened strongly, with all eight teams crashing out of the gate with gusto. The goals were plentiful, with strengths and weaknesses for each team being exposed as the first four matches got underway.

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Before the second round kicks off tomorrow, we wanted to take a look at some key numbers to look at from the league’s opening round:

Pacific FC Emil Gazdov
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

One: The Amount Of Clean Sheets Earned

Pacific goalkeeper Emil Gazdov stands alone as the sole CPL ‘keeper to earn a clean sheet over the weekend.

The 20-year-old Tridents shot-stopper put forth a good showing against Halifax, proving strong in his decision making and recording two big saves against the visitors to keep a slim margin in his team’s favour.

With the youngster believing Pacific is the perfect place for him, it’s nice to see him get off to a such a strong start – unless you’re a Halifax fan, of course.

Two: Yellows Equals A Red

It was a night to forget for Jordan Faria, who earned the first marching orders of the season after picking up two yellows from Alain Ruch. The real juice comes from the manner of his second yellow, however: having already been cautioned for a late challenge, he picked up a second yellow for simulation – a punishment the ref handed with no hesitation.

That’s a tough pill to swallow, particularly with his side crashing out to a 4-1 away loss. He can take some solace in that he wasn’t the only player cautioned for diving in that match, however, with Vancouver’s Mikael Cantave earning a slice of cheese later on.

Vancouver FC Moses Dyer
Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier / Vancouver FC

Three: The Amount Of First Half Goals

After one of football’s longest offseasons, it’s clear that players were brimming with energy when the kickoff whistle blew at long last: defenders largely held opponents at bay through to the second half, when nine of the twelve goals from the weekend were scored.

With only one quarter of the goals coming in the first half, it’ll be interesting to see if the next round sees the first blows come sooner as attacking lines find their groove.

Atletico Ottawa Kris Twardek Goal
Photo Credit: Tim Austen / Freestyle Photograph

Four: Home Team Wins

Home teams went undefeated in the opening four fixtures, with host sides Atletico Ottawa, Forge FC, Pacific FC, and Vancouver FC all recording wins over the visitors. While three of them needed comebacks results, all of them got the job done in strong fashion.

All but one of the hosts will stay in place for matchweek two, with only Forge FC switching to be a visitor – but even then, it’s not exactly a long bus ride down for a 905 Derby at York Lions Stadium.

Atletico Ottawa Manny Aparicio
Photo Credit: Tim Austen / Freestyle Photography

Seven: The Amount Of Teams Who Scored

All but one team found the back of the net in the opening weekend, with Vancouver FC quickly rising to the top of the goalscoring charts (and league table) with a four-goal salvo against Valour. Every team except Halifax found the back of the net, though the Wanderers did produce eleven shots in the box – it just wasn’t their day.

The number seven also pulls double-duty here, because it’s also Gabriel Bitar‘s all-time goal count for Vancouver FC. That makes him the team’s highest goalscorer and dethrones Shaan Hundal, who played his former side on the day and saw the transition first-hand.

Valour FC Joe Hanson
Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier

Ten: Provinces / Territories Involved

When Whitehorse’s own Joe Hanson stepped onto the pitch for Valour FC, he made history as the first player from the Yukon Territory to play in the CPL. By our count, ten Canadian provinces or territories have now seen one of their own take to the pitch in Canada’s top flight.

Hanson’s homeland is the third-least populated province or territory in Canada, with last year’s population count clocking in at about 45,000. No player from Nunavut or the Northwest Territories has featured in the league, so Hanson will forever go down as the first territory-born player to earn CPL minutes.

Last season saw Daniel Nimick become the first from Newfoundland and Labrador, while PEI could arguably bump the overall number to eleven if you count the island as the home point for Ibrahima Sanoh.

Forge FC Tristan Borges
Photo Credit: Jojo Yanjiao Qian / Forge FC

Twelve: The Goal Count After Just One Matchday

It seems first blood opened the proverbial floodgates in most of the league’s opening matches, with twelve goals pouring forth from four games. Pacific and Halifax was the stingy outlier, but everyone else had had at least three goals per game.

That’s about six times the average goals per game we’d expect to see based on the 2023 regular season numbers, though we don’t imagine teams can keep that up.

4,962: The Average Attendance

Despite some windy and chilly conditions eastwards, the Canadian Premier League recorded an average attendance just shy of 5,000 for its opening weekend. Forge was the clear outlier in attendance with 7,395, a figure over 2,000 spectators higher than the club’s average last season. Another key one is Vancouver FC, who put on a clinic with north of 4,000 fans in attendance.

This weekend will see York United embark on its first home match under new ownership, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Pasquel Brothers will be able to make gains on the league’s lowest-attended team.

The next number to watch: four. That’s how many games will take place over the next few days, though the league’s second round of action is much more split: the league will deploy one match per day from Thursday to Sunday, dipping its toes into the first two weekday matches of the season.

Header Image Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier

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