Rest Brings Rust? All Teams With First Round Byes Crash Out Of Voyageurs Cup
Each matchup from the second round of the Canadian Championship featured five goals and plenty of drama, but beyond that it seems like Cavalry FC manager Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s quote “rest brings rest” seems to have taken on a whole new league-wide meaning.
His Calgary-based side traveled to Hamilton last week and forced a 1-1 away draw with Forge FC that prompted a full-team brawl, the birth of true rivalry, and allegations of racist remarks from a member of the Forge technical team. Tuesday’s home leg would see Tommy’s side win 3-2 on aggregate in a cagey match of two halves. This victory means that the Vancouver Whitecaps will be travelling to Spruce Meadows come July.
Heading eastwards, Rob Gale’s Valour FC side had the lead against Halifax Wanderers last week before his team let a two minute lack of concentration result in two goals from Stephen Hart’s side. The home tie didn’t go much better, with Halifax Wanderers commanding the game with a 2-0 scoreline that could have been more if not for a tidy collection of saves from Tyson Farago.
Hart’s side will now go on to face Ottawa Fury, which will be a match many Canadian Premier League fans will take a keen interest in: the Fury was invited to join the CPL for its inaugural season, but snubbed the all-Canadian league in order to stay in the USL. They’ll provide tough competition for the Wanderers, having gone unbeaten since April 20.
In the last matchup of the second round, York9 FC found a bright spark on a rainy day last week to convert three headers from corner kicks, ending the first leg with a commanding 3-1 lead. It was no surprise that Jim Brennan opted for a defensive approach in last night’s away leg, with The Eddies doing all they could to try and even the scoreline. While they did win 1-0 thanks to a last-gasp goal, it wasn’t enough to turn the tide – but at least they’re scoring again.
The 3-2 aggregate victory means that York9 FC will play against the Montreal Impact in the third round of the Canadian Championship. With all three of the continuing Canadian Premier League clubs having started from the ground floor, it seems like Tommy Wheeldon Jr. was certainly on to something when he said that rest brings rust.
In any event, July will bring plenty of excitement to Canadian Premier League fans, as no side has been tested against USL or Major League Soccer opposition so far. With each remaining CPL side featuring players with MLS experience (among other interesting connections – Stephen Hart was once considered for the head coach role at the Ottawa Fury, for instance), there’ll be plenty of players hungry to prove themselves.
Fans in Saskatchewan aren’t totally left out of the action, with Joe Belan’s SK Selects side taking on the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23s in an exhibition match next month. The SK Summer Soccer Series is described as a ‘litmus test’ to see if the province can support a Canadian Premier League side, so if all things go well we might just see a Saskatchewan team progressing through the Canadian Championship in the future, too.