May 19, 2024
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Pacific FC Kunle Dada-Luke

CPL In Review: Matchweek 2 – A Clear Divide

By on April 22, 2024 0 875 Views

The second round of Canadian Premier League action saw some repeat trends, like teams who won in the first week not losing in the second. That’s led to a strong top half of the table, while at the bottom half…all but one side has zero points.

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The second matchweek featured one game a day from Thursday-Sunday, but if you didn’t have time to take it all in we’ve got you covered:

Vancouver FC Goal
Photo Credit: Beau Chevalier

Vancouver FC 2-0 Halifax Wanderers
Full recap here. (and a Wanderers-focused lens, too)

Vancouver’s perfect start to the season continued with a controlled performance over Halifax, with the hosts able to make the visitors pay for individual mistakes: capitalizing on JGL’s shocking header back to his own keeper in a crowded box, Rocco Romeo put the Eagles one-up before a second half giveaway from Dan Nimick allowed Dyer to dance in the box, with his shot pinging off the post but landed at the feet of a ready Wero Diaz.

Vancouver FC Quick Take: Vancouver has matured greatly this offseason and has emerged with an organized defensive line and a Bitar-backed midfield that, when coupled with Dyer and Diaz up top, are very fun to watch. It’s a sterling start for the top-of-the-table Langley crew.

Halifax Wanderers Quick Take: There were issues at both ends of the pitch for the Wanderers, who have once again started the season slowly. It was ‘one of those nights’: just 15% of shots went on target, and there were a lot of individual mistakes. A home crowd could be the recipe after a cold open on the road.

Pacific FC Kunle Dada-Luke
Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League

Pacific FC 2 – 0 Valour FC
Editorial coverage here.

The Tridents secured back-to-back home victories in a tale of two halves: visiting Valour FC put forth a strong showing to keep things level in the first 45, but some sharp substitutions by James Merriman saw the Tridents take control of the latter 45: Josh Heard bagged the opener just two minutes into the second half, with Sean Young – who was celebrating his one hundredth appearance – finished the match off in the 78th.

Pacific FC Quick Take: This match was won by James Merriman’s half-time substitutions: Cedric Toussaint, Kunle Dada-Luke, and Josh Heard made a world of difference after a fairly even first half, while young goalkeeper Emil Gazdov produced some decisive moments to continue his own strong start, too.

Valour FC Quick Take: Phillip Dos Santos said his team needed to put in full ninety minute shifts, and he was right: after enjoying a much-better defensive performance in the first half, the lack of depth showed in the second as Pacific took control. Five yellows shows they just couldn’t hang on through a tough night in Trident Territory.

Atletico Ottawa Amer Didic
Photo Credit: Matt Zambonin / Freestyle Photography

Atletico Ottawa 1 – 1 Cavalry FC

This match between two CPL heavyweights saw near-goals aplenty in both the opening stanza and late-game, with a slower middle segment seeing Atletico Ottawa’s star power shine through one again. Amer Didic’s set piece prowess looked to have locked in three points for Atletico Ottawa, but a freak own goal from Kris Twardek salvaged the visitors a point – and it’s hard to say they didn’t deserve it, having tripled the hosts’ expected goals.

Atletico Ottawa Quick Take: This felt like a classic Ottleti match in terms of suffering a bit, with the hosts having less possession and, thusly, a lot less scoring opportunities to boot. Still, they made good on one of their only two on-target goal attempts and nearly took all three points as a result.

Cavalry FC Quick Take: Recording an xG of 1.53 (to Atletico Ottawa’s 0.52), the visitors will be hard done-by to not only not have gotten a win, but to have barely eked out a draw. Despite coming out of its opening two matches with just one point, there are still no alarm bells here – this Cavalry regiment will rally.

Forge FC David Choiniere
Photo Credit: John Jacques

York United 0 – 3 Forge FC
Full recap here.

The Nines Stripes’ first match under new ownership saw a five-year attendance high of 2,654…who all watched as Forge hammered the hosts three-nil in a match that really got away from YUFC, who conceded at the cusp of half-time and never really recovered. That debatable third Forge goal aside, this was a match the reigning champions never looked like losing.

York United Quick Take: The Nine Stripes started the game well, but never recovered from going down just before the break. Nash wants his side to show more urgency and improve its overall home record, and out-injured additions like Frank Sturing and Juan Cordova certainly felt missed here.

Forge FC Quick Take: A lethal attacking force of David Choiniere, Beni Badibanga, Terran Campbell, and Tristan Borges is a recipe worth heading back to as Forge continues its perfect start to the season. Kalongo looks good in net, too.

The league table shows a clear divide: the top half has the early winning formula, and the bottom half doesn’t. The west coast is looking strong here, too.

Flashback: Here’s What Matchweek 1 Looked Like

The third matchweek will see York United enjoy a Friday night under the lights affair against Vancouver FC, who will have some tired legs after playing a midweek Canadian Championship match just three days beforehand. Saturday sees a double-header starting with Halifax’s home opener against Atletico Ottawa, while Forge hosts Valour later on. The third round of action will conclude on Sunday as Cavalry FC (who play Vancouver in that midweek cup match) enjoys a home crowd against Pacific.

Header Image Photo Credit: Sheldon Mack / Pacific FC

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