May 19, 2024
  • May 19, 2024
Pacific FC Josh Heard James Merriman

CPL In Review: Matchweek 4 – Defining Lines

By on May 5, 2024 0 541 Views

The three Canadian Premier League matches played this week emphasized a defining line between the clubs you typically see at the top of the table…and everyone else who played: the expected favourites all recorded comfortable wins this week, and the teams who came in as underdogs all suffered equally firm losses.

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It’s worth noting that this matchweek is one game short: it was due to have a late finish tomorrow with Forge hosting Halifax for an 11:00AM schoolday special, but that game has now been delayed to August so that the Canadian Championship could step into that time slot instead.

Without further ado, here’s the Canadian Premier League’s fourth matchweek at-a-glance:

Cavalry FC Sergio Camargo David Norman Jr
Photo Credit: Tony Lewis

Cavalry FC 3 – 1 Vancouver FC
Full match recap here.

Cavalry enjoyed a comfortable win at Spruce Meadows as visitors Vancouver FC tried to experiment with a few new things but, as Felipe Vallejo called in his recap, looked off-pace for large swaths of the match. A brace from Tobias Warschewski sandwiched between a heroic one-man goal from Charlie Trafford sealed a solid night for the hosts, with Moses Dyer grabbing a late consolation for The Eagles.

Cavalry FC Quick Take: Cavalry’s attacking regiment spurred to action in a big way this week, procuring three goals in convincing fashion en route to the club’s first league win of the campaign. With both Ali Musse and Tom Field picking up knocks, however, how fit the club will be heading into its midweek Canadian Championship clash against the Vancouver Whitecaps remains to be seen.

Vancouver FC Quick Take: The club’s recipe for road games is far from ready, so it’s back to the drawing board for Afshin Ghotbi after three straight away losses in league and cup play. Now, a home match against Atletico Ottawa will prove a good test to whether the CPL’s newest team can bounce back to the heights they soared to early on.

Pacific FC Josh Heard James Merriman
Photo Credit: Sheldon Mack

Pacific FC 2 – 0 York United FC

The Tridents are still the only club yet to concede a goal in league play. James Merriman’s side enjoyed a solid showing at Starlight Stadium, with Aly Ndom proving a star-calibre addition, setting up Reon Moore for a rebound goal in the first half while fellow newcomer Andrei Tircoveanu pulled the strings to set up an insurance goal in the second half.

The Nine Stripes struggled to get the ball into the opposition half, finding it difficult to deal with Pacific’s press while still lacking a way to find goals consistently, too.

Pacific FC Quick Take: The solid win represents a trademark Pacific performance which showed the newcomers buying in to James Merriman’s tactical vision. Still yet to concede a goal in league play and with the attack starting to stretch its creative muscles, this year’s Pacific squad is finding a great rhythm.

York United Quick Take: York United struggled to get the ball out of their own half for much of the match, and as a result never looked like they’d be able to turn the tides in Trident Territory after falling behind. Molham Babouli is dropping deep, but the attack isn’t clicking when the Nine Stripes find themselves on the ball. The decision not replace striker Osaze De Rosario with anyone could prove regretful.

Atletico Ottawa Gabriel Antinoro
Photo Credit: Tim Austen

Atletico Ottawa 2 – 0 Valour FC
Full match recap here.

After Valour enduring a Canadian Championship record seven-nil thumping at Atletico Ottawa’s hands last week, a reaction was needed. It came in certain aspects, but a tough first half saw two sloppy defensive plays sink the visitors. There’s a disjoint between defense and attack for them, though an improved scoreless second half offered hope for the future. For Ottawa, it was a confident (albeit wet) night at home.

Atletico Ottawa Quick Take: The nation’s capital put in an expectedly good showing with attacking movement that Valour struggled to deal with. The defense didn’t find itself tested too heavily, so it was a good day at the office: they got what they expected out of the game. Three points, with no fuss and no drama.

Valour FC Quick Take: A painful start to the season continued at alarming pace in the first half, with the side allowing two extremely sloppy goals and goalkeeper Jonathan Viscosi coming off with an apparent hamstring injury. The second half saw a more resolute defense and, at least, shots on target…but they need to be more than ‘competitive’, and for all 90 minutes.

Forge could jump up to first with its game in hand, but for now ‘Super Club’ Atletico Ottawa take the pole position after leading the CPL’s scoring charts. With the two top teams now cracking double digits and the two bottom still at zero (though note Halifax had a bye week) there isn’t much of a middle ground between the haves and have-nots as Cavalry gets back on the saddle.

Before the fifth matchweek arrives we’ll see four teams in action for the opening legs of the Canadian Championship quarter-finals: Forge will host CF Montreal at 11:00AM on Tuesday, and ten hours later we’ll see Cavalry host Vancouver FC. The following day will see Atletico Ottawa welcome Pacific, while semi-pro upstarts CS Saint-Laurent will simultaneously play Toronto FC.

The fifth matchweek will open with two struggling sides in York United and Valour on Friday, both of whom need a confidence booster after losses in both league and cup. Saturday will see Halifax host Cavalry at a Wanderers Ground venue still awaiting a home win, while Pacific hosts Forge. The action will close out Sunday with Vancouver FC hosting the undefeated Atletico Ottawa.

Header Image Photo Credit: Sheldon Mack

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