May 20, 2024
  • May 20, 2024
York9 Ryan Telfer Goal

The Opening Goal For Each CPL Season…So Far

By on May 15, 2024 0 561 Views

The Canadian Premier League’s sixth season saw Austin Ricci open the scoring one month ago, and the moment left us hungry to leaf through the league’s growing history book to reminisce on each player to strike first blood in all six of the Canadian Premier League seasons so far.

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Without further ado, let’s get to the recap itself, winding things back to matchday one of the Canadian Premier League:

2019: Ryan Telfer (York United)

With the stage set, the Canadian Premier League stepped into the bold unknown for its first-ever match on April 27, 2019. A record crowd of 17,611 turned up at Tim Hortons Field, though visitors York9 FC (now York United) quieted the atmosphere by scoring the league’s first-ever goal just three minutes in.

Telfer’s goal is still the quickest season-opening goal the CPL has ever seen, but it won’t be the only time York United finds a spot on this list.

2020: Dominick Zator (Cavalry FC)

Forge keeper Triston Henry endured a repeat season opener experience the following year, with a Cavalry corner kick setting up a well-placed header for Dominick Zator. First blood for 2020 took just eleven minutes, giving fans plenty of excitement at a time when the world really needed it.

It still stands as the only opening goal scored by a centre-back in the league, too.

2021: Viti Martinez (Atletico Ottawa)

2021 saw Atletico Ottawa’s sophomore season procure the longest wait for an opening goal that fans had ever seen (at least through television screens, as that year began in a bubble). A tightly contested match between FC Edmonton and Atletico Ottawa snatch a late goal through Spaniard Viti Martinez, who capitalized on a chaotic scramble in the box to blast one beyond Connor James with eight minutes to go.

FC Edmonton will felt hard-done by, especially given that Warschewki opened the scoring in the first half…before the goal was deemed offside. The final score also meant Atletico Ottawa became the first expansion team to open the league’s scoring charts.

2022: Joao Morelli (Halifax Wanderers)

The league’s third season would follow the previous trend of waiting until the second half to break the deadlock, with reigning golden boot winner Joao Morelli doing so through a penalty kick.

A sloppy challenge from Roger Thompson set up the moment, with the Brazilian maestro stepping up to send Giantsopoulos the wrong way. It was the only goal of the match, with Joao’s goal bringing three big points out east.

2023: Zachary Fernandez (Halifax Wanderers)

Halifax would ride a similar wave in 2023, though they wouldn’t take as long to strike first blood in their season opener away to Atletico Ottawa.

A tidy finish from full-back Zachary Fernandez would ensure the Wanderers opened up back-to-back CPL seasons, with the Halifax man putting the visitors in front just sixteen minutes in. Unlike last season, however, the home team would draw level to split the points in the season opener.

2024: Austin Ricci (York United)

2024 would see York United strike first blood for the first time since the league’s inaugural season. Club original Austin Ricci would make up for an earlier miss, capitalizing on an awkward punch to chest the ball down and blast a half-volley through Ingham’s near-side.

It was a spicy season opener for a team starting fresh under new ownership, but host side Atletico Ottawa would secure a 2-1 comeback instigated by none other than former York United captain Manny Aparicio.


An interesting statistic: no home side has ever scored first during a season opener, though that isn’t to say they haven’t fought back to claim the win. We’re also yet to see Forge, Pacific, Valour, or Vancouver FC do so, though out of those sides left out only Forge has featured in season openers.

While what’s next for 2025 remains to be seen, there’s still plenty of history left to be unfolded in the 2024 Canadian Premier League season. If you’re a fan of Canadian football, consider subscribing to OneSoccer, fuboTV, or Telus Optik 980 to follow along.

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