CPL Power Rankings Week 19: The Gap Is Increasing
Another weekend of Canadian Premier League football took place, with three teams claiming important wins. While the table is still incredibly close with eight rounds left to play, some sides are in impressive form…while others sure aren’t.
After this weekend’s play, here are the latest CPL Power Rankings.
8th Place: Valour FC
Once again, Valour’s scoring issues came to the forefront in their home defeat to Atletico Ottawa. While they created chances aplenty, it took a Marcello Polisi stunner for them to finally score. Outside of that, Nathan Ingham was equal to everything else.
Sitting nine points of the final playoff spot with eight games to play, Valour has scored the least number of goals at 17. The numbers simply do not look good for Phil Dos Santos’s men. If they are to sneak into the postseason for the first time ever, they need to pull off a very impressive run in order to do so.
Their next three matches are on the road to HFX Wanderers, Pacific, and York United. As they have only won one away game this season in all competitions, the next few weeks will surely decide their playoff destiny.
7th Place: Vancouver FC
Wins have been hard to come by for the CPL’s second ever expansion club. Yet, Afshin Ghotbi’s men pulled off a huge 3-2 derby win against Pacific, their first against the rival side.
The result pulls Vancouver closer to getting off the foot of the table. Just three points separate them and Valour, with both teams having eight games left. Having conceded a league-worst 38 goals at this point, there is still much to improve upon if they hope to at least not finish in last place.
The Pacific win ended a run of five games without one for Vancouver, who’s next three fixtures are against the three Ontario teams. Can they claim any points in that run? A result against York United would surely bump them up the rankings.
6th Place: York United
The Nine Stripes now have the worst form in the CPL. The last four games have seen them pick up no wins, along with a pair of 3-3 draws. Their most recent match saw them fall to the now-league leaders Cavalry 2-1 at Spruce Meadows.
Martin Nash’s side has also struggled to keep opponents from scoring against them. York is the only other side in the league (besides Vancouver FC) to concede at least 30 goals by this point of the season.
With that all said, York is still in the running for a playoff spot. Just three points separate them and HFX Wanderers, who they meet on Labour Day weekend. Before that, they battle Vancouver FC, providing them an excellent chance to finally end their winless run.
5th Place: Forge FC
Usually, we would be talking about Forge being ahead in the CPL standings. Instead, the Hammers are in fourth, and winless in three. Moreover, they have already conceded more goals than they did in the regular season last year. It seemed like yonks ago we were talking about the Hamiltonians returning to their normal selves. Instead, a 1-1 draw against the Wanderers continued to show their struggles.
The good news for the Hammers is that a win in the nation’s capital next weekend will put them in second. Beat Vancouver the following weekend, and depending on other results, Forge will be back on top of the league standings. It shows how tight the league table is. With that said, it is time to see what the defending North Star Shield winners can do to prove they are still the team to beat.
4th Place: Pacific FC
For just the second time this season, Pacific lost an away game. It will also be a painful defeat for the Tridents, as defensive errors did them in against their BC rivals. It also saw them surrender top spot in the league.
Pacific should not panic, however: they can reclaim top spot next weekend with a win over Cavalry at Spruce Meadows. Only once this season has James Merriman’s team failed to score on their travels this campaign.
Despite back-to-back losses, there is not reason to give up on Pacific yet. They have the joint-best goals against record, providing more than enough justification for them to claim the regular season title.
3rd Place: HFX Wanderers
The Wanderers continue to go from strength-to-strength, impressing in a 1-1 stalemate at Tim Hortons Field. Despite failing to hold on to the lead, it cannot take away their impressive run of late. They are scoring consistently: they have only been held off the scoresheet in one of their last 12 league games.
They are at home for their next two encounters, facing Valour and York. Two wins at Wanderers Grounds will ameliorate their chances of a playoff spot. Given their recent performances, there is no reason to believe they cannot win both matches.
2nd Place: Cavalry FC
When doing Power Rankings like these, it is sometimes you have make tough decisions. This is indeed a tough one, because in reality Cavalry deserves to be in first spot (like they are in the standings). Yet, they still have to be satisfied with second in this ranking.
A 2-1 victory over York United was enough for the Cavs to take top spot over Pacific. And, in truth, it is hard to argue against Tommy Wheeldon Jr’s team deserving that. They also have passed the Tridents regarded goals scored, further highlighting the Cav’s ability to score. The Albertans have scored multiple goals in four of their last five games.
Their next four games will not be easy though: they will face the four teams right below them in the rankings. A drop in form would be borderline ill-advised for the Cavs, who could easily slide down the rankings just easily as they reached the summit.
1st Place: Atletico Ottawa
For the second week in a row, Ottleti tops the Power Rankings. Four games unbeaten, they are starting to look like the team that topped the regular season table a year ago. A 3-1 defeat of Valour in Winnipeg saw them jump to third over Forge on games won.
The capital club is firing on all cylinders. Spearheaded by the defending CPL Player of the Year Ollie Bassett, there just seems to be no stopping them right now. In 20 games, Carlos Gonzalez’s charges have scored 32 times, just four less than they did a year ago.
Now, Forge and Cavalry come to TD Place over the next two weekends, giving us a chance to see Ottawa’s mettle against two the league’s most established teams. If they can take at least four points across the two matches, it could set them up for a second straight regular season crown.