CPL Power Rankings Week 20: The Cavalry Looks Strong
Just seven rounds remain in the Canadian Premier League regular season. At this point, we know which sides are competing for the regular season title, the playoff spots, and even to avoid the dreaded wooden spoon.
After another four matches this past weekend, here is a look our new CPL Week 20 Power Rankings:
8th Place: Valour FC
It really is a never-ending struggle for Valour. Two weeks after an incredible come-from-behind victory at home to Cavalry, the Winnipeg-based team has fallen victim to the status quo with back-to-back losses. Their most recent 3-0 reverse at HFX Wanderers epitomizes the challenges Valour has faced.
In some respects, it is a shock they are not at the foot of the league table. While they are only three points above Vancouver FC, playoffs hopes are nearly non-existent. Twelve points separate Valour and the four teams level on 32 points.
There is little to no time to pout for Valour, as they need to go on a winning streak. A trip to Pacific is their next match, where they will have to play their best football of the season to top the Tridents.
7th Place: Vancouver FC
Unable to hold on to a lead at York Lions Stadium, VFC once again lost. However, the desire is still there from the players. The Eagles have as many wins as Valour (four), but with twelve league defeats, it still places them in the basement of the standings.
Their loss at York was their eighth away defeat of the season, a league worst. Vancouver FC has also scored just six goals on their travels, which is joint-worst alongside Valour. The numbers are dire, which was always expected from the expansion club.
Next on the agenda is a Labour Day weekend clash with Forge at home. Having already beaten the Hammers at Willoughby Community Centre, maybe lightning could strike twice for Afshin Ghotbi’s men.
6th Place: Forge FC
Anyone who watched last weekend’s game at TD Place will admit it was not the most entertaining one to watch. The other thing of note is that Forge is now on a four-game winless run, drawing their last three.
The Hammers are now fifth in the league table, despite being level with three other teams on points. Along with York, Forge has played one more game than everyone else, so there is even less time for the Hamiltonians to turn things around. Thus, they will need to do so with clarity
A trip to Vancouver FC to start September will be followed by a return to Tim Hortons Field to battle Cavalry. It is starting to become now or never for Forge if they hope to clinch the regular season title.
5th Place: York United
The Nine Stripes absolutely had to defeat Vancouver FC to keep up with the clubs above them. They did exactly that, scoring twice in about ten minutes to overturn a first-half deficit.
That win saw them pull closer to the playoff spots. The victory also allowed York United to jump one place higher in this week’s Power Rankings. More wins like this and they will surely be in the postseason.
A trip out east to HFX Wanderers will close out the Labour Day weekend play. It will not be easy for Martin Nash’s men, despite them winning the most points on the road in the CPL. Earning anything at Wanderers Grounds has to be seen as a positive thing for York, especially this late in the campaign – and especially given the number of domestic youth minutes they need to dole out.
4th Place: Pacific FC
One would think after being pipped for top spot in the table the weekend prior would result in a reaction from Pacific. Playing said team who passed them, even more reason to believe so. However, the outcome would be the same as the two games before that: a defeat.
Now losers of their last three, Pacific sits four points back of Cavalry. They remain second on games won and goal difference, but the Tridents will need to get out of this slump as soon as possible. Otherwise, it will only get worse.
Playing host to Valour next, this is a match that presents Pacific a great chance to pick up three more points. Whether they will be able to get back to winning ways after such a dire run in form, is another matter.
3rd Place: Atletico Ottawa
Finally relinquishing top spot in the Power Rankings, Atletico Ottawa continues their unbeaten run, pushing it to five. They did not do so in impressive fashion though: the 0-0 draw at home to Forge was definitely a forgettable game.
Yet, Carlos Gonzalez’s side remains third in the league with seven games to go. There is definitely no reason to panic for Ottleti, who are still on track to defend their regular season title.
Next for Ottawa is a game at home to Cavalry, which will be quite an interesting one. Ottleti dominates the head-to-head against the CPL pacesetters, leaving us with an intriguing encounter.
2nd Place: HFX Wanderers
What a change in fortune comparing to the start of the season. An impressive 3-0 home win against Valour sees Halifax continue their solid form. Their 22 goals conceded at this point is a league’s best.
Patrice Gheisar is really starting to have a legitimate shout for CPL Coach of the Year. In his rookie year as a coach in this league, he has clearly brought a clear vision for the team. It may not have started how he may have wanted, but they are really clicking now.
Next for the Wanderers will be York United at home. The last time these two met on Labour Day at Wanderers Ground we were treated to one of the greatest matches in CPL history. Can the two repeat the trick this time around?
1st Place: Cavalry FC
It is inconceivable to think that this team has not topped the Power Rankings over the last month. Bar a blip at Valour, the Cavs have been the best team this last month. Leaders in the scoring department, Tommy Wheeldon Jr’s team is full value for holding top spot.
Maybe the one negative for Cavalry is that they have lost their last two away games. Seeing they are returning to the capital next weekend, it would be high time for them to grab their fourth away success of the year.
A win will also see them maintain a four-point lead, which could increase depending on other results. There is no reason to believe that the Cavs will not continue to impress heading into the final month of the regular season.
Header Image Photo Credit: Tony Lewis / CFC Media