CPL Power Rankings Week 21: Title Race Decided?
The CPL might be the most entertaining league in North America at this moment. The title race and playoff race is reaching its end. See how this week’s results impacted our Power Rankings!
8th Place – Vancouver FC
It was another night to forget for Vancouver. This was practically shooting practice for Forge as Vancouver could have ended up concerning anywhere between six to eight goals. Vancouver’s defensive woes continues as they gave up a hat-trick to Wooebens Pacius and conceded 13 shots (counting the post) and four big chances.
Vancouver isn’t mathematically eliminated from playoff contention just yet, but sitting 15 points out with six matches left to go, Vancouver’s goal should be to earn four more points to get them on 21 points on the season. Why is this relevant? Well because Edmonton holds the record for the least amount of points in a season in CPL history with 20. Vancouver currently sit at 17 and I don’t believe they deserve to hold this unwanted record.
7th Place – Valour FC
Similar to Vancouver, Valour’s loss this week doesn’t officially eliminate them from playoff contention but this result definitely puts them on death’s bed. Valour fought well in this game, but as per the rest of the season, they just don’t seem to have the talent or chemistry to compete. Pacific deservedly won all three points thanks to a winner in the 85th winner. Valour conceded 16 shots while only managing five of their own. Matteo de Brienne leveled the game for Valour, but that alone shows the dire straight that Valour has been in all season long. With six matches left, Valour still have the least amount of goals scored in the league and have the second worst GD with -12.
As mentioned, Valour isn’t officially eliminated just yet, but sitting 12 points out with six games left… they would need at least four wins to get levelled on points with what York United currently have in the fifth spot. The problem? Valour only have four wins all season.
If I’m Valour I’m less focused on playoffs and more focused on making sure I don’t tie Edmonton’s record for the least amount of points in a single season.
6th Place – Forge FC
I sound like a broken record right now but wins against Vancouver will never impress me. Yes, Forge ended their four-match winless drought and yes Forge’s offence looked terrifying all match long with a Woobens hat-trick capping the day off. But at the end of the day, it was against a Vancouver team who has 17 points all season.
In the big picture, you need to go back to July 21 to see the last time Forge beat a team that wasn’t Vancouver. In fact, the last time Forge beat Vancouver, they entered this very four-match winless drought. Forge may have a three point cushion over Ottawa, York and Halifax, but having played a game more, Forge will desperately need a result against Cavalry next match.
If they manage this, not only will they be sitting pretty in the CPL Standings, but they will also climb up these power rankings as a team to fear heading into the last five games of the season.
5th Place – Halifax Wanderers
Halifax lost a crucial six-pointer to York. Halifax had the chance to move up to joint second place with 35 points, but thanks to this loss, Halifax instead drops out of a playoff spot into sixth place, staying level with Ottawa and York on 32 points.
York wanted the win more, and this is a worrying sign for Halifax. With six matches left, all teams will need to be hyper-focused and ready to fight for the points. With how close the table is, if a team isn’t prepared, they will face severe consequences. In their past five games, Halifax have a record of 2-1-2, with their two wins coming against Valour and Vancouver. Halifax seem to be falling back to earth at the worst time and this loss at home provides opponents more courage and faith by showing that the Wanderers Ground is potentially vulnerable.
However, the worst part about all of this for Halifax, is the fact they need 854 U-21 minutes from their last six matches in order to even be eligible for the playoffs. With all of this context, Halifax fans have every right to start getting nervous.
4th Place – York United
York are heating up at the perfect time. After earning a 2-1 win over Vancouver last week, York walked into Wanderers Ground and came away with all three points, propelling themselves into the last playoff spot over Halifax. All season long, York have shown flashes of the playoff team we all thought they were going to be. However, lack of consistency was their plague.
But with five matches left and currently riding a two-game win streak, York could end up making a late push to solidify their spot in the playoffs. However, York currently sit on 1296 U-21 minutes. York will need 704 minutes from their last 5 matches to reach the U-21 minute quota. That is 140 minutes per game. With three of their last five matches being against Pacific, Cavalry and Ottawa, York are in an extremely worrying situation, despite their growing form.
3rd Place – Atletico Ottawa
Ottawa has now officially entered a two-match winless drought after a heartbreaking loss to Cavalry at home. These matches against Cavalry are always trap games and it was about time that the “trap” element showed up. ATO had thought they had won back a point after a goal of the season candidate from Luke Singh, however in the 97th minute, Akio won the game for Cavalry.
This matchup was electrifying. TD Place brought that playoff atmosphere and you could feel the tension in the air. This loss practically ends Ottawa’s title hopes and they have slipped a little from these past two games and are now levelled with York and Halifax for the last two playoff spots. Ottawa needs to turn it around quickly, and lucky for them, they face Vancouver next.
If I’m Ottawa, my goal is to make it to second place, and its an attainable goal. Ottawa sit three points behind Pacific and Forge. Ottawa has a game in hand on Forge and still have to play Pacific one more time. The race for second is going to be crucial for attempting to host the finals and Ottawa isn’t out of it yet. They just have to get back on the horse.
2nd Place – Pacific FC
Pacific finally ended their three-game losing streak with a well deserved win over Valour. However, I will say that they were robbed last week against Cavalry and that should have ended in a draw so realistically, Pacific are in solid form heading into this final stretch.
Pacific is my team to watch right now. They have practically reached their U-21 minute quota (only need 83 more minutes) and currently sit in second place, four points behind Cavalry and three points ahead of Halifax who sit in sixth place. Pacific will be focusing on the title race, but their goal should be to lock up that second place as a minimum to give them the chance to host the final.
In their last six matches, Pacific only face one team outside of the top six, but with their next three matches being against Halifax, Ottawa and York, Pacific have the chance to clinch that playoff spot early by giving themselves the much needed separation from the hunting pack of Ottawa, York and Halifax.
1st Place – Cavalry FC
What a massive win for Cavalry. Akio’s goal could potentially be the title-winning goal for Cavalry. Heading into TD Place, a stadium they had never won in before, Cavalry took the lead and looked like they were going to hang on until Ottawa equalized in the 88th minute. However, Cavalry won the game in the 97th minute, earning all three points and moving four points clear of second place in the standings.
Had Cavalry had blown the lead and drew, the title race would have been busted open with Pacific and Forge only sitting behind with two points less and Ottawa, four points back. However, thanks to this win. Cavalry now sit seven points ahead of the hunting pack of Ottawa, York and Halifax, and can turn their attention to only Pacific and Forge.
This is Cavalry’s title to lose now. There are six matches left, with two of them against Vancouver and Valour… and the next one is against Forge. Cavalry are right on the brink of glory.