CPL Power Rankings – Week 9: Inconsistency!
Inconsistency has been the theme of this season so far. Check out how this week’s performances match up with these rankings!
8th Place – Vancouver FC
Yeah… things aren’t looking good in Langley. This week was another match where Vancouver was severely outmatched on the field. After a decent start to the season, Vancouver has come crashing down to the reality of being an expansion side. Defensively, Vancouver is being exposed week in and week out, and going forward Vancouver hasn’t been consistent enough to generate consecutive good performances.
Ghotbi’s team has practically cemented themselves in these rankings as the eighth place team, yet they only sit two points out of a playoff spot. If they can somehow put together some solid performances, Vancouver might be right back in the thick of a playoff race. For now, however, they are the weakest link in the CPL.
7th Place – Atletico Ottawa
Atletico Ottawa desperately needed a solid performance to follow up on last week’s win. This game wasn’t a must-win, but a loss would definitely halt any momentum the reigning regular season champions had. Unfortunately for Ottawa, the momentum has stopped as they fell to York 2-1.
Ottawa came out of the gates fast with an 8th-minute goal, yet in the 24th minute, Luke Singh headed the ball into the back of his own net, levelling the game 1-1. Ottawa’s strong performance would end at half-time as in the second half York would push for the game-winner – which they eventually got in the 80th minute when De Rosario scored his first goal of the season.
Ottawa’s woes continue this season. They have yet to be able to string along consistent performances in a ninety minute game, let alone across multiple games. It has been nine weeks, and still Ottawa is a team that only shows up for 45 minutes. It’s fair to say that Ottawa was unlucky this game with their three posts, but with that second-half performance it’s also fair to say that Ottawa deserved to lose.
Things are not going well in the nation’s Capital, and although they only sit one point out of the playoffs, Ottawa has looked very poor this season. With a matchup against Vancouver FC next week, if Ottawa cannot earn all three points, Carlos Gonzalez might be placed on a dangerously hot seat.
6th Place – Halifax Wanderers
Finally, after teasing us all season long, Halifax put in the perfect ninety minute shift. It only took nine minutes for Halifax to get on the board, and once they did, they never looked back. 56% Possession, outshooting Valour 12-4 with 7 shots on target to Valour’s 0; and the icing on top of the cake: a Callum Watson brace in front of the home fans giving Halifax their first win of the season.
This Halifax performance has been in the making all season long. We’ve seen a similar style of game multiple times this season but with nothing to show for it. Finally, Halifax were able to perform well and come away with all three points.
However, I need to see whether this result is the floodgates opening for Halifax, or whether this was a one-off game before moving them up the rankings. An excellent performance and result, but Halifax needs to ensure that they build off this momentum.
5th Place – Valour FC
Valour were awful this week. They never showed up to play and were dominated for all ninety minutes. However, this was their first stinker of the season, and every team is allowed to have one.
Moving on from this performance, Valour has played pretty decently in the past few games despite what the results say. It was just last week when Valour had 18 shots against York in a dominating match which somehow finished 1-1. However, despite all the good performances, Valour only have one win this season and therefore have dropped a spot in these rankings. I’ve been high on Valour this season, giving them the benefit of the doubt based on their performances.
My patience is slowly running out with the lack of results. With their next two matches being against Forge and Pacific, decent performances may not be enough to keep Valour high in these rankings.
4th Place – Cavalry FC
This might surprise many, but Cavalry’s result this weekend isn’t anything wild to move them up too far up these rankings. They beat the last-placed expansion side Vancouver FC in a 3-1 win, but this is expected of them. Unfortunately for Cavalry, this match was a trap game, where if they won, it would be expected; however, if they had lost, there would be much criticism. After gifting Vancouver the opening goal, Cavalry replied with three first-half goals, with the last coming in the 28th minute to see the game off.
Beating Vancouver isn’t impressive to me when VFC is losing week in and week out. While it’s great that Cavalry returned to winning ways, I’m looking at their past two results where Cavalry haven’t looked as impressive. A dominant win against Vancouver is sure to build momentum.
Still, I’m interested to see what kind of performance they put together against a Halifax side also coming off a much-needed win. A poor performance against Halifax will surely tank Cavalry in these rankings no matter how dominant this win against Vancouver was.
3rd Place – Forge FC
Forge look… human. I can’t recall the last time I witnessed Forge get dominated at home in the fashion that happened this past weekend. Pacific looked miles better than Forge, doubling their shot total and taking complete control of the game in the last 20 minutes or so. Forge were hanging on for dear life, and it looked like they would somehow salvage a point (again) before a Henry howler gifted Pacific the win, dropping Forge to third place in both the CPL Standings and these Power Rankings.
I’ve been calling this all season long. Forge do not look scary this season. Going back to May 19th in their 0-0 draw against Vancouver FC, Forge have put out four additional mid-performances. Their win against Ottawa came in the 91st minute in a match that Ottawa could have easily won; they then lost to York at home, salvaged a point against Cavalry in the 94th minute and then this past weekend lost to Pacific. Forge are there for the taking, and I am sure the rest of the CPL smells blood.
The only reason Forge is 3rd in these rankings is because they have been able to salvage points. Everyone knows the age-old saying, “champions find ways to win.” Forge earning points against Atletico Ottawa and Cavalry have kept them up in these rankings; however, with a record of 0-1-2 in their past 3 matches, a loss next week will surely drop Forge out of the top three.
2nd Place – York United
After collecting dust in the basement of these rankings early on in the season, York have soared up the standings thanks to their recent performances. This week’s win against Ottawa puts York’s record at 4-1-0 in the past 5 games. York were able to respond to Ottawa’s fantastic first 45 minutes, and although their equalizer came by the hands of an Ottawa own goal, York’s second-half performance granted them worthy of their late win.
Things are finally starting to click for York, and suddenly they find themselves in a regular-season title race. The scary thing about York is that they haven’t gotten their strikers firing yet. This past weekend was De Rosario’s first goal of the season. If York can get Ricci, Wright and DeRo all firing, Pacific might find themselves overtaken by this surging York team.
Speaking of Pacific, that is who York will play next week, where a win would push them into first place.
1st Place – Pacific FC
A win against Forge while being ranked as the best team in the CPL will always ensure you another first place finish in the weekly power rankings. However, despite only scoring the winner in the 85th minute, Pacific made Forge look like a bottom-half side. The tridents completely took control of this game in the last 20 minutes, throwing waves upon waves of attacks against Forge.
I haven’t seen a team dominate Forge this badly in a long time. Coming off a 6-3 win against Vancouver, Pacific are on the path to a historic season in the CPL. They are by far the best team in the CPL right now, but… York have somehow crept up on them. If Pacific can halt York’s progress next week, no team will be touching them any time soon.
I’m starting to sweat while writing these articles. Teams are changing spots every week, and we are finally at the portion of the season where we can only look at the past few games and not the season as a whole. One can easily argue for Forge to drop out of the top three, but Valour and Cavalry have yet to be able to scrape results the same way Forge has been. Still, Forge are on a downward trend, and this may be their last week in the top three.
Halifax and Ottawa keep switching positions only because they take turns having good performances. Neither team has been able to build consistency, but both have matchups next week that can propel them up the standings. As for Vancouver and Pacific, opposite ends of the standings, yet both are far from being immune from being moved around. This league is fantastic, and I can’t wait for next week’s episode – er… I mean games.