CPL Week 3 Preview: Four Things To Watch
Entering the weekend clubs got a little respite after a condensed three-matches-in-seven-days opening to the campaign, something which left each team with a few bumps and bruises.
With players recharged, we expect to see energy levels and emotions high as teams look to establish momentum and rack up points early on in the campaign.
Without further ado, here’s four things to watch out for in the third week of CPL action:
Myer Bevan: Does He Have The CPL’s Number?
It’s another hot start from Myer Bevan, and the sky is the limit on what an injury-free season could mean for the New Zealand international.
Last season saw the forward register five goals in nine appearances before being sidelined for most of Cavalry’s campaign, and even when coming back from injury at the tail end of last season he racked another up against Forge in the playoffs.
This season has already seen Bevan tally two goals and one assist in his first three appearances across all competitions. He’s showing tantalizing form while he’s fit, and playing in front of a home crowd this weekend will only prove a boost.
Mo-Defensive Duties For Babouli?
York United’s makeshift midfield and defense has led to a tough start for their fifth-ever league campaign, and that has led creative attacker Mo Babouli to be played as a roaming midfield piece who has been tasked with defensive duties, dropping quite deep out of possession.
It was Babouli who gifted Vancouver FC its first goal by getting closed down and trying to dribble out of his own box, and it’s not the end fans want to see him in – but with knocks to several others who’d otherwise prio those duties, we might see Mo Babouli roam again.
Home Calls For Halifax
The Wanderers have opened the scoring in all three of their previous matchups, with Patrice Gheisar’s attacking philosophy clicking at the front end. They’re now set to play at home in front of a boisterous crowd against an expansion side yet to keep a clean sheet – things are looking good. And that’s before we consider that the full in-stadium happy hour beer sale has been faithfully restored.
The downside? The Wanderers haven’t been able to hold any of their leads, and a playoff-bound team needs to be a ninety-minute team. If the team’s much-transformed defense can hold firm for the duration, we’ve got ourselves quite a contender in Halifax – especially given they’ve already earn points on the road against both of last year’s CPL finalists.
Variables For Valour
Top-of-the-table Valour FC have, despite their status, have been a little all over the place: they stormed out of the gate to a two-nil win over York United, then lost to an amateur side in the Canadian Championship, and after that were held to a one-one draw in their home opener last weekend.
So really, who knows what we’re going to see in a tough road test against Cavalry?
To make things more difficult for Phillip Dos Santos, a long-term injury to defender Matthew Chandler has his defensive roster on such thin ice that the club had to bring in Klaidi Cela, who had just showcased himself for the Vaughan Azzurri in a cup match against CF Montreal.
What Valour will we see this weekend? As the opportunities for consistency eventually come in, we’ll get a good idea on if this might be Valour’s year to finally prove playoff contenders.
This weekend will be the first team matches are split evenly between Saturday and Sunday, with the Halifax Wanderers hosting Vancouver FC at 2:00PM EST and Atletico Ottawa hosting fellow Ontarians York United at 5:00PM EST – a home fixture that has historically never seen either side be a three-point victor.
Sunday will see Cavalry test themselves against Valour at 5:00PM EST, with Pacific hosting Forge (expect sparks to fly) at 8:00PM EST.