Former CPL Talents Shine In MLS Next Pro Opening Weekend
Three former Canadian Premier League players found the net as the majority of league’s ex-pats enjoyed success over the MLS NEXT Pro opening weekend thus far.
While there’s one last match still to play out this evening, here’s a recap of which former CPL talents made waves thus far:
Two CPL Grads On The Scoresheet For Whitecaps FC 2
The Whitecaps FC 2 carved out a 2-1 opening win over the Timbers 2 this weekend, with former Pacific loanee Kamron Habibullah opening the scoring before assisting former Atletico Ottawa youngster Antoine Coupland on the second.
Habibullah tallied two assists in sixteen appearances for The Tridents last season, while Antoine Coupland had spent two seasons in the nation’s capital as one of the league’s youngest professionals before betting on himself and moving to Europe.
On the receiving end of their fine form was one of Coupland’s former teammates, with Keesean Ferdinand putting in a fully ninety for the Timbers 2 and securing a passing rate of 86.4%.
Former Nine Stripes forward Lowell Wright also saw a few minutes of action for the ‘Caps at the tail end of the match, while former York United loanee Matteo Campagna put in a full ninety.
York United’s Johnston, N’sa Help Huntsville Bag Three Points In Inaugural Match
Former York United duo Chrisnovic N’sa and Isaiah Johnston both saw action in Huntsville City FC’s inaugural match, with N’sa getting the full ninety and Johnston – who made history as the club’s first signing – coming on as a late game substitute.
With the match tied 2-2 at 90 minutes, a penalty shootout saw Isaiah Johnston step up to take a spot kick. He buried his, helping Huntsville bag all three points in a 4-3 shootout win to kick off the club’s first-ever campaign.
Mekideche Finds The Net In Sporting Kansas City II Debut
Former Valour man Nassim Mekideche didn’t take long to open his account with Sporting Kansas City II – particularly as a defender – with the 22-year-old centre-back popping home a freekick from close range, though his side ultimately fell to a 2-1 defeat against the Colorado Rapids 2.
See Also: Mekideche On Kansas, CPL, And What’s Next
Mekideche’s half-a-season in Winnipeg showed him to be potentially one of the brightest defenders in the league, with the Canadian-Algerian talent earning eight starts in ten appearances with fans having hoped he’d stick around. Instead, an opportunity to join the MLS talent pipeline came calling.
Given that Toronto FC II still has yet to play, there could be several more former CPL talents (Altobelli, Catavolo, the youngest De Rosario, and Gogarty) who earn some game time in the opening weekend.
There are a handful of CPL talents getting game time directly in Major League Soccer too, with former Valour loanees Sean Rea and Jonathan Sirois accruing serious minutes with CF Montreal while former Cavalry full-back Mohamed Farsi has started the season as a a bona-fide starter for Columbus Crew.