The Wanderers Recap: They Won Again? That’s Odd.
Mid-June, the CPL season is ramping up to full speed, and the Wanderers are starting to find their form. Cavalry came in looking to continue their typical form in the league, but something was different at the Wanderers Grounds. Let’s not waste any time and jump into an action-packed match:
How about them Wanderers? Two wins on the bounce, and doing it with a relatively similar formula. That formula? The one Patrice Gheisar preached and waxed lyrically about time and time again in the lead-up to the season—high press, total commitment, compact in defence, able to play direct and with high possession. At the beginning of the season, the Wanderers were caught out when their press felt hesitant, as if the players didn’t want to be the one guy who over-committed, but that is the exact problem. If one person doesn’t commit, then everyone else is over-committed, and the opposing team can break the press with a single line-breaking pass, typically leaving the Wanderers exposed in the midfield. These past two games, there hasn’t been a player whose work rate dropped below exceptional when out of position. It has been superb.
In possession, huge strides have been made. The ball is moving quicker, the final ball is going into more dangerous areas (and earlier), and the quality of late runs from the midfield have caused Valour and now Cavalry absolute fits in defence. Comparing this to Hart-Ball in the last few seasons, it is night and day. And while Patrice Gheisar deserves a lot of praise, a few specific players deserve praise too (Dan Nimick had another great game, but some other players deserve some shine).
Aidan Daniels. What a turnaround from last season. He looks like a completely different player. Sure, he is scoring and creating, but what has impressed me the most has been his mentality. He looks hungry for every ball, every touch, every shot, and every blade of grass on the pitch. I spent a few minutes watching how he moved without the ball, in possession and out of possession, and what I saw was excellent. Out of possession, his running is relentless, especially when the ball is in the opposition’s end. And when the Wanderers are in possession, you can see a player that is thinking a few steps ahead of most players on the field. He is drifting (in an aggressive way) into pockets of space that give him opportunities to distribute, draw out the defenders, and occasionally run directly at the defenders. My final credit I’ll give to Aidan in this section is his ability to give the Wanderers an extra second of ball control before springing the counterattack. There were multiple times when he was able to hold up the ball and give his attackers a chance to sprint further downfield and stretch the discombobulated Cavalry defence.
Tiago Coimbra is next to receive a standing ovation.
Firstly, he did a great job scoring his first professional goal. It was a messy finish, but those are the opportunities that top strikers need to take. Much like Aiden Daniels, Coimbra’s biggest strength this year has been his mentality. He is physical and wants to make defenders’ days miserable, and for being so young he does a spectacular job.
You may have noticed a common thread in these two star performances, and that is that the mentality of the Wanderers is entirely different this year. And I feel that it comes down to Patrice Gheisar’s standards for the club. Effort and commitment to the cause are the bare minimum; otherwise, you won’t be part of this mad-science experiment showing massive potential. And from what we have seen, the players are fully bought in. You can see the agony in defeat and the immense joy in victory. This team craves winning and is full of winners. Now it is time to keep winning and ingrain it into the club’s culture, which it has lacked so dearly in the past.
This big win was crucial to keep the Wanderers in the midfield pack. There are currently three teams with 12 points who occupy the four through six spots in the standings. And as we have seen so far this season, anybody in this league can beat anybody. It is not impossible that the final two playoff spots could be decided on the final day of the season, as it looks so close at this stage of the season.
Tiago Coimbra scored his first professional goal in the sixth minute. Based on his early performances, and being only 19 years old, you can expect the young Canadian-Brazilian to score heaps more in his career.
Lorenzo Callegari assisted his third assist of the season and is now just one away from tying the all-time season high for a Wanderer. He is also only two away from the all-time lead in total assists whilst in Wanderer colours.
Theo Collomb scored again, bringing his league tally to three in only 262 minutes. This puts him at a goal every 87 minutes and change, which is clearly an outstanding return. If he can continue this, it’ll be hard for Patrice Gheisar to keep him out of the starting lineup, and it may be hard for the Wanderers to hold onto him long-term.