May 19, 2024
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Cavalry FC Daan Klomp

Vancouver FC Boss Is ‘Very Disappointed’ in Cavalry Ball Switcheroo

By on April 26, 2024 0 3288 Views

Following Vancouver FC’s preliminary round exit in Canada’s domestic cup, head coach Afshin Ghotbi was understandably disappointed – though not just at the result.

The VFC boss took aim at the organizers of the Canadian Championship and host side Cavalry FC, stating that his team was misled to train with the wrong ball as they prepared for the match.

Cavalry FC Marco Carducci
Photo Credit: Mike Sturk

Ghotbi explained on a media call that the home team in the Canadian Championship decides what ball to use for each cup match. When his team arrived at ATCO Field to train a day ahead of its game against Cavalry, they were told DERBYSTAR – the CPL’s official match ball – would be used. After training, however, his side was then informed that Cavalry had selected to use Nike balls instead.

“I’m not trying to make excuses for our players, but I think for me it’s very unprofessional,” said Ghotbi about the ball switcheroo. “If you’ve seen balls, they’re completely different – Nike is a tad smaller, the feel of the ball is very different. When you got out on a pitch like that, with a ball you haven’t trained with literally until just the warm-up, it’s a challenge.”

That didn’t stop Vancouver FC from opening the match on the front foot, though they’d be unable to find a goal even after Cavalry went a man down, ultimately losing one-nil. The VFC boss noted that his team had no less than thirty-three crosses into the box along with seven corners, but many of those aerial feeds flew astray.

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“I think the players are so disappointed about those subtle things that affected their performance and the result of the match,” added Ghotbi, though he did say his side needs to learn how to deal with the adversity of playing on the road.

It’s unclear whether the ball snafu stemmed from Canada Soccer or host side Cavalry. Ghotbi also critiqued the field conditions of Cavalry’s natural grass pitch, noting it had been covered in snow less than a week ago.

Cavalry FC Tobias Warschewski
Photo Credit: Mike Sturk

Still, his main point of complaint: the ball.

“For a professional league, and a Canadian Championship that in my opinion has to raise its standards on all sides, on and off the pitch, not letting the visiting team know which ball we’re going to use for the match is, for me, unacceptable. It’s very unprofessional, and I’m very disappointed about it, to be honest.”

Cavalry had used its league matchball when hosting a cup match against FC Edmonton two years ago, while this week saw Toronto FC use the current MLS league matchball in its victory over the Simcoe County Rovers. The visitors indeed trained with that same ball ahead of the game.

It’s Canada Soccer who orchestrates the country’s coast-to-coast domestic cup. Vancouver hasn’t had much luck in it so far, suffering defeat straight away in their prior appearance too. In a bit of history repeating itself, the hosts who won the match also went on to play the Whitecaps there, too.

While Ghotbi suggested the tournament needs higher standards on-and-off the pitch, it’s unclear if he has other complaints beyond the match ball fiasco. In any event, the match is done-and-dusted: Vancouver FC’s only chance for silverware will now come through the Canadian Premier League, with the side kicking off against York United later on today. In league play, they’re two for two.

Cavalry, meanwhile, earned the opportunity to face the Vancouver Whitecaps in the Canadian Championship quarter-finals. The ‘Caps will host the match – no word on what ball they’ll use.

Header Image Photo Credit: Tony Lewis. Credit to Zachary Meisenheimer for the question leading to Ghotbi’s response.

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