Vancouver FC 1-1 Cavalry: 10-Men Hosts Grind Out Result in Home Opener
Fans of Vancouver FC had to wait for nearly a month after the 2023 Canadian Premier League season to enjoy the club’s maiden home game.
It was worth the wait, as VFC managed to claim a point against Cavalry despite playing a man down for over an hour. A second consecutive 1-1 draw for both teams is how the match would end.
Afshin Ghotbi opted for just one change to the Vancouver side who drew 1-1 in Halifax last weekend. It would come in the midfield, where Nathaniel St. Louis came into the starting eleven, replacing Nima Moazenizadeh.
As for the Cavs, coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr went for two changes: one came at center back, where Udoka Chima made way for Bradley Kamdem Fewo. The other came in the attack, where Sergio Camargo came into the eleven for Joseph Mason.
The first effort on target came in the 17th minute via a free kick routine. Gabriel Bitar rolled the ball over to Gael Sandoval, whose shot forced a save from Cavalry keeper Marco Carducci. The hosts again had a chance moments later, where Sandoval’s improvised cross was met by Shaan Hundal’s head. Unfortunately for the Vancouver FC striker, Carducci was not troubled.
The game-changing moment of the match came in the 29th minute as Daan Klomp looked for Myer Bevan via a long ball, but the Cavalry striker was taken down by Rocco Romeo. However, the referee adjudged it to be violent conduct, sending off the Vancouver FC center back. Protests happened momentarily, but the referee already made up his mind.
The Cav’s best chance of the opening stanza came 10 minutes before the break, where Mikael Cantave’s attempted cross came off the post. The seemingly miss-timed ball into the box confused Callum Irving, who was perhaps fortunate not to see the ball go in.
A little less than a minute into the second half, Cavalry would get on the scoreboard. After some solid buildup play, Jose Escalante played in a cross into the box, which was not properly cleared by Eugene Martinez. The ball fell to Cantave, who controlled it before striking the ball through Martinez’s legs and past Irving. The goal was the Haitian international’s second on the year.
Despite being down a goal and a man, Vancouver FC would not give in. In fact, they would find their equalizer just five minutes later. Kadin Chung’s long ball was controlled by Sandoval, who slipped in Hundal. Despite going to the ground, Hundal was able to bundle the ball into the bottom corner past Carducci. The striker initially was asking for a foul, before realizing he had actually scored.
Later on in the match, coach Ghotbi brought on 16-year-old TJ Tahid, the youngest player to ever sign a professional contract in the CPL.
Cavalry pressed for a winner, with most of their ten second half attempts coming after the Vancouver goal. Their best chance came in the dying moments of the game. Substitute Fraser Aird played a floating corner which was met by Charlie Trafford. The midfielder’s header required an acrobatic save from Irving to keep the score level.
The game ended 1-1, with Vancouver the happier of the two teams. It was a fourth successive draw to start the season for Cavalry, who join the Halifax Wanderers on four points. As for Vancouver FC, they are now up to five points from four games, good enough for fourth spot.
The BC side will return to action next Saturday, when they welcome last year’s CPL regular season champions Atletico Ottawa to Willoughby Community Park. The Cavs host the HFX Wanderers next Sunday in the battle of the teams on four draws.
Header Image Photo Credit: Canadian Premier League