CPL Round-Up – Week 2 

After a relatively low-scoring first week, the second week in the Canadian Premier League was filled with plenty of goals, and great goals as well, to add. This week would see the action begin at a snowy Clarke Stadium, as Edmonton took on York United.

Edmonton 1 – York United 1

A frantic finish in this one resulted in both teams settling for a point after a snowy ninety minutes played at Edmonton’s Clarke Stadium. Looking to get on track after last week’s defeat to HFX, York had a good chance from a free kick in the fifteenth minute. From twenty yards out, and close to the middle of the goal, fullback Diyaeddine Abzi struck a powerful shot towards the goal, which forced keeper Andreas Vaikla into an instinctive reaction save.

Six minutes later, Edmonton would come close, thanks to a long ball that was met by on-loan winger Azriel Gonzalez. The winger, who was given permission to play against York despite the Ontario side being his parent club, put a dangerous ball across the York six-yard box, which was just out of reach of the onrushing Gabriel Bitar.

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The best chance of the half would come with just three minutes remaining. Edmonton failed to clear the danger, and after recovering the ball, Abzi put in a dangerous low ball across the six-yard box, and into the path of striker Osaze De Rosario. With the goal gaping in front of him, the ball took an unfortunate bounce off of his boot and went just wide.

There was still time for one last chance at the stroke of halftime. From a dead ball twenty-five yards out, Tobias Warschewski curled the ball towards the top left corner, forcing a backtracking Niko Giantsopoulos to tip the ball over the bar, keeping the score at 0-0 going into the half.

Midfielder Gabriel Bitar battles for the loose ball in first-half action against York United FC Friday night at Clarke Stadium. The Eddies tied York 1-1. PHOTO BY Sherri Lacasse

York started the second half how they ended the first, with a great chance on goal. Four minutes in, midfielder Noah Verhoeven’s out-swinging corner was met by Roger Thompson, and the centreback’s header floated perfectly into the path of Jordan Wilson all alone in the six-yard box, but Wilson could only direct his header straight towards Vaikla.

United continued to press for an opener. With sixty-six minutes played, De Rosario turned with the ball twenty-five yards out and unleashed an effort on goal which forced Vaikla into a diving save to his right. Then with nine minutes left, York would finally break the deadlock. Substitute midfielder Sebastián Gutiérrez picked the ball up just outside the Edmonton box and showed great strength to hold the ball and lay it off into the path of De Rosario. From outside the box, the young strikers rising shot struck the back of the net for De Rosario’s first-ever professional goal, and York’s first of the season.

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For the second time in as many games, Edmonton found themselves trailing late in the game, but just like that last week, they would show resilience. Just two minutes later, York failed to deal with an Edmonton cross into the box, and it fell to the feet of CJ Smith in the box who set up Mastanabal Kacher, and the midfielder made no mistake placing the ball into the bottom right corner, levelling the score at one.

The action still wasn’t over just yet, and things took yet another turn in the eighty-sixth minute. Smith and Abzi got into an altercation, and after Smith raised his hands to Abzi’s face, the referee gave him a straight red card, leaving Edmonton with just ten men. The home side held on though to secure yet another point from a losing position late on, although the point each leaves both sides waiting for their first win this season.

Atlético Ottawa 1 – HFX Wanderers 0

Both teams went into this game confident after week one victories, but ultimately, it would be the home side that won the three points. The hosts started brightly. Just four minutes in, Ottawa won the ball deep in HFX territory, and the ball was played into the path of striker Brian Wright in the box. The goalscorer from last week saw his effort go just wide of the far post.

They would threaten again twenty minutes later. Fullback Miguel Acosta flighted a ball into the box from the right-wing, and it was met by a strong header from Malcolm Shaw with his effort forcing HFX keeper Christian Oxner into a save to his left. The home side kept creating chances. With ten minutes left in the half, Ottawa winger Ballou Tabla had a chance from a similar angle as Wright earlier, but this time, Oxner would be forced to make a save with his legs to direct the ball wide and keep the score 0-0 going into the half.

Atletico Ottawa vs HFX WanderersApril 16, 2022PHOTO: Matt Zambonin/Freestyle Photography/CPL

Just six minutes into the second half, the visitors would have a huge chance to break the deadlock. Midfielder Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé’s ball into the box landed right in the path of forward Samuel Salter. His initial close-range effort was saved by Nathan Ingham, and from the rebound, Salter teed up strike partner Joao Morelli, but the Brazilian’s effort from seven yards out was again saved by the Ingham.

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Morelli would again force Ingham into action twelve minutes later, this time after a clever one-two with Cory Bent set the Brazilian up in the box before his cross goal effort was directed wide by the Ottawa shot-stopper. With just ten minutes left in regular time, Ottawa worked the ball out wide to the right into the feet of Acosta, and the Ottawa match day captain flighted a teasing ball into the box which was met by striker Malcolm Shaw, and this time, the striker would make no mistake from his header into the bottom right corner which left Oxner rooted in place making it 1-0 Ottawa. Shaw’s goal would be enough to separate the two, as Ottawa claimed all three points to go (temporarily at least) top of the CPL table.

Forge 2 – Cavalry 2

A rematch of the 2019 CPL Final gave us a very entertaining game, as both teams played out a 2-2 draw at Tim Hortons Field. It didn’t take long for the game to come to life. Just three minutes in, Forge forward Woobens Pacius’ cross into the box wasn’t properly cleared and rolled into the path of midfielder Alessandro Hojabrpour, who from just outside the box, fired the ball past Julian Roloff to give Forge an early lead.

Cavalry looked to get back into the game quickly. Eight minutes in, Cavalry forward Joe Mason’s cross could only be cleared as far as the edge of the penalty area, where it was picked up by Cavalry’s Fraser Aird. After taking a few touches to set himself, the winger was unable to keep his shot down and blasted the effort over the bar.

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Forge held the lead until the half-hour mark, at that point, Cavalry attacked from their right-hand side with Jean-Aniel Assi and Mason combining in the box to set up Ali Musse for an acrobatic shot on goal that was saved by Forge keeper Triston Henry, but he could only parry it into the path of Mason, who put the ball in the net making it 1-1 from close range.

Things would get even better for the Calgary side just nine minutes later. Midfielder Charlie Trafford picked up a loose ball from midfield and played the ball to Musse. From that point, the Somalian forward drove towards goal and unleashed a shot just outside the box into the far right corner, just outside the reach of Henry, to make it 2-1 to Cavalry heading into the half.

Alessandro Hojabrpour, Forge FC – via Forge FC on Twitter

Looking to get back into the game, the home side had a golden opportunity just before the hour mark. From midfield, Tristan Borges lobbed a long ball over the Cavalry defence into the path of Woobens Pacius, who was now through on goal. With his strike partner Terran Campbell beside him, the striker opted to go it alone, but his strike was saved by Roloff. Roloff was needed again in the sixty-sixth minute, this time Borges himself made a run into the box, forcing the keeper to unorthodoxly save Borges near post strike with his chest.

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Cavalry, meanwhile, had a good chance to extend their lead with just fifteen minutes left to play. From their right-wing, Cavalry winger José Escalante did well to retain the ball from multiple Forge defenders before crossing the ball right into the feet of Myer Bevan who had no one near him. But from close range, the New Zealander couldn’t get his positioning correct, with the ball hitting off his back foot and straight into the path of Henry in the Forge goal.

Forge pushed for an equalizer late on and in the eighty-ninth minute, and it paid off. Cavalry couldn’t clear from a ball played in from the right and the play eventually made its way to substitute David Choinière. From the left-hand side of the box, the midfielder fired a rocket of a shot into the top right corner, evening things up at two. The game would end in a point each for both sides, enough to get them off the mark this season.

Pacific 3 – Valour 2

Pacific ended the second round of fixtures once again in the top spot thanks to a 3-2 win over ten-man Valour. The Vancouver Islanders won all four games between the two sides last season, and they were on track to continue that dominance just twenty minutes into the first half. After clearing a Valour attack, Pacific countered quickly upfield thanks to a good link-up play from Alejandro Díaz and Kunle Dada-Luke. Díaz played in Marco Bustos out on the right and after the midfielder burst into the box his cross was met by Manny Aparicio, who headed the ball past Jonathan Sirois in the Valour net to make it 1-0.

To make matters worse, Valour had to substitute the injured Diego Gutiérrez Zúñiga immediately afterwards, he was replaced by Tony Mikhael. Pacific threatened again just a moment later. Defender Thomas Meilleur-Giguère played a ball that released Josh Heard into space on the left-hand side and the attacking midfielder forced Sirois into a near-post save to his left.

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Valour’s task would become even more difficult just a minute later. From a long ball upfield, substitute Mikhael went to challenge the ball up against Nathan Mavila and inadvertently made direct contact with Mavila’s face with his right boot, forcing the referee to send him off just four minutes after he came on the pitch.

Pacific went to work making the man advantage count. Thirty minutes in, right back Dada-Luke‘s low cross into the box was met by Díaz, but as the Mexican striker slid in, the ball hit off the top of his boot and went over the bar. Then, just two minutes later, again from the right wing, Bustos put another dangerous ball into the box which was met again by Díaz, and he made no mistake the second time around, slotting the ball home at the back post to make it 2-0.

Pacific FC celebrate – PACIFIC FC/FACEBOOK

It looked like Pacific was cruising, but just four minutes before the interval, Moses Dyer released the ball for William Akio up Valour’s right wing, and Akio‘s ball into the box was accidentally directed goal bound by Dada-Luke for an own goal, giving the Winnipeg side a lifeline heading into halftime.

But incredibly, the action wasn’t over just yet. Forty-four minutes in, Heard picked up the ball in the box and was bundled over by Akio, leaving the ref no option but to point to the spot for a penalty. Up stepped Bustos, and the Winnipeg native put his spot-kick low to the right, where it was met brilliantly by Sirois, who denied him from the spot. From the ensuing corner, the ball fell to defensive midfielder Matthew Baldisimo in space and he fired the ball into the net. But before he was done celebrating, the ref ruled out the goal for a handball in the build-up. Valour held on to being just one goal down at halftime.

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After an action-packed first half, the second half didn’t take long to heat up either. Just ten minutes in, Pacific broke quickly from a Valour corner thanks to Aparicio and Bustos. Bustos would then play in Josh Heard in the box and after a couple of touches, the local boy slotted the ball home to make it 3-1 and give Bustos his third assist in the game. From that point on Pacific would dominate the game in terms of chances on goal, with the home side having many chances to add to their lead before the game ended.

But it would be the visitors who struck next, although it was too little too late. Deep into added time, Dyer went on a galloping run into the box that was only ended when he was deemed to have been brought down illegally, resulting in a penalty for Valour. From the spot, Dyer made no mistake despite Pacific keeper Callum Irving correctly diving to his right to make the score 3-2 right at the end. Pacific moved back on top of the CPL with that win by virtue of having scored more goals than Ottawa, the only other side with a 100 percent record as we go into week three.


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