It was a week of firsts for many teams in the CPL. Three teams recorded their first wins this season, and two teams succumbed to their first defeat in the same week. On top of that, it was very entertaining and goal filled, with the four games combining for fifteen goals, with one team, in particular, contributing very heavily to that goal total. For the second time this year, the match week began at York Lions Stadium.
York United 2 – Cavalry FC 0
Cavalry’s poor start to the season continued, as they ended their three-game Ontario road trip with a loss to York United at York Lions stadium. Both teams sat on just one point going into this game, and despite Cavalry having most of the ball, it would be the home team that would dominate the scoring chances. Seventeen minutes in, United won the ball off Cavalry, deep into the Cavs territory. Jordan Wilson played the ball into the path of attacking midfielder Isaiah Johnston, and the forward showed great skill to turn defender Mason Trafford and drive into the box forcing a smart save from Julian Roloff at his near post.
In the thirty-fourth minute, York built from the back with centre back Dominick Zator playing a brilliant long pass into the feet of Max Ferrari. The winger played the ball towards Johnston, and from just outside the box he played a great ball into the path of Oliver Minatel. The former Cavalry man glanced a header to the far post, leaving Roloff no chance, making it 1-0 United.
Just before halftime, yet another deep ball from defence, this time from Roger Thompson once again found Ferrari upfield on the right-wing. The winger took the ball past Cavalry’s Ben Fisk, and from inside the box, he teed up striker Osaze De Rosario and if not for Cavs centre-back Karifa Yao getting his body in the way, his shot easily could’ve made 2-0 going into the half.
In the second half, United continued to have the best chances. Ferrari raced up the right-wing, and whilst his cross into the box was initially cleared by Yao, the ball landed at the feet of fullback Diyaeddine Abzi, and his miss kicked effort went across goal into the path of Ferrari. But the Toronto native couldn’t keep his shot down and blazed it over the bar. Cavalry continued to struggle with the long ball. In the seventy-second minute, a long ball from Thompson found De Rosario out wide on the left, and after a one-two with Abzi, the young striker fired a shot from outside the box into the bottom left corner passed Roloff, making it 2-0 York. It was De Rosario’s second goal in as many games from outside the box, and was the first time in six games going back to last season that York had scored two goals in a game.
York then went looking for their first three-goal performance since last Labor Day. In the seventy-seventh minute, Noah Verhoeven’s corner into the box made its way to Dominick Zator, and the defender showed great flexibility to get his fifteen-yard effort on target and force Roloff into a top-right corner save. Five minutes later, York had a free-kick just outside the box, and Abzi’s deadball effort was thundered towards goal, again forcing the busy Cavalry keeper into a strong save to palm the ball away.
Cavalry’s lacklustre night upfront was typified up with five minutes left. From deep in his own half, substitute Elijah Adekugbe played a long ball upfield to Jean-Aniel Assi. The Ivorian midfielder won the ball ahead of two York defenders, and after he took the ball past the onrushing Niko Giantsopoulos. It looked like the substitute had an open goal in front of him. Unfortunately, his effort went wide at the front post, summing up a poor night at the office for the Calgary side. The game would finish 2-0, and Cavalry will go back to Alberta with work to do to get their young season on track.
Forge FC 3 – FC Edmonton 0
Forge recorded their first win of the season in dominant fashion against Edmonton at their home Tim Hortons Field. Around the twenty-fourth minute, Edmonton defender Luke Singh’s pass was intercepted by David Choinière, and the midfielder then linked up well with teammate Terran Campbell to give himself a scoring chance in the box. Choinière’s shot was blocked, but the deflection took it into the path of Tristan Borges, who from a tight angle couldn’t keep his shot down.
Similar to their first chance, Forge would once again get a chance from an Edmonton turnover. Thirty minutes in, Singh’s clearance from his box only made it as far as Kyle Bekker on the edge of the box, and the Forge captain needed just one touch before unleashing a powerful shot on goal forcing Andreas Vaikla to tip the ball over the bar.
From the resulting corner, Forge would have their best chance. A short corner to Borges was crossed into the box, and in the commotion, Edmonton midfielder Simon Triantafillou raised a high boot into the face of Forge’s Garven Metusala, forcing the referee to award a penalty and was lucky to stay on the pitch. Still looking for his first Forge goal, Campbell stepped up from twelve yards out only for Vaikla to guess correctly to his left. Unfortunately for the Edmonton keeper, Campbell was in the right place to tuck home the rebound making it 1-0 Forge after thirty-three minutes.
Now playing with the lead, it didn’t take Forge long to double the advantage. Just before half time Campbell ran onto a defence-splitting ball into the box and found himself through on goal. At this point, the striker opted to square the ball to teammate Tristan Borges who opened his goal-scoring account for the season, making it 2-0 Forge at half time.
Edmonton knew they would have to strike next to get in the game, and despite not having registered a shot on goal fifty-seven minutes in, they looked to have halved the lead. Marcus Simmons won a free kick in the middle of the field and the delivery into the box looked like it was inch-perfect for newly brought on sub, Mamadi Camara who put the ball in the back of the net before unfortunately being flagged for being just offside.
After surviving that scare, Forge set about ending the game with just over twenty minutes left on the clock. Chris Nanco and Alessandro Hojabrpour linked up well before setting up fullback Aboubacar Sissoko in the box, and Sissoko made no mistake, picking out Campbell who got to the ball before any of the nearby Edmonton defenders to make it 3-0.
With ten minutes left, Edmonton would have their first effort on target from a cross come shot. Out wide on the right, Wesley Timoteo flighted a ball into the box that made its way passed everyone and forced a backpedalling Triston Henry to get a hand in the ball must incase it crept in. With the game then winding down, Forge then came close to making the scoreline even more emphatic. From another short corner, Bekker put the ball into the box, and Edmonton defender Nyal Higgins’ clearance ricochet off Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson into the path of substitute Woobens Pacius. From close range, the Forge strikers first time effort was denied only by the face of Andreas Vaikla. The game would end 3-0, enough to lift Forge up to third place, while Edmonton remains in sixth for now.
Pacific FC 2 – HFX Wanderers FC 1
In the battle of the coasts, high-flying Pacific edged out HFX in a 2-1 win to keep them on top of the table. The 6000-kilometre journey was the first game HFX played since reigning player of the year João Morelli tore his ACL, and Pacific looked to capitalize on their home advantage early. Fifteen minutes in, Pacific won a free-kick just outside the HFX box, and after the Wanderers cleared the initial threat, Alejandro Díaz recycled the ball and played it to Marco Bustos. The playmakers cross into the box landed at the feet of Jamar Dixon but after a heavy first touch, HFX shepherd out the danger.
Ten minutes later, Manny Aparicio picked the ball up in midfield and drove towards the goal. He would then pass the ball off to Diaz and with Aparicio continuing his run, Diaz crossed the ball into his path and the midfielder headed the ball home past Christian Oxner, after the HFX keeper found himself in no man’s land. It looked like the Vancouver Islanders would be taking a 1-0 into halftime, but just before the interval, the Wanderers won a free-kick outside the box. English forward Cory Bent stepped up a d curled a great effort into the bottom left corner passed Callum Irving to make it 1-1, stunning the home crowd going into halftime.
In a tight second half, Pacific’s first chance came on the fifty-eighth from a corner. HFX failed to clear the danger with Matthew Baldisimo picking up the ball, at which point the midfielder passed the ball off to Diaz whose shot on the turn went just over the bar. It looked like the game was heading towards a stalemate with just seven minutes left, at which point Bustos picked the ball up out wide and drove into the box. HFX fullback Obeng Tabi was then alleged to have brought Bustos illegally down in the box, resulting in a penalty being awarded.
From twelve yards out, Diaz sent Oxner the wrong way and tucked the ball home into the bottom left corner, making it 2-1 Pacific with just five minutes left. Pacific held on to stay on the CPL summit after a perfect homestand to start the season.
Atlético Ottawa 1 – Valour FC 6
In what was probably the most stunning result of the season so far, Valour’s attack overran Ottawa for their first win of the season. The floodgates opened in the twelfth minute, when Moses Dyer was first to a long ball in the Ottawa box and was then controversially deemed to have been fouled in the box by Diego Espejo, resulting in a penalty. Dyer stepped up and slotted home into the right-hand side of the goal past Nathan Ingham to make it 1-0 Valour.
Winger William Akio was the architect for the second goal, he went on a run down the wing before crossing the ball across the goal, just out of reach of Ingham and perfect into the path of Alessandro Riggi who tapped it home to make it 2-0 on the twenty-sixth minute.
Ottawa halved the deficit five minutes before halftime. Keven Alemán ran towards goal before threading a ball into the path of Maxim Tissot, the fullback then fired towards goal from a tight angle, but Valour keeper Jonathan Sirois could only parry the shot into his own net for an own goal to make it 2-1. But the momentum was short-lived, as just five minutes later from a Sean Rea corner, centre-back Rocco Romeo outmuscled his marker José da Cunha and headed the ball into the net to reopen a two-goal lead.
Then, deep into first-half added time, Dyer and Akio combined upfield and set up Matthew Catavolo and while Catavolo could only hit the post, Riggi reacted first to the ball and fired home from close range to give the Winnipeg side a large 4-1 lead going into halftime.
Valour started the second half like how they ended the first. Once again Akio was providing problems to Ottawa, the South Sudanese international ran into the box before his deflected shot made its way to Dyer in front of goal who made no mistake in making it 5-1.
Valour would save the best for last with sixty-eight minutes on the clock. Midfielder Brett Levis picked the ball up deep in his half and proceeded to go on a run upfield. After a one-two with Rea, Levis skipped passed a couple of challenges to set himself up just outside the box and unleashed a thunderous shot off the top of the left post on its way to making it 6-1. After being at the end of a potential goal of the year contender in week one, Valour now had their own highlight-reel goal to call their own.
The scoring would end there, as Valour emphatically earned their first win of the season and jump up to third in the table. Meanwhile, it was a tough day for Ottawa, but with six points from nine, they remain second in the CPL going into week four.