As we enter the hotter months, the Canadian Premier League season is heating up with it.
There are plenty of teams fighting for the top spot, and even the teams further down, they aren’t giving up without a fight. So as we prepare for the weeks ahead, here are the winners and losers of the last few weeks of the CPL, who will be looking to either maintain form, or put things right after week 10.
Winner: Tristan Borges
A slow start for Borges this season echoed what was a slow start for Forge, who going into week eight, had only won one game and Borges had only managed one goal. Fast forward, and it’s all changed. Forge has won three consecutive games, with wins coming away in Halifax and Edmonton and at home to league leaders Pacific, scoring eleven goals in the process.
Borges has played a crucial part in the turnout. Whilst not playing against HFX, Borges played against Edmonton and scored a hat trick at Clarke Stadium, helping Forge win a high-scoring game 4-3 and surpassing his goal total in 2021 in just five games, which he followed up with with a goal against Pacific. Borges was also a danger throughout in the rearranged 2020 Canadian Championship final, and although he missed a penalty, he did bag a goal and was a constant threat against the MLS side. Borges has four goals and an assist in his last three league games, and his upturn in form and coincided with Forge shooting up the table and joining the likes of Calgary and Pacific at the table summit.
Loser: York United’s Attack
York was riding high at the start of the season with just one defeat in five games, and was in the higher end of the table firmly in a playoff place, thanks to the goals from Osaze De Rosario and a tight defence. Since then, the defence has remained tight giving up just three goals in the last five games. But the problem is, De Rosario has cooled down, and York hasn’t scored a goal in five games, having lost three and drawn two, now leaving them seventh in the table.
De Rosario missed a penalty against Valour and some good chances against Cavalry and Ottawa that could have led to York having at least two more points on the table. But De Rosario is only twenty years old, and it’s unfair to lay all the goalscorer responsibility at his feet. York has scored six goals all season, and with De Rosario having three of those, forward players Lowell Wright, Isaiah Johnston, Max Ferrari, Sebastián Gutiérrez, and Mouhamadou Kane really have to step up and help out De Rosario and the stout York United defence if they get back into playoff contention.
Winner: Tobias Warschewski and Edmonton’s Future
I know what you’re thinking, and yes, Edmonton still hasn’t won a game, but their performances as of late have been better, and Tobias Warschewski has been at the forefront of that. The German attacker on loan from York United started the season with a bang with a potential goal of the year equalizer against Valour, and in the games that have followed, a humiliating 3-0 home defeat to Cavalry, Warschewski has done all he can to lift up the Eddies.
Edmonton has been competitive lately against Valour and HFX, and even so against Pacific, Ottawa, and Forge – three of the best teams in this CPL this year. In a 4-3 defeat to Forge, Warschewski was heavily involved in the build-up to multiple Edmonton goals and has proven to be a creative outlet for Edmonton, rather than just a goalscorer. No matter what happens with Edmonton off the field, there will be a place for Warschewski in the CPL next season. Off the field, Edmonton has been making strides and recently has been announcing a multitude of new sponsorship deals. Perhaps there’s some good news on the horizon for FC Edmonton after all?
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Loser: Pacific and Their Recent Form
It wasn’t that long ago that Pacific was by far the best team in the league, well clear of everyone else at the top of the table. But ever since a 2-1 win at home to Edmonton, James Merriman’s side has failed to win any of their last five games in all competitions. Having initially been very strong at home, Pacific failed to win against bottom four opposition in York and Valour at home, and followed it up with losses away to Ottawa and Forge.
In the offseason, 2021 CPL champions Pacific lost their manager Pa-Modou Kah and many key players like Terran Campbell, Lukas MacNaughton, Kadin Chung, and Alessandro Hojabrpour. With so many big personnel losses, many people suspected that Pacific would struggle this season, so to be where they are in the table is very admirable. But it’s undoubtedly that the team is on a downturn of form, and with two of their next four games coming against high-flying Cavalry, the Vancouver Islanders will be looking to get their season back sooner rather than later.
Winner: Ollie Basset
Of course, we couldn’t leave out reigning CPL player of the month Ollie Basset, who has been instrumental to Ottawa’s recent run of form that has seen the nation’s capital side shoot up the table and now level on points with Pacific ten games in. Basset, a CPL winner with Pacific last year, has been a revelation with Atlético, with the Northern Irish midfielder being a crucial part of everything Ottawa does.
His ability to spread the play and play the crucial forward pass means he’s often the architect of many of Ottawa’s attacking plays, registering sixteen chances so far for his team. In recent games, Basset has added more goals and assists to his total, scoring goals against Forge and Edmonton, and after having played a key role in the opening goal against Pacific, Basset had an assist for Verhoven’s game-winner against the league leader Pacific, which could prove to be crucial to Atlético’s playoff push. If Basset can continue to shine as one of the league’s best midfielders, there’s no telling what Ottawa’s ceiling could be.
Loser: Valour Not Building on Their 6-1 Win at Ottawa
In week three, Valour stunned the Canadian Premier League world by putting six goals past Ottawa in a game where their front four of Moses Dyer, William Akio, Sean Rea, and Alessandro Riggi ran riot, coupled with arguably the league’s best leagues best keeper in Jonathan Sirois. The ceiling for Phillip Dos Santos was looking as high as any other team in the CPL.
Fast forward to week ten, and Valour have managed just seven goals in seven (two coming in a heavy 4-2 home loss to Cavalry) league games, failing to score in two of their four home games – requiring a piece of magic from Sean Rea to beat York 1-0 in a game they were very lucky to win, and a last-minute equalizer to rescue a point against lowly Edmonton. Despite that early promise, this team just isn’t all that high scoring and has been an under-the-radar team so far this season. It’s clear now that 10 weeks in, four points out of a playoff spot with just two wins on the year that the 6-1 win in Ottawa was a complete outlier, and we’re still waiting on the real spark that will kick start Valour’s season.
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