With less than ten games to go, we’re officially at the business end of the season. Teams are becoming officially eliminated, teams will soon be securing playoff spots and at the same time fine-tuning their squads ahead of the playoffs. As we head into this final stretch, let’s take a look at the winners and losers once again from the last five rounds of fixtures.
Winner: Woobens Pacius and Terran Campbell
With Alejandro Diaz’s departure from Pacific, the spot for CPL top scorer is very much up for grabs and hot in the race for the Golden Boot is twenty-one-year-old Forge striker Woobens Pacius. After a slow start of just three goals in the first twelve games, Pacius has been on fire since with seven goals in eight games, propelling him up the scoring charts.
A big part of that has been his chemistry with teammate Terran Campbell. Campbell has also been very productive lately with four goals and an assist in his last six games, and with these two firing – Forge has been a force to be reckoned with and will go into the final stretch of the season brimming with confidence.
Winner: Martin Nash and York United’s Uptick In Form
Things were looking incredibly bleak for York, the sale of Abzi culminated with the defence becoming very leaky which combined with a lacklustre strike force meant that Martin Nash had to act. Recently York has experimented with different lineups, and to his credit, it has translated to an upturn in fortunes.
Since losing 2-0 at home to rivals Forge, York United has played in 3-4-1-2, 3-4-2-1, and 4-2-3-1 formations to adapt to their opponents and get more production up front. Since then they have scored thirteen goals in seven games, in contrast to eleven goals beforehand in fourteen. It’s too late for playoffs, but recently York has been involved in two 4-2 thrillers, a 3-2, and a memorable 3-1 derby win away to Forge. York has now won four of their last six. After a brutal run of form, Martin Nash looks like he’s bringing fun back to York Lions Stadium
Winner: The Title Race
This one I feel like goes without saying, especially because it almost comes across that every time one of Pacific, Forge, a Cavalry, or Ottawa win – they go top of the league! The four teams have all taken swipes at the top spot, and recently we were even treated to a weekend that saw Cavalry vs Forge and Pacific vs Ottawa which could both be dress rehearsals for the playoffs.
Between now and the end of the season, we have a mouth-watering EIGHT more matchups involving two of these four sides, and if it’s anything like the matchups in Week 19, then we will be in for a lot of fun!
Loser: Cavalry and the league schedule
Through their first fourteen games, Cavalry had lost just twice and was on an eleven-game unbeaten streak…then game a run if six games in twenty-one days. Cavalry lost at home to a York side that hasn’t won since week five and followed it up with defeats against title rivals Pacific and Forge and Ottawa which have taken them from being clear at the top to being in the midst of a four-way dog fight.
The hardest part of the schedule is over for Tommy Wheedon Jr’s men, but it can’t be understated just how bad their form was. In six games, Cavalry’s usually tight defence conceded eleven goals and scored just three times, with two of those goals coming in their sole win over Edmonton. They can at least point to four of their last seven being at home though as a reason to be cheerful.
Up The North! HFX Wanderers, Stephen Hart – FC13 Podcast
Loser: Valour’s playoff hopes
While the title race is enthralling, we need to take a minute to take a look at a team on the outside looking in that appears to be quickly running out of time if they want to gate crash the playoff dance. Following a 2-0 win at home to Cavalry, the Winnipegers has their tails up and were closing in on the fourth spot, and with games coming up against lower opposition they had a real chance to break into that spot. Valour started well with a 3-1 win away to York United, but since then they have shot themselves in the foot against HFX and Edmonton.
Against a Wanderers side that was winless in six games, Valour dropped three crucial points as they lost 1-0. Then against bottom of the league Edmonton, Valour again dropped points as they could only muster a 1-1 draw at home – making it now six dropped points this season against the Eddies. The three-game stretch against York, HFX and Edmonton was supposed to be a stretch where Valour would really turn the screw and possibly break into the top four, instead, they are left with a seven-point mountain to climb. With three consecutive games next against Pacific and Forge, Valour’s season could be over very quickly if they’re not careful.
Loser: Pacific’s attacking options
Since winning the CPL last season; Pacific has lost their manager Pa-Modou Kah and first-team players Kadim Chung, Lukas MacNaughton, Terran Campbell, Ollie Basset, and Alessandro Hojabrpour. Despite all these high-profile departures Pacific have been flying high this season at the top of the table, in big help thanks to the league-leading thirteen goals from striker Alejandro Díaz. Then on august 10th, Diaz was sold to the Norwegian side Sogndal for $200,000 plus add-ons.
Financially this is great for Pacific, but Diaz was the focal point of their attack and provided creative players like Marco Bustos, Josh Heard, and Gianni dos Santos with the perfect out-ball. Pacific doesn’t have any like-for-like replacements for him and has been making do with either Djenairo Daniels or Josh Heard up front. Time will tell how much they’ll miss Díaz, but so far one goal in three games is not a good sign.
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