The second week of the Canadian Premier League season has come to a close, and once again, it was an incredibly interesting week. Here’s how things shake down after two weeks, and a Canadian Championship window.
8. York United
Last Match: Vs. Vancouver – Loss (1-2)
Last Ranking: 7th
Average Vote: 8
Next Match: @ Atlético Ottawa
It’s a last-place vote from every single one of the 13th Man Sports contingent this week for York United, but it isn’t just on the field that they are taking losses. The news of their ownership broke, but not before the club dropped a match to expansion side, Vancouver FC 2-1. York is the only team in the CPL to lose a game so far this season, and having already lost a pair of decisions, they have really started behind the eight ball, especially by dropping games to Valour and Vancouver, who were anticipated to be among the weakest sides in the league. Their lives are only going to get more difficult in their next three matchups, meeting Ottawa, Forge, and then Pacific. It’s not must win this early, of course, but it’s damn near critical that they find a way to salvage something from those three contests.
7. Vancouver FC
Last Match: @ York United – Win (2-1)
Last Ranking: 8th
Average Vote: 6.375
Next Match: @ HFX Wanderers
Just scoring their first goal would have probably been enough for Vancouver FC supporters to take some kind of positive approach to their game at York, but scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes before hanging on to win their first match in club history sure was better. Who other than Shaan Hundal would you have expected to the team off the ground? He was all over the pitch in their opening games, including the Canadian Championship, but finally, he was able to break through. Despite being blown away in a handful of statistical categories, Vancouver did just enough, and now sit third in the table. Still, it wasn’t enough to impress here, but if they can continue winning games, or at least be competitive in them, they should rise through the rankings as time goes on.
6. Atlético Ottawa
Last Match: @ Valour FC – Draw (1-1)
Last Ranking: 5th
Average Vote: 5.75
Next Match: Vs. York United
After such an impressive 2022 season, there was a lot of hype around Ottawa for this Atlético team. So far this season, it’s hard to say there has been any carryover. Yes, they took down HFX Wanderers at a neutral site Canadian Championship game a week after a tough draw to the Atlantic Coast outfit, but against Valour, they once again conceded early, forcing themselves to chase the game a little bit. For a club that employs a defence-first mentality, very rarely committing men forward, Atlético has been very disappointing when it comes to starting games. In all three of their games thus far, including the Canadian Championship, they have conceded a goal in the first 20 minutes. If they want a legitimate chance at winning the league title, that will need to change. Like everyone else, no need to panic just yet, especially not when you’re within a single game of everyone in the table.
5. Valour FC
Last Match: Vs. Atlético Ottawa – Draw (1-1)
Last Ranking: 4th
Average Vote: 4.875
Next Match: @ Cavalry FC
It might seem crazy that Valour actually fell a spot in these rankings, but when you take into account their Canadian Championship loss to League 1 B.C. side TSS Rovers, it begins to make a little bit more sense. Putting that game behind them, they came out at IG Field against Ottawa and immediately made something happen, as Diego Gutiérrez found the back of the goal in the third minute, but Valour couldn’t hold onto the game, concerning just under 30 minutes later. Both teams traded chances back and forth, and Valour had their chance of winning, but just couldn’t make it happen. For now, a middle-of-the-pack ranking seems very fitting for this team, but a little more consistency from them would go a long way to working their way up.
S. 2 Ep. 21: Canada Doing What Canada Does – FC13 Podcast
4. HFX Wanderers
Last Match: @ Forge FC – Draw (1-10
Last Ranking: 6th
Average Vote: 4.125
Next Match: Vs. Vancouver FC
Although HFX Wanderers are out of the Canadian Championship, their early form this season has been incredibly impressive, especially considering the vast off-season changes they made. Earning a point away to both Ottawa and Forge should provide a massive boost for Halifax, who get to play their first game in front of their fans next week against Vancouver. With the thoughts from pundits mainly painting questions about the Wanderers ahead of the season, they have proven many people wrong thus far. A youthful squad with nothing to lose has been really fun to watch so far.
3. Forge FC
Last Match: Vs. HFX Wanderers – Draw (1-1)
Last Ranking: 2nd
Average Vote: 3.375
Next Match: @ Pacific FC
It hasn’t been a perfect start for Forge so far this season. A draw to Cavalry in their first game and a draw with HFX in their second match sandwiched a throttling win over Laval in the Canadian Championship, but in CPL action, Forge are still yet to hold a lead. They were mere minutes away from dropping their contest against the Wanderers, but Woobens Pacius found an equalizer. Forge shouldn’t be doubted going forward in the season, we know what they are all about, but Bobby Smyrniotis is probably a little disappointed with the start.
2. Pacific FC
Last Match: Vs Cavalry FC – Draw (1-1)
Last Ranking: 3rd
Average Vote: 2.125
Next Match: Vs. Forge FC
At this point, you can only be impressed with how Pacific seems to be able to manage losing players every single season. Against Cavalry in their second game, they dominated the play, not allowing a single shot on target, only concerning on an early own goal. They fired 22 shots toward goal, with six testing the keeper, but in the end, they couldn’t snatch all three points. If Pacific supporters have any concerns with their team right now, it’s actually finishing their chances. The shots are coming, with 38 in their two CPL games, but finding the back of the net needs to be their focus.
1. Cavalry FC
Last Match: @ Pacific – Draw (1-1)
Last Ranking: 1st
Average Vote: 1.375
Next Match: Vs. Valour FC
For the second week in a row, Cavalry find themselves at the top of the rankings, but still fourth in the actual table. Points on the road against Forge and Pacific have left the 13th Man Sports staff impressed, although José Escalante’s antics haven’t had quite the same impact. Regardless, the start to the season for Cavalry has been incredibly impressive, but they will need to avoid repeat efforts like the one that caused them to nearly lose control in Langford, but they were able to reel things back in and hold on. Foot soldiers, you should be in for a fun weekend.
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