PREVIEW: Cavalry FC vs. Atlético Ottawa — 2024 Match #41
Canadian Premier League

2024 CPL Regular Season — Match #41
Cavalry FC vs. Atlético Ottawa
June 21, 2024 at 7 p.m. MT/9 p.m. ET
ATCO Field in Calgary, Alberta
Watch Live: & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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Under the Friday night lights at ATCO Field in Calgary, the Canadian Premier League weekend kicks off with a heavyweight bout as the 2023 CPL Shield winners Cavalry FC host top of the table Atlético Ottawa.

For the first time in 2024 in CPL action, Atlético Ottawa are coming off a loss, as they suffered their first defeat of the campaign 2-1 this past Saturday at home against York United. The team arguably put in a good enough performance to win, but now the challenge will be making sure that the result doesn’t compound and ruin the team’s significant positive momentum.

Meanwhile, Cavalry have not lost since the season’s opening day against Forge, but with seven draws in their last nine matches, including a 0-0 against Vancouver FC on Sunday in Kelowna during the CPL on Tour match, they have eight fewer points than Atleti this season. The Cavs, however, have lost just one of their last 21 CPL regular season matches at home, so will have plenty of confidence heading into Friday’s clash.

We are really excited for the matchup and being back to play them.” said Cavalry FC manager Tommy Wheeldon Jr. “I think you’ve seen in big games, whether that be against the Whitecaps or Forge, our guys have liked to rise to the occasion, there’s no better than playing the first place in the league.” 

Atlético Ottawa, however, have unquestionably been the exception to the rule of home-team dominance across the league so far this season, as they have already collected three wins on the road in four matches in 2024. No other team in the league has more than a single win away from home this season, while Cavalry still have not won away from home.

Atleti were the only team that beat Cavalry at ATCO Field in CPL action this past season, and have won four of their five all-time trips to the stadium. Cavalry, meanwhile, have just three all-time victories, and eight losses, against the capital club in 13 all-time meetings.

One Atleti player who will be particularly excited to return to Calgary is Ballou Tabla. The 25-year-old’s last trip to ATCO Field saw him score one of the best goals the league has ever seen. He also has two goals and an assist against the Cavs in five matches, and has not lost any of them.

The two sides played to a 1-1 drawback on April 20, with a late own goal from Kris Twardek cancelling out a goal from Amer Didić.

The challenge for Cavalry on Friday will get bigger based on availability. Ali Musse, William Akio, Bradley Kamdem, Charlie Trafford and Mael Henry are all out for the match, while Sergio Camargo is doubtful. Musse, according to Wheeldon Jr., might be out until August, while Akio had an MRI that “doesn’t look good” after playing just 13 minutes against Vancouver FC at the Apple Bowl this past weekend, in which he had to be removed after being subbed into the game.

Atlético Ottawa, meanwhile, are fairly healthy, with only missing captain Max Tissot, while Kevin dos Santos remains out long-term.

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  • Can Atlético Ottawa avoid back-to-back losses after first of 2024?: Two years ago, when Atlético Ottawa were Canadian Premier League regular season winners in Carlos González’s first year in charge, one of the biggest keys was their ability to bounce back from losses. They never lost back-to-back matches the entire 2022 season in the league, and it was that consistency of result that handed them the title. As they lead the table again a third of the way through 2024, they know how big not dropping back-to-back games is to championship success. “I think this is a key aspect,” said Atlético Ottawa head coach Carlos González. “This means that the team has to show the type of personality and the type of team that we are made of. After defeats, after bad moments is when we have to show our best version, the personality that everybody has and try to win again. I think this is important so that the ghosts of the defeat don’t stay too much time inside of us and we can continue in our great dynamic.”


  • Amer Didić adding yet another offensive threat for Atleti: One of the biggest positives for Atlético Ottawa this wekeend against Atlético Ottawa was the continued offensive contributions of central defender Amer Didić. The 29-year-old scored a composed effort in the box in the 69th minute, and forced an outstanding save from Thomas Vincensini with a thunderous strike from distance. He has brought a different element to the Atleti attack this year, and with already a league-leading 18 goals this season, this wealth of attacking options is a big reason they are top of the table. “I think that once we signed Amer we knew that we were growing a lot in our set pieces and in other parts of our attack that maybe we were lacking in previous seasons. We are happy, we are happy to have other players that they are also adding in set pieces, like Zapater is here. But Amer is a top player, he gives us a lot of solutions in this type of play, and also he has a really hard shot from long-distance, he is able to create chances in this type of situation.”


  •  Cavalry will test depth with significant injury issues: With the season entering the summer months, the medical room is filling up for the Cavs. Tommy Wheeldon Jr. had a laundry list that he mentioned of injury players that he mentioned during the pre-match press conference on Friday. As a result, they will need other players to step up in key roles. With Camargo out, Lucas Dias will continue to play an important role in creating attacks through the central channels, something he struggled at times to do on the narrow pitch in Kelowna. Atleti have shown a few gaps through the middle in recent weeks, however, and Dias “It’s mounting up, not going to lie,” said Wheeldon Jr. of his club’s injury situation. “It’s probably a part of the season where we are going to have to rely on next man up. Especially in our attack. Musse probably won’t return until August, Maël Henry has just returned to training now, hasn’t featured yet, Willy Akio we are just getting the MRI results back but doesn’t look good. Sergio Camargo is 50/50 after coming out against Forge, but like I said it’s next man up.”



Cavalry FC: Carducci; Field, Klomp, Kobza, Aird; Daley, Gutiérrez; Shome, Dias, Brooks; Warschewski

Atlético Ottawa: Ingham; de Brienne, Didić, Singh, Twardek; Bassett, Zapater, Aparicio, Antinoro; Tissot, del Campo


Cavalry FC wins: 3 || Atlético Ottawa wins: 8 || Draws: 2

Last meeting:

Apr. 20, 2024 — Atlético Ottawa 1-1 Cavalry FC


“There was a reason why we went deep with our squad, because when you have a bit of a marathon here, you’ve got to have the next man up syndrome. It hurts to not have good players available, but it’s an opportunity for others to take it. That’s what we are using right now as we go through this part of the season.”  — Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.

Cavalry is a team that maintains their identity, it doesn’t matter the players that play… we know that Cavalry it doesn’t matter the players that play or start in the eleven. They always give a very competitive image of the team, and they are a very tough team to beat.”  — Atlético Ottawa head coach Carlos González