2021 CPL regular season — Match #97
Cavalry FC vs. Pacific FC
October 21, 2021 at 6 pm PT/ 7 pm MT
ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Alberta
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Fans are in for some thrilling mid-week action in the Canadian Premier League as Cavalry FC host Pacific FC on Thursday evening.
With the playoffs looming, three crucial points are up for grabs as first and second in the table battle it out at ATCO Field. Whoever comes out on top will be guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. A draw, however, does little for either team.
The hosts will be hoping to find their scoring touch after a 0-0 draw with HFX Wanderers earlier this week. Cavalry had 14 shots with six on target throughout the match. Coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s side are currently unbeaten in five matches and can leapfrog Pacific into first place with a win.
The visitors, meanwhile, enter Thursday’s match after bouncing back from two consecutive losses with a 3-2 win over Valour FC. Coach Pa-Modou Kah’s side currently holds a one-point lead over their upcoming opponents. Despite their recent struggles, continuing their late-season push for the playoffs remains their priority.
The all-time series between these two sides within the CPL is currently split down the middle leaving bragging rights also up for grabs. Additionally, Cavalry and Pacific previously faced off in the Canadian Championship quarterfinals back in September with the Tridents coming out on top 1-0.
Historically speaking, matches between Cavalry FC and Pacific FC are exciting contests. Besides one 0-0 draw in August, their last four meetings in the CPL have at least two goals. Cavalry’s Joe Mason (5) plus Pacific FC’s Alejandro Diaz and Terran Campbell (nine each) are the top scorers in this fixture for their respective sides.
After this upcoming match, Kah and Wheeldon face off once more in the regular season on November 7. As such, both matches are two of Cavalry’s final three regular-season home games while they remain as the final two road matches for Pacific.
Make your match picks prior to kickoff at canpl.ca/predictor for a chance to win prizes, including the grand prize of a trip to the 2021 CPL Final!
3 THINGS TO WATCH:
- Limiting attacking threats key for both teams: Both Cavalry and Pacific have talented attacking players in their squads which the rival defences will need to keep an eye on. When asked if Pacific can stifle Cavalry star Mo Farsi’s threat down the wing, Kah is confident Jordan Haynes can limit his influence. “We all know Farsi is a threat but so far, I think we’ve had him under control and I think Haynes has done a fantastic job,” he said. “Farsi also has to worry about Josh [Heard] on the defensive side as well. For us, we’re looking at all the areas to exploit him.” Meanwhile, Heard, Terran Campbell and Alejandro Diaz were back to their best against Valour in addition to the return of Marco Bustos. Cavalry’s defence, who have only conceded four goals in their last five games, will need to be on high alert.
- Tactical battle between Kah and Wheeldon: As familiar foes, Cavalry and Pacific know the ins and outs of one another which leaves both coaches completing plenty of prep work. In their last meeting, Kah likened playing against Wheeldon as a “chess match” and this upcoming fixture possesses the same underlying theme. Determining the correct substitutions and appropriate tactical adjustments could see one of these sides better the other. Prior to kick-off, both coaches admitted the match could come down to mistakes. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our battles because you know how they’re going to play, they know how we’re going to play and it does come down to moments of magic, mistakes, or just that little bit of a maverick set play or something,” said Wheeldon. “We’ve played against each other so much and I think you know the ins and outs and now it comes down to the finer details of mistakes, which will probably be deciding the fact of this game,” added Kah. “It’s also a little nice rivalry because it’s two sides that enjoy playing against each other … There’s always a great battle.”
- Playoff spot important, but not the focus: Despite being a top-table clash, both coaches emphasized their determination to claim all three points rather than focusing their attention on securing a spot in the playoffs. In matches as tense as these, focusing on the task at hand remains the priority. “In a slew of games that we’ve had, you can never take your eye off the next game, the next game just happens to be a title clash. And it’s one that we’ve looked at and we’re like, ‘This is why we play the game,’ said Wheeldon. “We’re in the running, we are four games away from the season ending and as thick and as congested as it’s been, this is the exciting time of year … I think what we’ve got to do first is concentrate on achieving three points. In order to do so we’ve got to put forward our best foot at home with the players that we have available and with that it’s one that we’re looking forward to.” Kah echoed the same idea. “What I’ve learned in football, being [in it] for 20 years, is just plan for the next day because you never know what can happen, just like in life … In 10 days I will worry about Toronto [FC], but for now, my focus is on Cavalry,” he said. “I look at the standings after 28 games. Right now the main focus is just going in there, playing our game [and] trying to get three points … It’s just another game that we have to focus on because there is a high-quality opposition so we want to relish and enjoy this battle.”
Pacific FC wins: 4 || Cavalry FC wins: 4 || Draws: 2
September 9, 2021 — Pacific FC 3-1 Cavalry FC
“We’re looking at this seven-point week if we take the three points against Pacific who I said, they’ve had a terrific [season]. For me, the league table never lies. They are at the top of it, they are the best team right now and it’s up to us to take over that mantle and that happens tomorrow night.” — Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.
“It’s been a month where we haven’t seen each other so it’s like a little bit of a reunion coming together. But definitely, it’s a game which will be a huge factor for the standings of the league. I know that they’re going to come in firing … We are going to expect the squad is going to come in on full power so we also have to be ready, and we are ready for that, and we also have to go out and attack the game.” — Pacific FC head coach Pa-Modou Kah