2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #107
Cavalry FC vs. Valour FC
October 2, 2022 at 1:30 pm MT/2:30 pm CT
Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Alberta
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This weekend’s Canadian Premier League schedule closes at Spruce Meadows on Sunday, as Cavalry FC host Valour FC in the ComeOn! Match of the Week.
It’s a match with major implications, as Cavalry would clinch a playoff spot for the fourth consecutive season with a win or draw, while Valour would be eliminated if they fail to pick up all three points on the road. Valour would be eliminated as a result of Pacific FC beating FC Edmonton on Friday — a Valour loss or draw would mean that The Tridents lock up a spot in the postseason as well, and have a chance at retaining the North Star Shield.
This will be the fourth and final regular season meeting between the two sides this season, and easily the most important for Valour. Cavalry won the first two matches, starting with a 2-1 thriller in Calgary in which Stefan Cebara tied things up at 1-1 for Valour in the 89th minute, moments after Myer Bevan gave Cavalry the late lead. It wouldn’t remain tied for very long though as Elijah Adekugbe scored a 92nd minute winner to win back all three points for the home side late on.
Cavalry then went to IG Field in the middle of June, and came away with a 4-2 win. Cebara again scored in that match, although unfortunately into his own goal, giving the visitors an early advantage. Sergio Camargo and Mason Trafford scored on either side of a goal from Valour’s Walter Ponce, before the red-hot (and since-departed) Aribim Pepple made it 4-1 for Cavalry. Matteo de Brienne pulled one back for his side in stoppage time but it was too little too late.
In early August, however, Valour picked up just their second-ever victory over Cavalry. Moses Dyer scored twice in a calamitous defensive performance from Cavalry, taking advantage of two mistakes at the back to lift his side to a massive victory in the middle of what would be their best stretch of the season.
Both sides are coming off losses in their most recent matches, with both of them only scoring from the penalty spot.
After chasing down Pacific FC and getting themselves into the top four, Valour FC have since picked up one of a possible nine points, as the once-surging club has stalled. They lost to HFX Wanderers before a draw with Atletico Ottawa, and most recently losing 3-1 to York United after leading 1-0 early in the match through a Stefan Cebara spot kick.
Sunday’s hosts on the other hand lost at Spruce Meadows last Saturday, a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Ottawa. Jose Escalante scored late to spark some life into Cavalry, but a wondergoal from Ballou Tabla and tallies from Brian Wright and Malcolm Shaw were enough for the visitors to return to the capital with all three points.
Cavs midfielder Charlie Trafford will miss this match through suspension after accumulating eight yellow cards on the season, while Cavalry are also going to be without Camargo after dealing with a “setback” in his injury recovery according to Tommy Wheeldon Jr. Valour won’t have anyone suspended, but Dyer won’t be available as he too is dealing with an injury.
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All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSoccer, or on TELUS Optik TV Channel 980.
3 THINGS TO WATCH
- Cavalry can clinch while Valour fighting for survival: As a result of Pacific FC beating FC Edmonton at Starlight Stadium, the playoff fate of both Cavalry and Valour could be decided on Sunday. Because Pacific won, Valour FC will be eliminated from playoff contention if they either draw or lose Sunday’s match. If the Winnipeggers are victorious, Pacific FC will have a chance to clinch a playoff spot midweek against Forge FC, otherwise it will go down to the final weekend of the season. Should Cavalry win, or the match ends in a stalemate, however, the Calgarians will officially book their spot in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. “We know how valuable three points are at this time of the season, and for us now there’s no choice,” said Valour boss Phillip Dos Santos. “To be talking about anything other than three points would be naïve because with one point we would be eliminated. We have to approach it as a final where it’s a must-win for us.”
- Tight playoff race must-watch for supporters and neutrals alike: The playoff race is coming right down to the final few matches of the season. As mentioned, Valour need a victory to stay alive while Cavalry would clinch a playoff spot if they pick up a result. With five teams still in the race for the top four with just a few matches left in the regular season, the end of the season and playoffs will be must-watch. “I think it’s good for the league, and I’m glad we’re part of it,” Valour FC head coach Phillip Dos Santos told CanPL.ca. “It’s good that we’re in this fight, it’s good that we still have an objective, and we still have a chance to make it. I think good for the league as well, it’s important for the league, that the competition is extended among more teams.” Although in a slightly different position — his side currently hold one of the four coveted playoff spots — Dos Santos’ counterpart Tommy Wheeldon Jr. is also excited about the race to the finish. “Brilliant, it’s exactly what a parity league should look like,” offered Wheeldon Jr. “It’s going to make for an exciting end, it’s going to make for an exciting playoffs. It’s a terrific advert for our league globally.”
- Wheeldon Jr looking to midfield depth during Charlie Trafford suspension: After picking up his eighth yellow card of the season last time out, Cavalry FC midfielder Charlie Trafford has received an automatic two-match suspension, ruling him out of both of Cavalry’s remaining regular season matches. Trafford has been a vital part of Cavalry’s midfield this season, playing nearly every match and serving as an important leader on and off the pitch. He will be missed over these next two matches, and will be available again for the playoffs should Cavalry qualify, but head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr is confident in the team’s depth to fill the gap. “You’ve got similar but in a more attacking profile in Joe Di Chiara, you’ve got similar with a more ball-playing playmaker in Elijah Adekugbe. We’ll have a look and see which we feel is the best tactical nuance. Both could feature, it depends whether they start or finish.”
Cavalry FC wins: 8 || Valour FC wins: 2 || Draws: 3
August 3, 2022 – Valour FC 2-0 Cavalry FC