2021 CPL regular season — Match #91
Cavalry FC vs. York United
October 12, 2021 at 7:00 pm MT/9:00 pm ET
ATCO Field in Calgary, Alberta
Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here
Jimmy Brennan’s York United head west for the first time since The Kickoff on Thursday, as they travel to Calgary for a matchup with Cavalry FC.
The Nine Stripes head into this one riding an eight-game unbeaten streak, having won three and drawn five in that stretch. However, dropped points last Friday against Atlético Ottawa combined with a win for HFX Wanderers on the weekend mean that York enter this game in fifth place in the table, one point back of the Wanderers for that final playoff spot. York do have a game in hand, though, so they’ll be keen to pick up a result on Thursday and put themselves back in the driver’s seat for fourth place.
Last time out, York battled right to the end against Ottawa, needing a Jordan Wilson goal in the 92nd minute of play to draw them level after they conceded a penalty kick and fell behind earlier in the half. It was the second straight game in which they scored in the final 15 minutes, having done so to preserve a draw against HFX the previous Sunday.
“There’s an awful lot of urgency. You look at the table now, we win tomorrow and we’re three points behind Cavalry, and they’ve got Halifax next,” Brennan said on Wednesday. “Then all of a sudden they’ve got some pressure on them to go forward… That’s what you want, isn’t it? You want it to come down to the end. We know what’s at stake, we know it’s going to be a difficult match, and it’s about us just continuing to keep plodding along and picking up points where we can, and not drop any.”
Cavalry, on the other hand, sit comfortably in the top three of the league, currently level on points with Forge FC for second place. With a 10-7-5 record, they’re two points back of Pacific FC for the top spot and its valuable home field advantage, which Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s side will be eyeing as we enter the final stretch of the 2021 season.
They’ll be looking to get back in the win column after drawing consecutive games against FC Edmonton and Valour FC, as they try and capitalize on Pacific and Forge’s dropped points to put themselves at the top of the table.
“York are on the chase, Halifax are on the chase, Pacific in that race; from first to fourth place, it’s wide open,” Wheeldon said on Wednesday. “I love it, we had that with the players this week we talked about, this is a phenomenal time to be in when you’re playing for something. This is where the rubber hits the road.”
These two teams met twice in the Winnipeg bubble, with Cavalry taking the first contest, 2-1, in both sides’ first game of the season, before the two played out a 0-0 draw in mid July. Clashes between York and Cavalry have been feisty affairs over the past three years, so look for an entertaining game between foes with a lot on the line late in the season.
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All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSoccer, or on TELUS Optik TV Channel 980.
3 THINGS TO WATCH:
- Battered Cavs leaning on depth: The injury list for Cavalry is extensive heading into this game. Tommy Wheeldon Jr. revealed on Wednesday that Joe Mason, Mason Trafford, Ahinga Selemani, Ali Musse, and Oliver Minatel are all out for Thursday night, with David Norman Jr., Daan Klomp, and José Escalante all hindered with facial injuries as well. Anthony Novak and Mo Farsi might be involved against York, but Wheeldon explained that both players will have to undergo some last-minute testing on Wednesday to determine whether or not they will be fit. However, the good news is that fullback Tom Field has recovered from his long-term injury, having come off the bench last week against Edmonton; he should play a role on Thursday. More than anything else, Cavalry will need big contributions from depth players to help their attack pick up steam. “This is just the time of the season where people are going to get bumped, bruised, and aching,” Wheeldon said. “Games are coming thick and fast, but we go into an exceptional week ahead now.”
- Brennan calls for clinical, ‘selfish’ finishing: York have done well statistically the last few matches, with plenty of possession and shots — they had 20 against Valour, 21 against HFX Wanderers, and 17 against Atlético Ottawa. However, they’ve only won one of those three games. Coach Jimmy Brennan explained on Wednesday that he’s been happy with most things in his side’s performances, but he wants to see them simplify things in the box and take their chances better. Brennan said: “Our possession was very good, our entry into the final third was fantastic. The only thing that I wasn’t happy with — as well as, obviously, conceding — was we got into some great areas but for some reason we didn’t want to shoot. We were looking for that killer pass and you’ve got to be a little bit more selfish when you get into those areas. I felt we built up great through the back into our midfield, we used the space that was given to us, and we had some good movement in the final third but we’ve just got to be a little bit more clinical and be a bit selfish when you get into those areas, and take those shots.”
- Cavs look to thrive in long homestand: After playing seven consecutive league matches away from home, the Cavs are finally in the midst of a long stay at Spruce Meadows. They couldn’t bag three points on Saturday in Al Classico, but they’ll be confident in starting to make the stadium a fortress now, with their next five games all to be played at home. Strong showings on home turf will, of course, help the Cavs secure home field advantage in the playoffs, where they would obviously look to continue that form. After the long road trip, Wheeldon was quite satisfied that his side had managed to stay in afloat in the race for first place, and he’ll now expect them to execute at ATCO Field in order to complete the mission. “There’s something about just being home and being grounded again,” Wheeldon said Wednesday. “We’ve talked about this as almost a bit of a triathlon where we’re in the three bubbles, from Winnipeg where we couldn’t leave, to always being in the airport the last little while, and now to be home in our creature comforts, to be here playing and training at Spruce Meadows, to have our fans on our side again, there’s no place like home, as the famous Dorothy said in the Wizard of Oz.”
Cavalry FC wins: 6 || York United wins: 0 || Draws: 2
July 14, 2021 — York United 0-0 Cavalry FC
“They’re playing a lot of games on free will, they’re exciting. It’s a team, like Edmonton, that we’ve never lost to and we don’t intend to give up any cheap points now.” — Cavalry FC coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.
“We have been, since we’ve come out of the bubble, very difficult to beat. Now it’s just making sure that we continue picking up points, and it’d be nice not to give away easy goals or sloppy goals; we need to clean that up a little bit because we know we’re a side that can score goals.” — York United coach Jimmy Brennan