Canadian Premier League — Match #70 FC Edmonton vs. Cavalry FC September 11, 2019 — Clarke Field (9 p.m. ET/7 p.m. MT) Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca
The CPL’s second local derby in less than a week kicks off on Wednesday, as Cavalry FC and FC Edmonton prepare to meet for the fourth (and perhaps the most pivotal yet) Al Classico contest of 2019.
Cavalry recently slipped out of first place in the CPL’s Fall standings, as Forge FC’s 905 Derby win on Sunday gave them a one-point cushion over their Calgary-based foes. The Cavs, with one more game played than Forge heading into this midweek slate, are still sitting pretty right now on the back of last Monday’s 8-0 thrashing of Valour FC. Their attack came alive in Winnipeg after a pair of stunted performances against Forge and Pacific FC.
Still in the hunt for that Fall championship is FC Edmonton, who sit in third place, six points behind Cavalry. On the same day that their Alberta rivals were putting eight goals past Valour, the Eddies played to a cagey 0-0 away draw with HFX Wanderers FC. FCE drew their previous match as well, a 2-2 contest with York9 FC where the Nine Stripes stole a point with a bizarre late equalizer. This match has massive Fall season implications for Edmonton, who’d risk falling too far behind Cavalry if they lose at home.
The next hurdle for both these teams will be Pacific FC. The Eddies will travel to Westhills Stadium to play the Van Isle club this Saturday, September 14 (3:00 p.m. ET, 12:00 p.m. PT, on OneSoccer), while Cavalry will sit out until Sunday, September 22, when the Tridents visit them at Spruce Meadows (3:30 p.m. ET, 1:30 p.m. MT, on OneSoccer).
KEYS TO THE MATCH
Break the line: FC Edmonton’s attack has been much more potent in the Fall than it was in the Spring (in no small part due to Easton Ongaro’s emergence as a lethal scoring threat). Their Labour Day draw with HFX, however, was an anomalous toothless showing, with just one shot for the Eddies. They’ve also never scored a goal against Cavalry in three attempts; now would be the perfect time for them to open the taps and show the league that they’re right in this fight for the Fall title. An early goal could get the monkey off their backs.
Don’t rest on your laurels: Speaking of making a statement, that’s exactly what Cavalry did in their 8-0 blowout of Valour FC after a couple outings below their usual standard. They were happy to reclaim the throne as the CPL’s most in-form side, which they may well still be, but the four points Forge picked up since then have put pressure on Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s side to match. Yes, Cavalry is already locked into a CPL Championship spot as the Spring title winners, but to be the undisputed top dog they need to continue to dominate.
Goalkeeping change: With Marco Carducci away with the Canadian men’s national team, Cavalry will turn to their No. 2 ‘keeper, Niko Giantsopoulos. Fortunately for the Cavs, the 25-year-old shot stopper has been solid in all his opportunities for the club, including the clean sheet he kept in the last Al Classico in August. Still, it’s not unheard of for defenders to play slightly differently with someone other than their usual keeper calling out orders from the back.
FC Edmonton: Connor James; Allan Zebie, Mélé Temguia, Amer Didic, Jeannot Esua; Ramon Soria, James Marcelin, Ajay Khabra, Ajeej Sarkaria; Easton Ongaro, Oumar Diouck