2021 CPL regular season — Match #84
Valour FC vs. Cavalry FC
October 5, 2021 at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT
IG Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here
A matchup with some heated recent history will play out again on Tuesday night, as Cavalry FC make their final trip to IG Field in 2021 to take on Valour FC once again.
The Cavs enter this tilt to close out a seven-game road trip in CPL play, over which they’ve won three, drawn one, and lost two so far. On the season as a whole, Cavalry still sit second in the table with a 10-5-5 record and 35 points, which puts them one point ahead of Forge FC and four back of Pacific FC. Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s side have been out of action since last Wednesday, when they made a successful trip to beat FC Edmonton away from home — although a squandered two-goal lead nearly proved costly until Daan Klomp’s late goal secured all three points.
“We obviously want to be that team (at home in the playoffs), but we also have to put everything into context, hence why I’ve used earlier about just being in the peloton,” Wheeldon said on Monday. “The good thing is, we get to play Pacific, we get to play Forge, we get to play York and Halifax, so everything for us, the schedule now looks favourable once we’ve finished this game against Valour so we’re actually quite excited and we’ve got a good squad that can have a go.”
Meanwhile, Valour are still adjusting to life under Phillip Dos Santos, who will be at the helm for his fourth game in charge of the Winnipeg club despite taking over just 12 days before Tuesday’s match. They’re still chasing their first win under the new manager, having lost the first two before picking up a point against FC Edmonton on Saturday. Dos Santos has seen his side improve in each game so far, but they’d like to start picking up three points especially with just three home games remaining.
Valour remain outside the playoff picture as it stands, currently sixth place with a 7-3-11 record. Their 24 points see them six behind York United for that valuable final playoff position; Valour aren’t out of it yet, but they need to pick up results quickly if they’re to turn it around.
“I think that progress is not on the pitch only; it’s important to see the progress on the pitch but it’s also important to see the progress that’s happening around the team and I feel that every day there’s growth,” Dos Santos said after their last match against the Eddies. “I go back to that first game we played with conceding so many chances to the opposition and so many shots… I think that we’re doing a better job keeping things tight, keeping things compact, eliminating distance between our lines, we’re dealing better with the space in behind.”
These sides have met three times already this year, with Cavalry winning two and settling for a 1-1 draw in the previous outing. Their matchups have been particularly intense — 23 yellow cards have been handed out over the three games, plus one red. The tackles have come in fast and heavy in each game, with some real animosity starting to build between these two clubs. With plenty left for each side to play for, don’t expect any different this time around.
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!
All CPL matches are available to stream on OneSoccer, or on TELUS Optik TV Channel 980.
3 THINGS TO WATCH:
- Keep emotions in check: As mentioned already, the games between these two sides have been feisty, to say the least, this season. Cavalry’s 1-0 win at IG Field in early September was a little out of control, with 11 yellow cards in that match alone, plus Rocco Romeo’s straight red in the 98th minute of proceedings. The more recent meeting, a 1-1 draw, didn’t feature quite as many bookings (still five, though), but the total foul tally — 23 for Cavalry, 19 for Valour — speaks volumes again about how physical the game was. It’s critical that both sides manage their emotions and tempers this time to avoid anything rash; neither can afford for this game to get out of hand or turn into more of a boxing match than a soccer game. Intensity and hostility are good, but losing control can doom a team. “It’s an interesting one, they keep trying to pick on us,” quipped Cavalry boss Tommy Wheeldon Jr. on Monday. “I’m not sure who the official is, but they will definitely have their hands full come gameday tomorrow… As good as our record is at IG Field against them, we’re not going to take them lightly because they’re a team that likes possession, they’re a team that plays physical, and we’ve got to be prepared for that.”
- Cavs finally closing road trip: Cavalry have been through quite a taxing stretch recently with this seven-game road trip, but they’ve come out of it in decent shape so far — three wins from six, plus another draw, is nothing to sniff at in a league where playing away from home has proven to be very difficult. By now, they’ve played far more games this year at IG Field in Winnipeg than at ATCO Field. With just this one last away date before the Cavs play six of their last seven at Spruce Meadows, they’ll be very keen on ending the trip on a high before they return to play their first home league match since August. The message from Cavalry all season has been about just sticking around the playoff positions to give themselves a chance at the end of the year — which they certainly have done. Cavalry’s Wheeldon explained “We’re battle-hardened now for being on the road, we’ve got a decent away record and we’ve been able to get some good wins on the road. We’ve had a couple of losses which in the grand scheme of things is expected to happen, we’ve only lost five games in 20 games and when you’ve only played four home games the whole 20-game period we’ve had is bizarre, but that’s just the nature of the world we live in, so we’re looking forward to getting this game done.”
- Valour still seeking game-over-game improvement: Valour have looked slightly better in each successive game they’ve played under Phillip Dos Santos, and that’s a trend they’d undoubtedly like to continue on Tuesday. They let FC Edmonton back into the game on Saturday after a good start, so perhaps the next step is closing things out and staying on the front foot for as close to 90 minutes as possible. Dos Santos said on Saturday that he’s got a clear picture in his mind of what he envisions for the side, but executing that is much easier said than done. “I’m not trying to figure out what we want to be about, I know exactly what I want the team to look like,” Dos Santos explained after the draw with Edmonton. “Yes, I inherited a team that had already played close to 20 games but I never looked back, I looked at the individuals and I looked if we could maximize their potential inside what my ideas of a team and my ideas of the game are, and what I want to see in this team going forward.”
Valour FC wins: 0 || Cavalry FC wins: 6 || Draws: 2
Sept. 18, 2021 — Valour FC 1-1 Cavalry FC
“We have to come into the game on Tuesday with the same mentality and work the team in a way that in these moments, that are defining moments like the chances that we get one-on-one against a goalkeeper, we’re able to capitalize and win soccer matches like that.” — Valour FC head coach Phillip Dos Santos after Saturday’s game vs. FCE
“Every time there’s a change in coaching there might be a little spark that’s a little bit different, so we’ve got to be prepared for that.” — Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.