PREVIEW: Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Cavalry FC (Leg 2) — 2024 TELUS Canadian Championship
Canadian Premier League

2024 TELUS Canadian Championship — Quarter-Final
Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Cavalry FC (Leg 2)
May 21, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. PT / 10:30 p.m. ET
BC Place in Vancouver, BC
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Cavalry FC step onto the turf at BC Place on Tuesday night with a monumental task in front of them. After losing 2-1 at home in the first leg of their Canadian Championship quarter-final against the Vancouver Whitecaps, they travel to BC knowing they need to score at least twice and win in order to advance.

What goes in their favour, however, is the fact that this would not be unprecedented for the CPL club. Back on July 24, 2019 they became the first CPL side to defeat MLS opposition when they beat the Whitecaps 2-1 at BC Place. Canadian international Dominick Zator scored the winner in what remains one of the most significant results in the competition’s history.

“For us and the 2019 comparisons, all it says to us is anything is possible,” said Wheeldon Jr. “And I think that will be the message to the players there. Anything is possible.”

Should history repeat itself on Tuesday, a 2-1 win in regulation for Cavalry would force a penalty shootout, something which happened between these two sides in the quarter-finals of the 2022 edition.  That time, the Whitecaps advanced. Any other result in which Cavalry score at least two and win the match, meanwhile, would see them advance to the semifinals for just the second time in club history.

Tuesday will be the first home match for the Whitecaps since a 0-0 draw on May 4 against Austin FC. They have played their past four matches on the road, including leg one against Cavalry FC in Calgary.

That victory over Cavalry is their only win this month so far, as a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, rescued by a late Ryan Gauld penalty, makes it five straight league matches without a victory. After a strong start to the season, they have dropped to seventh in the MLS Western Conference, with a 5-4-4 record.

It is worth noting that the Whitecaps have another fairly monumental match coming up this weekend at BC Place, as Lionel Messi and Inter Miami visit for the first time this season on Saturday. They then travel to Kansas City for a match on Wednesday so this is quite a busy stretch for the Caps.

“Because of the mad back-to-back-to-back-to-back games, we’re going to do also quite consistent rotation [on Tuesday],” said Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini. “So some other guys that didn’t play Saturday are going to play [on Tuesday], start, and have the chance to impress me and maybe get to start on Saturday [in MLS].”

Cavalry, meanwhile, also drew at the weekend, 2-2 with York United at ATCO Field. They are undefeated in their last five in the league, but only have one victory to show for it and currently sit sixth in the CPL standings.

The Calgary side have yet to pick up a win on the road in 2024, and are winless in four straight away from ATCO Field dating back to the 2023 CPL Final against Forge FC in Hamilton.

The Cavs will again be without midfielder Shamit Shome who is suspended. However, that is the only player that Cavalry is expected to be missing as Ali Musse is back and available for selection which will be a huge boost for the Cavs on Saturday.

Vancouver, meanwhile, continue to be without Canadian international, and Calgarian, Sam Adekugbe as well as Damir Kreilach — although both are close to returning. They will also rest key midfielder Andrés Cubas for this match after he picked up a minor knock against the Seattle Sounders this weekend.

The first leg between the Vancouver Whitecaps and Cavalry FC (Photo: Cavalry FC)


  • Can Cavalry be brave in attack against defensively solid Whitecaps: At half-time of the first leg Cavalry FC coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. challenged his players. For the opening 45 minutes, they had defended the Vancouver Whitecaps very well, undone only by a stoppage-time rocket from Levonte Johnson. Wheeldon Jr., however, was concerned with the other side of the ball, feeling that his side hadn’t been bold enough in going at the Whitecaps backline. They showed better in this sense in the second half, and were eventually rewarded for it with a goal in stoppage time. Knowing that they need at least two on Tuesday, the bravery in attack for Cavalry will have to be at an all-time high should they want to advance. Making things even more difficult is just how good the Caps have been defensively this year, allowing just 15 goals in 13 matches.


  • Whitecaps looking to continue CanChamp home dominance: That 2-1 win for Cavalry FC over Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place in July of 2019 was significant for another reason, it was the last time the Caps lost at home in the Canadian Championship. That includes lifting the trophy the past two years on the BC Place turf. In fact, for the current kings of Canada, they have not lost to a Canadian team at home in all competitions in the past three seasons. That included a 4-0 drubbing of Toronto FC in MLS action back in April. Finding a way to end that run will be a significant challenge for Cavalry FC. “Yeah, it’s very important, you know, especially this season because even the next round if you qualify, it’s going to be home and away,” said Sartini of his club’s home record in Canadian Championship action. “So winning home is the basic to try to go to the next round. So hopefully we’re gonna keep our immaculate record [on Tuesday].”


  • Can Cavalry eliminate costly mistakes?: There is no doubt about it, winning on Tuesday will take a near-perfect performance from Cavalry FC. So far this year against MLS opposition, the biggest thing that has cost them has been their own errors. That was the case again in the opening leg against the Vancouver Whitecaps, where both goals from the MLS side came from rather direct longball attempts which Cavalry did not deal well with. Just about everything about the opening goal they conceded in the first leg, in particular, Cavalry will want to avoid on Tuesday. They stood off a free kick attempt in first-half stoppage time, which Mathías Laborda was able to hit forward, Cavalry’s clearance was directly into the path of Levonte Johnson, who had plenty of space to hit a stunning strike off the post and into the net from distance. Knowing that any goal conceded makes their task even more challenging, Cavalry will need to be absolutely switched on for the entire 90 minutes plus on Tuesday.


Cavalry FC wins: 1 || Vancouver Whitecaps  wins: 2 || Draws: 1

Last meeting:

May 7, 2024 — Cavalry FC 1-2 Vancouver Whitecaps


“The mentality is pretty simple like it showing the picture of [the final]. That celebration, the togetherness and happiness after the final versus Toronto two years ago and after the final against Montreal last year. And for a lot of the guys that were lucky enough to be in both the games those are probably the best memories as a Whitecaps player. So, that would be fantastic to do three and it really only happens if we’re going to win, qualify, [on Tuesday]. So that’s the first thing we know, everyone knows in the organization that the Canadian Championship is a very important tournament for us. So I don’t think there’s the risk to not consider the game important or any less important than it actually is — Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Vanni Sartini

“I’d like us to be braver and bolder, but we played them very very well and they were in a good run of form. So what we’ve got to do is take that spirit and apply it to this one and let’s try to catch them out.” — Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.