There’s a new leader atop the Canadian Premier League standings.
Cavalry FC leapfrogged two teams into first place on Wednesday night as they scored early and often en route to a 4-2 victory over Valour FC at IG Field.
Heading into the match, both managers had to make a number of changes to their sides due to unavailable players. Valour boss Phil Dos Santos, forced to work without Andrew Jean-Baptiste (international duty with Haiti), Matthew Catavolo (Canada U-20s), Daryl Fordyce (injury), and Diego Gutierrez (suspension), brought Brett Levis and Moses Dyer into midfield — among other changes. Cavalry, meanwhile, who were missing Jean-Aniel Assi due to Canada U-20 commitments and Karifa Yao to suspension, deployed a nonetheless strong side with Joe Mason and Aribim Pepple in attack.
Entering the match in red-hot form, Cavalry wasted no time taking the reins in this one. They won a corner just three minutes into the match, and Jose Escalante’s in-swinging cross found Aribim Pepple at the back post. Pepple’s attempt to set it back across goal deflected off Valour defender Stefan Cebara and in for an early Cavs lead.
The visitors nearly doubled their advantage just a minute later, as a would-be screamer from Elliot Simmons way outside the box clanged off the goalpost.
From there, the Cavs remained on the front foot. In the 15th minute, they found the net again, as Simmons won a ball in midfield and tapped it to Sergio Camargo, who hit his shot perfectly from distance to beat Jonathan Sirois and make it 2-0.
The rest of the first half proceeded fairly uneventfully, though Cavalry had a couple other decent looks at goal, and ultimately the sides headed to the dressing rooms with the hosts down by two.
Valour boss Phillip Dos Santos sought to change his side a little bit at halftime, adding Alessandro Riggi to the mix in place of Jacob Carlos.
Shortly after the break, Valour found a foothold in the match; the ball flicked upward from traffic in the Cavs’ penalty area, and Chilean striker Walter Ponce struck it sweetly out of the air with an acrobatic overhead kick to make it 2-1 with a highlight-reel goal in off the left post.
The one-goal deficit would not last long, though. Just five minutes later, the Cavs won a free kick just inside the Valour half. José Escalante curled it to the far side of the box with his left foot, finding the head of Daan Klomp — who set it back across goal for Mason Trafford making a run toward goal, and the defender struck it out of the air to score and restore a two-goal lead.
Again the Cavs found the net just four minutes after that, as another set-piece ball into the box found Joe Mason for a flick-on to Pepple — who put it into the net himself this time (after Sirois saved his first effort) for his third goal in as many games to make it 4-1.
From there, the wind seemed to come out of Valour’s sails and both sides made a handful of substitutions to see out the match. The hosts did manage to get on the scoreboard one more time, as one of those substitutes — Matteo De Brienne — surged in from the right flank and put a low shot past Marco Carducci to make it 4-2.
Ultimately, though, the Cavs took care of business for the final stages of play, suffocating their opponents as they closed out a 4-2 away win.
With three more points in the bank, Cavalry climbed ahead of both Pacific FC and Atlético Ottawa, putting them atop the CPL table for the first time this year.
4′ — Stefan Cebara (Valour FC) (Own Goal)
15′ — Sergio Camargo (Cavalry FC)
56′ — Walter Ponce (Valour FC)
60′ — Mason Trafford (Cavalry FC)
64′ — Aribim Pepple (Cavalry FC)
90+3′ — Matteo De Brienne (Valour FC)
38′ — Yellow: Jacob Carlos (Valour FC)
45′ — Yellow: Sergio Camargo (Cavalry FC)
51′ — Yellow: Stefan Cebara (Valour FC)
79′ — Yellow: Federico Peña (Valour FC)