Cavalry FC picked up their first win of the season, and dealt league-leaders Pacific their first loss, in a thrilling 2-0 home opener victory at Spruce Meadows. Ali Musse and Joe Mason provided the goals, while Marco Carducci kept a clean sheet in his first start of the season.
Cavalry manager Tommy Wheeldon Jr. said in his pre-match media availability that his side would be up for this match, and they wasted no time demonstrating that fact.
Jose Escalante’s sliding effort kept the ball from crossing the end line, and after Joe Mason’s effort was stopped by Callum Irving, Escalante deftly picked out Ali Musse. Musse’s cool first-time finish was his second goal of the season and gave Cavalry a 1-0 lead just 75 seconds into the match.
Pacific woke up quickly after that, however. They won several fouls in the Cavalry half, resulting in set-piece opportunities. A tough challenge from Fraser Aird in the 23rd minute led to a booking, and both sides congregated at midfield to sort out their differences.
But while they enjoyed 67% of possession in the first half, Pacific was caught holding onto the ball for too long in the 37th minute. Former Cavalry fullback Nathan Mavila was disposed by Jean-Aniel Assi outside his own box, and the young winger slipped in Joe Mason. Cavalry’s leading goalscorer in 2022 made no mistake, as his shot proved too powerful for Irving in the Pacific net. Cavalry’s 2-0 lead heading into half-time matched their goal output from their first three games of the season.
Pacific FC was once again on the front foot to start the second half, but Carducci had the answer to any question they asked him in the Cavalry net. He first caught a looping volley from Marco Bustos, before denying Pacific’s danger man from point-blank in the 61st minute.
Carducci made four saves and three clearances in an impressive return to action, having spent the first three matches of the season on the bench recovering from testicular cancer. As was the theme throughout the match, Pacific was unable to turn their second-half possession into any further dangerous chances.
The win saw Cavalry leapfrog rival FC Edmonton at the bottom of the table, who they will meet on Friday in the first Al Clasico of the season. Pacific, on the other hand, leaves Alberta without scoring a goal, as they were also shut out on Wednesday in Edmonton.
2′ — Ali Musse (Cavalry FC)
37′ — Joe Mason (Cavalry FC)
23′— Yellow: Fraser Aird (Cavalry FC)
45+3′ — Yellow: Joe Mason (Cavalry FC)
52′ — Yellow: Nathan Mavila (Pacific FC)
60′ — Yellow: David Norman Jr. (Cavalry FC)
86′ — Yellow: Sean Young (Pacific FC)