CALGARY — Marco Carducci couldn’t have dreamt of a better start to the Canadian Premier League season.
A quick glance at the standings shows his Cavalry FC at the top of the table with a 3-0-0 record, two points clear of second place with two games in hand.
“We’re pleased with the way we started,” the goalkeeper recently told CanPL.ca. “With the spring season being only 10 games, getting off to an early start can be a huge advantage. We’re still trying to focus on one game at a time because that’s been the key to our success so far.”
Two of those victories have been heart-stopping, too, with Jose Escalante netting a game-winner late against Valour FC in the second game of the season and Nico Pasquotti playing the role of injury time hero in the recent Cavs 2-1 finish in Hamilton against Forge FC.
“It would be nice to have a more comfortable win,” he admitted. “But, obviously, if it was going to be easy, it wouldn’t be happening. And it just shows the parity in the league and the intensity of the league. For me, I just need to concentrate on doing my job — giving the one save we might need to keep it scoreless or to provide an extra save to keep the lead. That’s my focus, and I have full faith in what our guys can do.”
One of the now not-so-secret weapons in Calgary early this spring campaign is the group’s chemistry, likely stemming from last year’s PDL Championship as members of Foothills FC. Ten players on the current Cavs roster hoisted the trophy, including Carducci, who was a key contributor.
“That time we spent together is something you can’t replicate,” he explained. “It’s hard to bring a group of guys together in a short amount of time and build that culture, that chemistry, so that’s a big advantage for us. Knowing each other, knowing the culture, communication, we can use that to get a step ahead.”
For the 22-year-old ‘keeper, it’s been a strong showing on an individual level with seven saves through 270 minutes, a clean sheet and the second fewest goals conceded. However, he’s quick to credit the players in front of him for helping out with the workload.
“The entire back line including some of the more defensive midfielders have helped win games through being solid defensively as a team effort,” Carducci said. “Having Dominick Zator and Jay Wheeldon in front of me, it’s that chemistry we’ve talked about from Foothills. We played a lot of minutes together last year. We’ve built that camaraderie together, holding each other to a high standard collectively. We’re all working toward the same goal.”
No doubt part of the goal will be picking up a fourth straight win Saturday with FC Edmonton visiting for the first CPL-edition of the Battle of Alberta, better known as Al Classico in this neck of the woods.
“We had a friendly in pre-season, and we also did a prospects version last fall,” the Calgary-born player recalled of contests versus his northern Alberta foes. “Even in those games where there wasn’t a league game or a whole lot on the line, we still played them as if there was. It goes to show the rivalry that has built not just among the fans and the supporters’ groups but the players, whether you’re local or not. We want to make Spruce Meadows a fortress.”