Cavalry FC impressed more than 5,000 onlookers at Spruce Meadows on Wednesday, taking the Vancouver Whitecaps toe-to-toe over 90 minutes to earn a 0-0 draw in the first leg of two in this Canadian Championship third-round series.
An intense back-and-forth defined the first 45 minutes of action on the trodden turf at Spruce Meadows, where the raucous crowd watched on as the Whitecaps and Cavalry battled it out to a 0-0 score at half-time. Cavs ‘keeper Marco Carducci came up big on a number of occasions, making key saves and distributing the play from the back as the home side went toe-to-toe with Vancouver.
Carducci was once again the hero on the hour mark, as Yordy Reyna continued to test the Cavalry backline. A few moments later, Cavalry looked to be hard done by a non-penalty decision after a rough collision in the Whitecaps box, with the referee choosing to play on instead. By the 75th minute mark, Cavalry striker Dominique Malonga was forced off with an apparent hamstring injury, replaced by Jordan Brown.
But it was Jose Escalante, and neither striker, who came closest to opening the scoring, with the Honduran sending a rocket to the top left corner, only to force a massive save from Maxime Crepeau in the 90th minute. That save preserved the 0-0 result, which the two teams settled for in this first leg in Calgary.
These two teams meet again in the second leg on Wednesday, July 24 (7:30 p.m. PT/10:30 p.m. ET, OneSoccer) at B.C. Place in Vancouver. Cavalry FC returns to Canadian Premier League action this weekend with an away fixture against HFX Wanderers FC on Saturday (4:30 p.m. AT/3:30 p.m. ET, on OneSoccer).
56′ Yellow – Jose Escalante (Cavalry FC)
66′ Yellow – Elijah Adekugbe (Cavalry FC)
71′ Yellow – Nik Ledgerwood (Cavalry FC)
89′ Yellow – Ali Adnan (Whitecaps FC)
Three Key Performers
Jose Escalante (Cavalry FC): All over the park on both the defensive and offensive ends, helping a three-man backline tighten up when the Whitecaps tried to pressure, while also bombarding down the left wing and joining in on both his team’s high press and attacking plays. And … then there’s that bending, curling last-gasp effort. Sublime.
Yordy Reyna (Vancouver Whitecaps): Testing Marco Carducci all night by peppering his goal with shots, and looked dynamic in the middle of the park as he pulled the strings, as usual. Speaking of Carducci …
Marco Carducci (Cavalry FC): Made a number of key saves all evening and came up huge on a couple of occasions, showing his former side exactly the sort of quality and poise that makes him the clear No. 1 in Calgary. Carducci was tested more than a few times, but looked comfortable, confident, and composed through it all.