That’s how long we waited between November 2, 2019 and August 13, 2020 for the Canadian Premier League to return. Seemed like a lifetime, didn’t it?
Nevertheless, it feels pretty good to have the CPL back.
16 Years, 11 Months, 28 Days
That’s the age Lowell Wright when he scored York9 FC’s first goal of the season on Saturday, making him officially the youngest goalscorer in CPL history. Wright, whose 17th birthday is on Wednesday, pipped previous record holder Tyler Attardo by 287 days.
Wright’s goal came in the 60th minute, when fellow teenager Max Ferrari found him just above the six-yard box for a calm finish to cut Atlético Ottawa’s lead to 2-1. The Nine Stripes followed up the effort with an equalizer just two minutes later, as Joe Di Chiara found the net with a penalty kick.
Pacific FC defender Kadin Chung won a whopping 13 duels in his side’s game against HFX Wanderers FC, more than anybody else in the CPL from a single game so far. The fullback won the ball all four times he went up into the air to challenge for it, and he came out of another nine battles on the ground with possession.
Chung was key to Pacific’s game on Saturday, touching the ball 80 times. He and Marco Bustos linked up constantly, exchanging 25 passes between each other.
This one’s a number we’re pretty sure Atlético Ottawa fans will remember for a while. Just on the brink of halftime in the expansion side’s first ever CPL game, Vashon Neufville stormed down the left flank into the box and found Mo Kourouma for the first goal in club history, three minutes and 14 seconds into stoppage time.
The second, of course, came just a few minutes after halftime, courtesy of Malcolm Shaw. Ottawa may have split the points from their inaugural contest (their opponents York9 will know all about that), but they surprised a lot of fans and pundits with their spirited first effort.
After a season of major turnover for Valour FC, the incoming cast of players showed their mettle on Sunday against Cavalry FC. Rob Gale put 10 new players into his lineup (Dylan Carreiro being the only member of the inaugural squad to get the start), and he brought a further three newcomers on as substitutes.
Comprehensive changes have come in Winnipeg; it didn’t quite work out on Sunday, with Cavalry coming out ahead for a 2-0 win, but Valour’s defence looked much improved, and some of the pieces in their lineup could make a real difference in the CPL.
5 for 5
HFX Wanderers FC midfielder Aboubacar Sissoko tied with Pacific’s Victor Blasco for the most successful 1v1 dribbles in Week 1, with five apiece from the game they played against each other (that stat courtesy of Centre Circle Data).
Unlike Blasco, though, Sissoko only attempted five. The 24-year-old product of the University of Montreal was a perfect five for five in 1v1 attempts on Saturday, in what was an overall excellent game for the Wanderers’ U SPORTS products (including former Cape Breton Capers Peter Schaale, Cory Bent, and Jake Ruby).
Sissoko’s first 90 minutes in the CPL were solid, with three tackles and 12 successful duels to go along with his knack for beating defenders one-on-one.
Week 1 in The Island Games saw 16 goals scored — weirdly, each CPL side has conceded exactly two so far. Beyond that, though, each goal has been scored by a different player, meaning we have an early 16-way tie in the Golden Boot race.
We saw four penalties given, all of them resulting in goals. Forge’s second marker was the only own goal of the weekend, deflecting off Kareem Moses. Four players (Lowell Wright, Ibrahima Sanoh, Joao Morelli, and Malcolm Shaw) scored in their first CPL game, while two more (Nathan Mavila and Kwame Awuah) also scored their first CPL goal.
Three players (Marco Bustos, Marcus Haber, and Mo Kourouma) opened their account with a new CPL club after spending 2019 elsewhere in the league. Meanwhile, Joe Di Chiara, Sergio Camargo, Zach Verhoven, Anthony Novak, Kyle Bekker, and Dominick Zator also added to their totals from the previous year.
Plenty of goals in the first weekend of The Island Games, with many more sure to come.