CPL Power Rankings: Wanderers shoot up to No. 1 ahead of 2nd round

The Island Games have been fun, no?

Seven of the eight Canadian Premier League teams were eligible to qualify for the second round going into the first stage’s final weekend.

Forge FC, Cavalry FC, Pacific FC, and HFX Wanderers FC punched their ticket in a hectic final few matches, setting the stage for what should be an eventful second round.

Second-round play kicks off Wednesday with a pair of matches: HFX Wanderers FC vs. Forge FC (1pm ET/2pm AT, OneSoccer) and Cavalry FC vs. Pacific FC (8pm ET/9pm AT, OneSoccer).

Before we dive into the penultimate stage, let’s take a look at how CPL’s first round played out.

Here are’s fourth power rankings from The Island Games.

1. HFX Wanderers FC


MOVEMENT: p.ranking_up +4
Last week: No. 5
Record: 3-3-1

With back-to-back wins and riding a four-game unbeaten run, HFX Wanderers surge to the top of’s power rankings. A professional win over Valour FC and a 90-minute showing against Atlético Ottawa clinched a top-four spot rather easily. So much is going right for this team at the moment: Akeem Garcia leads the Golden Boot race, João Morelli’s return from suspension, and a backline that has recorded back-to-back clean sheets.

Despite their middling record against the other top four teams (draws against Pacific and Forge, a loss to Cavalry), we can agree the Wanderers have grown as The Island Games have progressed – and they’re peaking at the right time.

Second Round Schedule: Forge FC (Wednesday, 1 ET/2pm AT), Cavalry FC (Saturday, 3pm ET/4pm AT), Pacific FC (Tuesday, Sept. 15, 8pm ET/9pm AT)

2. Forge FC

ffc_primary___keyline_MOVEMENT: –
Last week: No. 2
Record: 3-3-1

The Hamiltonians showed off their depth on Saturday in a 2-2 draw with Valour FC. Already 2nd-round bound, Forge came out of a week-long break with coach Bobby Smyrniotis deciding to rest key members of his squad.

Considering the dead-rubber result and the rotated starting 11, it’s hard to justify moving Forge out of their second spot in the power rankings.

Second Round Schedule: HFX Wanderers FC (Wednesday, 1pm ET/2pm AT), Pacific FC (Saturday, 12pm ET/1pm AT), Cavalry FC (Tuesday, Sept. 15, 1pm ET/2pm AT)

3. Cavalry FC


MOVEMENT: p.ranking_up +4
Last week: No. 7
Record: 3-1-2

Left for dead in last week’s rankings, first-placed Cavalry FC defied by beating York9 FC and qualifying for round two. Marcus Haber’s finish off a rebound solidified Cavalry’s top-four spot in an emotional tilt. It showed character from a side reeling after rare back-to-back losses. The classic Cavs performance brought coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. to proclaim he had his “team back again.”

Second Round Schedule: Pacific FC (Wednesday, 8pm ET/9pm AT), HFX Wanderers (Saturday, 3pm ET/4pm AT), Forge FC (Tuesday, Sept. 15, 1pm ET/2pm AT)

4. Pacific FC

pfc_primary_mark_outlinedMOVEMENT: p.ranking_down -3
Last week: No. 1
Record: 3-2-2

Crisis averted for Pacific FC! Last week’s power ranking darlings were nearly eliminated, going down a goal in a must-win final day tilt with FC Edmonton. A poor first-half performance bled over from their heartbreaking last-minute loss to Ottawa in midweek. But, the Tridents advanced with some magic from Marco Bustos.

A wishy-washy week leaves PFC as the lowest-ranked top-four side. Can they rebound Wednesday night against Cavalry FC?

Second Round Schedule: Cavalry FC (Wednesday, 8pm ET/9pm AT), Forge FC (Saturday, noon ET/1pm AT), HFX Wanderers (Tuesday, Sept. 15, 8pm ET/9pm AT).

5. Valour FC

MOVEMENT: p.ranking_down -1
Last week: No. 4
Record: 2-2-3

Valour didn’t leave quietly at The Island Games. Rob Gale’s team took Forge head-on in need of a win, but a 2-2 result sent them home. The Winnipeggers suffered from a mind-boggling nine injuries by the full-time whistle on Saturday, several of which came in a midweek defeat to HFX Wanderers. Without injuries to key defenders (Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Stefen Cebara, Hocine, and Brett Levis) would Valour’s well-organized group have conceded four goals in the final two matches?

6. York9 FC


MOVEMENT: p.ranking_down -3
Last week: No. 3
Record: 2-4-1

York9 FC left their Island Games fate up to Pacific and they paid the price. A win or draw against Cavalry would have clinched a spot for the Nine Stripes, who leave the island lamenting Marcus Haber’s goal and ensuing 1-0 loss.

Y9 went 470 minutes without a goal in open play, a stretch that reached across an incredible five matches. While set-piece goals earned points – Manny Aparicio’s free kick goals against HFX Wanderers and FC Edmonton – they weren’t enough.

7. Atlético Ottawa


MOVEMENT: p.ranking_down -1
Last week: No. 6
Record: 2-2-3

What a run by Mista’s men. A dramatic midweek winner against Pacific FC from Viti Martinez gave Atlético Ottawa a second-round chance. It was an incredible moment of magic and warranted excitement.

However disappointing the loss to HFX Wanderers was, Ottawa supporters can hold their heads high. Safe to say, very few expected Atlético to get as close as they did. Consider those questions answered.

8. FC Edmonton

Last week: No. 8
Record: 0-1-6

Jeff Paulus and FC Edmonton have departed Prince Edward Island with just a single point. As the gaffer said, the Eddies weren’t far off in defeats to York9 and Pacific FC, but a lack of cutting edge in the final third (a league-fewest five goals for) was their major issue.

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