Final Score: Cavalry FC 0-0 Pacific FC
Game of the 2021 season: 44
CPL match: 179
RELATED READING: RECAP: Cavalry FC, Pacific FC play out scoreless top-of-the-table clash || Sights and Sounds
Match in a minute or less
A top tier CanPL tilt left a bit to be desired Wednesday, as first placed Pacific FC and second placed Cavalry FC played out a scoreless stalemate at ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows. Neither side managed to find a quality chance on target as defensive units reigned supreme.
Positivity reigns despite lack of goals
Look, we can all say it: Wednesday’s match was supposed to be a big splash in the CanPL. Instead, both first-place Pacific FC and second place Cavalry walked away without any goals. Still, there was a quiet optimism from both sides following the cagey affair as played exceptionally well defensively.
“It was an even stalemate… 0-0 was a fair result,”PFC coach Pa-Modou Kah said.
“When you come out to the road with the team that’s battling for first place and get a clean sheet, you can’t really be upset,” Pacific defender Jordan Haynes added.
In truth, it was an even affair while the Cavs ended up with four more shots on target than the Tridents.
“Even with the depleted squad they fought in the last minute – you have to give them credit,” Kah said.
Swiss Army knife… with a lock
Cavs coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. compared his team to a swiss army knife before the match, saying it can take many shapes and forms.
Starting with a back three, the team brought on an extra body in midfield. Karifa Yao, David Norman Jr., and Daan Klomp slotted alongside two no. six midfielders in Nik Ledgerwood and Elliot Simmons.
When asked which part of the multi-tool he used Wednesday, Wheeldon simply said: “The lock, if that’s even a tool on a Swiss Army Knife,” Wheeldon Jr. said about his shutdown mentality.
“Look, we just played the best attacking team in the league and we kept them from recording a shot on target. We’ve done it without a left-back, without rotations… Karifa Yao played a pseudo left-back tonight.”
This is all to say they resembled a Swiss Army Knife missing a few tools to begin with. Wheeldon, who said the side had 10 players missing due to injury, had just four outfield subs available, two of which were local development players. Still, they grounded out a result.
Former players Boskovic, Hernandez stand out
Wednesday’s match saw two players face off against their former teams in notable fashion. Pacific centreback Robert Boskovic was brought on in necessity after Abdou Samake went down injured. The 22-year-old featured for the Cavs at the Island Games on loan for Toronto FC II, meaning he never played at Spruce Meadows as a member of the home side.
Cavalry FC’s Jose Hernandez, meanwhile, faced his former club and was the best attacking player on the pitch when it came to chances created… He just struggled to convert or lay off the crucial pass, landing with a match-leading six shots.
“The boy is exciting – you’ll see,” Wheeldon Jr. said. “He’s a bit of an old school winger – direct, aggressive… the guy has some terrific tools to work with.”
CanPL.ca Player of the Match
Callum Irving, Pacific FC
A well-earned clean sheet, all things considered. PFC’s first choice netminder made four stops and commanded his backline through some stormy waters. His reaction to Hernandez’s knuckling second-half attempt was a particular highlight.
Cavalry will now switch their focus to the 2021 Canadian Championship and a first round tilt with FC Edmonton on Sunday (August 15, 3pm MT/5pm ET). Pacific, who will open their CanChamp account against British Columbia rivals Vancouver Whitecaps for the first time, will take on Valour FC the following day on Monday (August 16, 5pm PT/8pm ET).
These two teams will face off again in just over a week – on Friday, August 20 at Starlight Stadium (9:30pm ET/6:30pm PT).
Watch all matches live on OneSoccer.