Cavalry FC is the champion of Alberta again, taking down FC Edmonton 3-2 in a pivotal Al Classico Wednesday night at Clarke Field in Edmonton.
Three set-piece goals marked an emotional second half between the two Albertan clubs though it was Calgary who took the spoils, ended a four-match winless skid, and captured the 2021 Wild Rose Cup, Al Classico’s supporters-created trophy, with the result as they clinched a winning record against their provincial rivals on the season.
Edmonton were the ones that started the match at an aggressive pace, pressing well and proving tough to break down through a low block. Both teams settled into a very direct style of play, looking to string a series of long passes to find a scoring breakthrough. Cavalry veteran defender Mason Trafford left the match after 25 minutes following an injury marking an uneventful opening half-hour, save for an Ahinga Selemani free header parried by Connor James.
But play started to heat up soon after for the Cavs, starting with Ben Fisk’s opening goal at the 34th minute. One of several promising breakdowns in the opposing box left Fisk to smartly strafe past a shuffle in front of the net to put in his first goal in the league for Cavalry – and his second against a team he previously represented in NASL play.
MATCH COVERAGE: Sights & Sounds: FC Edmonton 2-3 Cavalry FC || Match Analysis: FC Edmonton 2-3 Cavalry FC
Selemani put a cap on Cavalry’s run of first-half momentum with a goal in the 44th minute, deflecting an inauspicious cross – and beating nearby defenders Amer Didic and Ramon Soria – to his back on a header that found the bottom far corner with ease.
The Eddies emerged from halftime and scored almost immediately. Fraser Aird’s in-swinging corner was directed by Didic onto the foot of Easton Ongaro for the CPL’s all-time leading goalscorer’s 21st on his Eddies career. It sparked a new life into a simmering Edmonton side that looked to take more of the ball and more license through the new period of play.
That new lease on life led to a couple of tricky attacks, including when Azriel Gonzalez thumped a back-post cross off the goal frame. Their next goal came, as mentioned, off another corner when Aird once again connected with Didic with the towering defender powering home the equalizer in the 70th minute. Momentum had swung in the Eddies’ favour as the crowd at Clarke Field urged them on, but it was Cavalry who would have the last laugh.
Anthony Novak missed two quality chances at the other end as play more formally opened up with tired legs… But defender Daan Klomp was the one to convert, heading home a would-be winner from a corner – the third of the half.
Edmonton’s good fortunes ran out after 83 minutes when substitute Jeannot Esua was set off for a high kick on David Norman Jr.
Wednesday’s victory snaps a four-match winless skid for the Cavs while Edmonton takes their second loss in a row and remains winless themselves against their Alberta rivals across 10 matches.
34′ — Ben Fisk (Cavalry FC)
44′ — Ahinga Selemani (Cavalry FC)
47′ — Easton Ongaro (FC Edmonton)
70′ — Amer Didic (FC Edmonton)
80′ — Daan Klomp (Cavalry FC)
35′ — Yellow: Jose Escalante (Cavalry FC)
84′ — Red: Jeannot Esua (FC Edmonton)
90+2′ — Yellow: Mo Farsi (Cavalry FC)