Forge FC midfielder Tristan Borges (19) controls the ball in front of Cavalry FC midfielder Julian Buscher (8) in the first half during a Canadian Championship soccer match at Spruce Meadows. (Photo: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports for CPL)
3 things to watch for in Spring season’s final midweek slate
The Spring portion of the 2019 Canadian Premier League is nearing its conclusion, with Canada Day just a few days away, and still, Forge FC and Cavalry FC remain in contention for the first of two berths in the 2019 CPL Championship, with the latter playing its 10th and final match on Wednesday.
Here’s what you need to watch for in this Wednesday triple-header:
Forge’s mission is clear: Win, at all costs
There’s no two ways about it – the Hamiltonian outfit needs nothing short of a win in order to keep their hopes for the Spring season alive. There’s no wiggle room when it comes to points; the only way Forge FC keeps itself in this race is if they can defeat FC Edmonton away at Clarke Field, securing three extra points to bring their total over 10 matches to 22.
It won’t be easy for Forge, though; the Eddies are coming off the back of an impressive 3-1 showing over Pacific, with Jeff Paulus crediting a change in shooting choices for his team’s sudden glut of goals following a 587-minute drought. Will Edmonton find similar successes against a Forge backline? Perhaps they can take solace in the fact that Forge will likely push as many players forward as they can as they, too, search for crucial goals toward a must-win result.
… Tommy Wheeldon Jr. of Cavalry FC will likely be keeping tabs on Forge’s 9:00 p.m. ET encounter after taking on York9 FC two hours earlier at York Lions Stadium. Should Cavalry pick up a victory, the next match doesn’t really matter, though; all the Cavs need is one win from their remaining two fixtures to wrap up the Spring portion of the season and book their spot in the 2019 CPL Championship.
But … what if York9 gets a home win over the Cavs? It would be the Calgarian outfits second loss in a row, having tasted their first defeat last week against Forge. Another loss to York9? That’s when things get interesting. It will certainly have the Cavalry players watching other results, too; for, if Cavalry loses, and Forge wins, Wheeldon Jr.’s side will only have one more chance to wrap up the Spring season, and that comes down to Canada Day, July 1.
At that time, a draw against Pacific FC would leave both teams tied at the top of the table with 22 points. Then, tiebreakers take over, with head-to-head, goal difference, and goals for the first three of many permutations we must consider.
Still, that’s not an immediate focus; for now, Cavalry will look to defeat a York9 FC team that’s come together well over the course of the Spring sprint, with Jimmy Brennan looking to once again spoil the party wherever he can in this opening stanza.
Meanwhile, over in Halifax
HFX Wanderers FC hosts Valour FC in what could be a key turning point for either side as they head toward the Fall season. The Wanderers will certainly look to continue making their home a fortress, and, having failed to score away from home all season, a return to familiar confines will certainly be welcome.
However, Valour FC is looking to right their own ship on the harbours of Halifax, with Rob Gale’s side coming off the back of a four-match losing streak, which midfielder Louis Beland-Goyette is certainly taking quite hard. The former Montreal Impact man sounded offabout his team’s fortunes following last week’s loss to Pacific, saying “it’s one defeat too many” and calling for a renewed focus on immediate results from his team.
Whether that means we’ll see a new-look Valour trotted out against HFX, or a return to the same formula that Gale hopes will yield long-term gain, the story remains the same; Valour FC will be hungry to pick up a win against an injury-plagued HFX side looking for answers from within. That match kicks off at 7:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. ET, available on OneSoccer.