The 2019 Canadian Premier League season will forever host a number of “firsts” for professional soccer in the country: Ryan Telfer scoring the first goal, Pacific FC winning the first game, and Forge FC winning the first CPL Championship, of course.
But, not all firsts are equal – some are rarer than others, and may take much, much longer than a single season to reach. In that regard, the 2019 CPL season enjoyed a handful of rare “firsts” … but didn’t get to see a few notable ones, either.
Here’s a look back at some of the rare moments we enjoyed in 2019 – and a few we’d like to see in 2020 and beyond.
5 rare moments from 2019
1. Tristan Borges scores an Olimpico
How often do you actually see a soccer player score from a corner kick? It’s not impossible, of course, but it certainly isn’t a frequent occurrence. This particular method of scoring is so rare, in fact, that it has a place in soccer lore, referred to only in whispers, as a myth of sorts, as an “Olimpico” goal. It was named such after a striker named Cesareo Onzari scored from a corner kick for the reigning Olympic gold medalists Argentina in a 1924 friendly against Uruguay.
Since then? Only a handful of players have managed this feat, including David Beckham, Thierry Henry, and Megan Rapinoe … and, as of 2019, Tristan Borges of Forge FC.
2. Mother Nature brings the thunder
It happens once or twice a season; matches are delayed or postponed as inclement weather prevents the players from carrying on as they were for 90 minutes of football. Whether rain, sleet, or snow, mother nature does throw a curveball every so often … but the Canadian Premier League’s inaugural season was riddled with them, especially early on. Who can forget the infamous pancake gamebetween FC Edmonton and Valour FC, delayed from Saturday night to Sunday morning as a result of poor air quality in Edmonton due to fires in the area?
But, the most memorable match in strange conditions came early, as Cavalry FC hosted York9 FC at ATCO Field on May 4 under flurries. Bust out the orange ball here, folks – this is soccer in Canada.
Animals on the field are always a fun talking point! Who can forget when this good boi made his way onto the field in Georgia looking for a belly rub? Or, how about when a black cat ran across the goal line during Toronto FC’s Champions League battle with Mexican outfit Santos Laguna back in 2012 … cursing the Reds in bad superstition into conceding but moments later?
Yes, little critters big and small have made their way onto the field during football matches, and the CPL’s inaugural season was no exception, as Edmonton’s infamous rally rabbit – a symbol the club embraced in their own branding and image this season – returned triumphant to Clarke Field during a visit by Valour FC. No rabbits were harmed in the making of this league.
4. Sergio Camargo misses an absolute sitter
One of the most agonizing moments in soccer is also one of the most memorable – we’re talking sure-fire goals, impossible to miss, flying hilariously away from their wide-open targets to the chagrin of supporters (or, to their delight, depending) and leaving the suspect player shaking their head in shame and utter humiliation.
Paste Magazine has an excellent rundown of the 20 worst misses in the sport … to which Sergio Camargo could unfortunately add his name, having brutally short-passed an open-net shot to avoid punishing Forge FC in their first-ever meeting (1:09 in video, above, via OneSoccer).
Luckily, Nico Pasquotti saved the day soon after, and the consequences of Camargo’s miss was lost to the record books. Cavalry won the Spring, and all was good. But … we didn’t forget, Sergio.
5. Outfield player dons goalie gloves
This writer’s personal favourite of the bunch comes when a goalkeeper is sent off with a red card, and the bench option isn’t available, whether through injury or from a lack of substitutions. It means someone must step up in a big way for their club, donning the goalkeeper’s gloves for the remainder of the match. That someone, in this instance, was Alexander Achinioti-Jonsson of Forge FC, who had to swap his defensive midfield duties to deputize a red-carded Quillan Roberts during a Canadian Championship match against, you guessed it – Cavalry FC.
Roberts’ red card also conceded a penalty, which meant Achinioti-Jonsson’s first call of action was to attempt the save. It did … not go well.
5 Moments we missed
So, those were the five rare moments we enjoyed in 2019. But, there were a number of infrequent occurrences we didn’t see in 2019. Might we see them in 2020?
1. A bicycle kick goal, of any kind
Manny Aparicio, Louis Beland-Goyette, and Kadell Thomas all scored highlight-reel goals in 2019, but none of them, nor their peers, could manage to find the back of the net in acrobatic, Zlatan-esque fashion, did they? The closest we got was an Emery Welshman bicycle kick attempt just six minutes into the season. But, short of that agonizingly-close effort, no one in the league could contort themselves in such a way as to dazzle us with that blockbuster moment. Marco Bustos, we’re counting on you, kid. Make it happen in 2020. Until then … here’s Cristiano Ronaldo, folks.
2. A double-digit scoreline
Cavalry FC came close with an 8-0 drubbing of Valour FC, but, as this Armenian writer can attest to, conceding just eight times, and conceding nine (or, God forbid, any more than that) feel like very, very different things. Case in point? Armenia’s recent 9-1 loss to Italy in Euro qualifying came with a single silver lining – at least it wasn’t 10 (or, at least it wasn’t 31-0, either).
3. No streaking
We’re not talking about winning or losing streaks over the course of the season – though we had plenty of those, on either end, in 2019. No, the 2019 season was devoid of one of the most time-tested and basic, primal joys of human history; the sight of a … less-than-fully-clothed individual making their way at considerable pace through the throng of gathered footballers for less-than-sporting reasons. Yes, we didn’t have any streakers in 2019 (that we know of) and we’d like to ask our readers to keep it that way in 2020 and beyond.
4. No ‘Crinjuries’
What’s a crinjury, you ask? It’s a (often slow-motion) video of a player injury that very graphically and very … uncomfortably shows a clean fracture after a bad tackle; the sort of video you can “hear” without really hearing, as it were. We’re not going to hyperlink through to any, of course; for those very few (and very strange) among you who want to watch ’em for yourselves, the internet is a vast and rich land. But, thankfully, beyond Kadell Thomas’ nasty head smack, we didn’t bare witness to any cringe-inducing ankle-snappers or leg-crunchers. No bones about it, that’s a blessing for us all.