6 questions ahead of Cavalry FC’s 2024 season

The 2024 season, beginning April 13, will be the sixth year of competition in the Canadian Premier League. To celebrate its arrival, we at have been asking the same six questions for each of the eight teams playing in the league from coast to coast.
To check out our 6 questions breakdowns for all eight teams, click hereTo see all of our season preview coverage ahead of the sixth year of the CPL, click here.

What can we learn from Cavalry FC’s 2023 season?

Cavalry FC were historically dominant in 2023, claiming the CPL Shield as regular season winners by 13 points over their closest rival — Forge FC. They scored the most goals in the league (46) while conceding the fewest (27), and won 16 of their 28 matches. As a result, they understandably cleaned up at the 2023 CPL awards, with gaffer Tommy Wheeldon Jr. taking home the Coach of the Year award, Daan Klomp winning both Defender of the Year and Player of the Year, Ali Musse taking home Players’ Player of the Year and Myer Bevan finishing tied for the 2023 Golden Boot.

The biggest thing that Cavalry will want to improve in 2024 will be their performance in knockout fixtures. The club concluded the 2023 campaign with a heartbreaking loss to rivals Forge, 2-1 in extra time of the CPL Final, despite having taken the lead. They also bowed out of the 2023 Canadian Championship in the opening round against Pacific FC on penalties.

Cavalry FC Key Statistics

Who are three key players for Cavalry FC in 2024? 

GK – Marco Carducci 

Heading into his sixth season with Cavalry FC, Marco Carducci remains one of the top goalkeepers in the Canadian Premier League, and as Cavalry FC’s captain a central member of the club. He was again nominated for the league’s Golden Glove award this past season, playing every minute for Cavalry FC in 2023. The 2020 Island Games was the only one of the league’s five seasons in which Carducci did not either win, or was nominated for, the Golden Glove as the league’s best goalkeeper.

DF – Daan Klomp 

Like Carducci, Klomp played every minute of the 2023 campaign for Cavalry, the only outfield player in the CPL to do so. In those 28 matches, he put together an outstanding season, as the centrepiece of the league’s best backline, who allowed just 27 goals. Klomp scored four times, and added an assist, while winning the league’s Player of the Year and Defender of the Year awards for the 2023 season.

FW – Ali Musse

One of the league’s most exciting attackers, Ali Musse took his game to a new level in 2023. He scored five goals and five assists during the regular season — and scored the opener in the 2023 CPL Final with an incredible long-range effort. He finished fourth in the league in chances created (46) and second in dribbles completed (70). For his efforts, he was voted the Players’ Player of the Year by his peers.

Cavalry FC’s (left-to-right) Myer Bevan, Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Daan Klomp and Ali Musse at the 2023 CPL Awards (Photo: David Chant / CPL)

What does Cavalry FC’s 2024 schedule look like? 

Cavalry FC open the season in Ontario with a pair of road games, first a rematch of the 2023 CPL final against Forge FC, before heading to the capital to face Atlético Ottawa. Only Valour have to wait longer for their 2024 home opener, as Cavalry will host Pacific in a 2023 CPL playoff semifinal rematch on April 28. They do, however, play at home earlier that week in the Canadian Championship preliminary round — hosting Vancouver FC.

In May, Cavalry have their most home-heavy portion of the season, with three of their four matches being played at ATCO Field — hosting Vancouver FC, Valour and York United. They host rivals Forge for the first time on June 8. They also notably play in Halifax on Canada Day against the Wanderers. The Cavs conclude the season in Winnipeg on October 19 against Valour.

Former Valour FC captain Diego Gutiérrez (photo: Valour FC)

How did Cavalry approach the off-season?

The biggest key to Cavalry FC’s off-season was securing what they already had. Fraser Aird, Tom Field, Callum Montgomery and Charlie Trafford all inked new deals keeping last season’s championship core together. In total 16 Cavalry players are returning for this season, including the entire starting eleven from the 2023 final against Forge.

However, that doesn’t mean they haven’t still added quality to their ranks to reinforce that group — especially in attack. Cavalry brought in former FC Edmonton attacker Tobias Warschewski, Australian winger Lleyton Brooks from Melbourne Victory and attacking midfielder Lucas Dias on loan from Sporting in Portugal.

Cavalry also made a big splash in the signing of former Valour FC captain Diego Gutiérrez, who has been one of the league’s best midfielders over the past few seasons. Add young goalkeeper Jack Barrett on loan from English Premier League side Everton, and it was a quality off-season of business for the Cavs.

What are three key storylines heading into the season? 

What can Cavalry FC learn from Champions Cup experience? 

As a result of winning the regular season in 2023, Cavalry were given the opportunity to play in Concacaf competition for the first time back in February. While they ultimately lost 6-1 on aggregate to Major League Soccer giants Orlando City SC, the lessons they learned about playing at that level have the potential to raise their standards even higher in 2024.

Getting to see how one of the best clubs in the region operates will only benefit the Cavs on every level, and its staff and players are already speaking at length about what they absorbed from going up against an opponent of that quality. Forge, who have regularly competed in Concacaf competition, has long shown the value these matches can have on moving a club forward, now it’s Cavalry’s turn to demonstrate that progression.

Can the club’s new attackers offer different options in 2024? 

Having scored the most goals in the Canadian Premier League this past season, it would seem like Cavalry are pretty much set offensively for 2024. They, however, did overperform their expected goals by 9.06 this past season, and actually finished fourth in that statistic in the league suggesting perhaps a need for more sustained chance creation in 2024.

Adding the likes of Australian attacker Lleyton Brooks, proper CPL attacker Tobias Warschewski and highly rated Canadian youth international Lucas Dias, on loan from Sporting, should give them the ability to bring more dynamic options off the bench this year. This could end up being a huge difference-maker.

Can Cavalry finally win ‘the big game’? 

Even following a season where Cavalry FC were the best team in the Canadian Premier League, and lifted a trophy, losing in another CPL Final, especially to Forge, will sting for the Calgary club. While getting back to the Concacaf Champions Cup by whatever means possible, be that repeating as regular season winners, through the Canadian Championship or at long last as North Star Cup champions will be the primary target — it would be ever so sweet to do that by finally lifting the North Star Cup.

The way this group is built, they have all the quality and firepower to make that happen this season. It is now just about finally getting it right on the big day, and using all their recently gained experiences to change the knockout narrative around this club.

Photo: CFC Media/Tony Lewis

What are the keys to success for Cavalry FC in 2024?

When you dominate the league as much as Cavalry did in 2023, a lot of their success this upcoming season will come down to establishing as much continuity as possible. Their dominance at home, for example, saw them win a league-leading 10 of their 14 matches at ATCO Field. Do that again, and they are in great shape.

With that being said, there will also be a significant target on their back heading in 2024, and there are a few areas that they can stand to clean up in order to repeat their success. Only Halifax Wanderers dropped more points from winning positions last season than Cavalry’s 15, and they allowed Forge to come back in the CPL final as well.

They also won 11 one-goal matches in all competitions this season, and perhaps the new influx of offensive options can make some of those wins more comfortable in 2024.