As It Stands: One month into the 2024 season! Plus, CPL500 facts & figures

Welcome to As It Stands. At the start of each week through the end of the season, we’ll bring you this easy-to-digest wrap-up of everything you need to know from the weekend that was in the Canadian Premier League, and keep tabs on how each team is progressing in its hunt for silverware.

We’re back!

Now that the 2024 Canadian Premier League season is officially a month old, it feels like a good time to get back into the habit of rounding up all the major storylines as they begin to develop. It’s early, yes, but after next weekend most teams in the league will be over 20 per cent through the season… crazy, right?

Friday night at York Lions Stadium was the 500th match in the history of the CPL, which was a good time to play a game of Remembering Some Guys. A few facts and figures about the players who have made up this league’s history so far:

  • 524 total players have appeared in the Canadian Premier League (including four debuts this weekend!)
  • 175 domestic players have made their professional debut in the CPL
  • 55 Canadian players have gotten their first opportunity to play professionally at home after a prior pro career spent exclusively abroad
  • 23 players earned their first permanent contract at a European club after playing in the CPL

So far, the league has given veterans the chance to come home, and has offered opportunities to domestic talent that didn’t exist before. Plus, we’ve now got a healthy cast of CPL lifers, as Bobby Smyrniotis has called them; in total, 29 players on 2024 rosters were also in a CPL squad in the inaugural campaign back in 2019.

Seventeen total players have played a minute in all six CPL seasons so far. That number could stretch to 19 if Niko Giantsopoulos and Elliot Simmons get on the pitch this year.

Anyway, back to business. After a win for York United and draws in all three other matches in week five, here’s how things stand in the CPL right now:

York United’s second win of the year was another three-goal outburst at home, where they never scored three goals all of last season.

Meanwhile, Halifax Wanderers officially have their first point of the year after a hard-fought draw with Cavalry FC; it’s been a tough start to the season, but they looked good in the second half to get back in the game. Opinions out east remain split on just how frustrated they’d been…

Pacific FC’s defence remains perfect to start the year, with zero goals conceded through five league games. However, they’ve got two 0-0s in there; we know James Merriman prefers attacking football, so how long will their games remain this low-scoring?

Finally, Vancouver FC stayed unbeaten at home with a draw against Atlético Ottawa. It was Alejandro Díaz on the scoresheet for VFC as their two strikers continue to find a groove together, while Rubén del Campo scored his fourth goal in five games for Ottawa.

Monday Tuesday Reading

MATCH ANALYSIS: York United complete comeback vs Valour to win CPL’s 500th match MATCH ANALYSIS: Halifax Wanderers battle back for first point of 2024 vs Cavalry
MATCH ANALYSIS: Pacific extend clean sheet record in scoreless draw with Forge FC MATCH ANALYSIS: Vancouver FC and Atlético Ottawa settle for 1-1 draw despite frenetic 2nd half

If the playoffs started today…

Technically, Atlético Ottawa sit above Pacific with more goals scored, as those two sides are tied with identical records and goal differentials. So, Ottawa would currently be hosting the Tridents for the right to host the 2024 CPL Final.

Further down the table, if the playoffs started today York would be headed to B.C. for a midweek playoff game once again, although this time it would be Vancouver FC hosting them rather than Pacific, looking to book a quarter-final clash at Forge FC.

That said, it’s insanely early. No point looking to hard at this right now, but it’s fun to remember the playoff format and what these teams are jockeying for.

U-21 minutes watch

Pacific are way out in front when it comes to U-21 minutes so far, in large part due to Emil Gazdov starting four out of five games so far, but Eric Lajeunesse and Paul Amedume have been major contributors as well.

Meanwhile, seven U-21 players have appeared for Vancouver FC so far this year, including Anthony White after he went 90 in his season debut on Sunday. Cavalry FC also got useful minutes from Lucas Dias and Nikolas Myroniuk in Halifax, while the Wanderers saw the return of Tiago Coimbra.

Valour’s Abdul Binate and Juan Pablo Sánchez have both appeared in every game so far, and they’re carrying the team’s U-21 minutes for the most part. Meanwhile at York United, Noah Abatneh has almost 400 minutes on his own.

For the full player-by-player breakdown on the Jones Deslauriers | Navacord U-21 Minute Leaderboard, click here.

Here’s how all eight teams are progressing toward the 2,000-minute threshold:

Club Total U-21 Minutes
Pacific FC 765
Valour FC 634
York United FC 563
Vancouver FC 408
Cavalry FC 195
Atlético Ottawa 160
Forge FC 152
Halifax Wanderers FC 128

Coming up next…

Friday, May 17

Pacific FC vs. Atlético Ottawa (7 p.m. PT/10 p.m. ET)

Saturday, May 18

Forge FC vs. Vancouver FC (4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT)
Cavalry FC vs. York United (5 p.m. MT/7 p.m. ET)

Monday, May 20

Halifax Wanderers vs. Valour FC (4 p.m. AT/2 p.m. CT)

(Watch all five games live on OneSoccer)

Photo of the Week

It was a little heated at times in Langley this weekend.

There’s no substitute for passion, and this league is never short of it.

Moses Dyer (L) and Manny Aparicio (R) engage in a pleasant chat on Sunday. (Photo: Beau Chevalier/Vancouver FC)