Canadian Championship — Round 4 (Leg 2)
Cavalry FC vs. Montreal Impact FC (1-2 agg.)
August 14, 2019 — Spruce Meadows (9:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. ET)
Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca
It’s do-or-die time for Cavalry FC. The Spruce Meadows faithful will welcome their club back home on Wednesday as they look to overturn a 2-1 deficit in this Canadian Championship semi-final tie against the Montreal Impact.
Just one goal separates the Cavs from playing for the Voyageurs Cup in the final, after they fought tooth-and-nail for an away marker last week in Montreal, finding it in the 69th minute courtesy of Sergio Camargo. The goal, which turned a daunting 2-0 mountain into a very scalable 2-1 hill, has the CPL’s Spring season champions very much in this series heading into the home leg.
Cavalry, who rotated their lineup a little to stay fresh for this all-important showdown, played HFX Wanderers FC to a lacklustre 0-0 draw on Saturday, perhaps with their minds already on this semi-final. The Impact, meanwhile, fell 3-2 to the Chicago Fire, losing on an 88th-minute goal after reversing a 2-0 deficit.
Recent news also suggests that Montreal may be without their attacking superstar Ignacio Piatti for this clash after he sustained an injury in his 10-minute outing over the weekend.
The task is simple for Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s Cavalry: they need to win at home. With a precious away goal in hand, a 1-0 victory would put them in the CanChamp final (as would a victory by multiple goals). We’d go to penalties from a 2-1 scoreline, and any other result would eliminate the CPL side.
Cavalry hasn’t yet failed to answer the bell in their short history, but this is their toughest test yet.
Win or lose, Cavalry’s next game is just two days later, as they host Al Classico rivals FC Edmonton on Friday (9:00 p.m. ET, 7:00 p.m. MT, on OneSoccer). If they win on Wednesday, the CanChamp final kicks off on September 18.
KEYS TO THE MATCH
- Life without Ledgerwood: Cavalry was dealt another blow just minutes after scoring their away goal last week, when captain Nik Ledgerwood saw a red card for his second bookable offence of the night. Now, with his skipper suspended, Tommy Wheeldon Jr. has to find a way to fill Ledgerwood’s crucial position effectively. The Cavs have won without Ledgerwood, who was typically replaced by Elijah Adekgube while injured in May and June. If Adekugbe gets the call again, he’ll have big shoes to fill (especially with Sam Piette staring him down from across the pitch).
- Give them nothing: The easiest way for Cavalry to advance to the final, by far, is to keep a clean sheet and nick a goal. They’ve shown before that they can hold an MLS side off the scoresheet at Spruce Meadows (having done so to Vancouver Whitecaps in the previous round), but the Impact have a little more firepower in attack (perhaps even without Nacho Piatti). The Cavs need all hands on deck in defence because Montreal will want to put the tie to bed, and Cavalry can’t afford to concede an away goal.
- Taste your own medicine: The first half last Wednesday may have been like looking in a mirror for Cavalry, who fell victim to the same strategy that’s worked for them against other teams in the CPL. Montreal pressed hard and gave Cavalry absolutely no space to try and play out of the back, which completely suffocated their attack. The Cavs need a way around that, whether it’s stretching out the pitch to feed wingers with long balls or finding ways to beat more defenders one-on-one, otherwise they’ll struggle to find meaningful possession in the attacking half.
Montreal Impact FC: James Pantemis; Daniel Lovitz, Jukka Raitala, Rudy Camacho, Bacary Sagna; Ken Krolicki, Samuel Piette, Saphir Taider; Maximiliano Urruti, Anthony Jackson-Hamel, Mathieu Choinière
Cavalry FC: Marco Carducci; Jonathan Wheeldon, Mason Trafford, Dominick Zator; Nathan Mavila, Elijah Adekugbe, Jose Escalante, Julian Buscher, Nico Pasquotti; Sergio Camargo, Dominique Malonga
HEAD TO HEAD
August 7 – Montreal Impact 2-1 Cavalry FC (CanChamp)
Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact FC) – 3 goals in CanChamp
Dominique Malonga, Dominick Zator, Sergio Camargo (Cavalry FC) – 2 goals in CanChamp
Chris Serban (Cavalry FC) – Out (Knee)
Dean Northover (Cavalry FC) – Out (ACL)
Victor Cabrera (Montreal Impact FC) – Out
Daniel Kinumbe (Montreal Impact FC) – Out
Nik Ledgerwood (Cavalry FC)
Jose Escalante (Cavalry FC) – 2