CALGARY — Marco Carducci couldn’t have dreamt of a better start to the Canadian Premier League season.
A quick glance at the standings shows his Cavalry FC at the top of the spring season table with a 5-0-0 record, two points clear of second place with two games in hand.
The Cavalry goalkeeper knows the season is long, of course, and anything can happen – but with a pair of safe hands between the sticks, Cavalry heads into Hamilton on June 4 confident they can extend their lead over second-placed Forge through another resolute performance.
“We’re pleased with the way we started,” Carducci told CanPL.ca. “With the spring season being only 10 games, getting off to an early start can be a huge advantage. We’re still trying to focus on one game at a time because that’s been the key to our success so far.”
A couple of those victories have been heart-stopping, with Jose Escalante netting a game-winner late against Valour FC in the second game of the season and Nico Pasquotti playing the role of injury time hero in the Cavs 2-1 finish the last time they met Forge FC.
The nature of those wins doesn’t take away from the result, though.
“It would be nice to have a more comfortable win,” Carducci admitted. “Obviously, if it was going to be easy, it wouldn’t be happening. And it just shows the parity in the league and the intensity of the league. For me, I just need to concentrate on doing my job — giving the one save we might need to keep it scoreless or to provide an extra save to keep the lead. That’s my focus, and I have full faith in what our guys can do.”
One of the now not-so-secret weapons in Calgary this spring campaign is the group’s chemistry, stemming from their time together with last year’s PDL Championship-winning Foothills team. Ten players on the current Cavs roster hoisted the trophy, including Carducci, who was a key contributor.
“That time we spent together is something you can’t replicate,” Carducci explained. “It’s hard to bring a group of guys together in a short amount of time and build that culture, that chemistry, so that’s a big advantage for us. Knowing each other, knowing the culture, communication, we can use that to get a step ahead.”
The 22-year-old ‘keeper may have enjoyed strong showings on an individual level; however, he’s quick to credit the players in front of him for helping out with the workload.
“The entire back line including some of the more defensive midfielders have helped win games through being solid defensively as a team effort,” Carducci said. “Having Dominick Zator and Jay Wheeldon in front of me, it’s that chemistry we’ve talked about from Foothills. We played a lot of minutes together last year. We’ve built that camaraderie together, holding each other to a high standard collectively. We’re all working toward the same goal.”
Part of the goal he mentions is making ATCO Field one of the most difficult pitches to play at in the CPL. He and the group refer to Spruce Meadows as a “fortress,” and it’s a building they want to guard at all costs.
“We want to keep that momentum going,” Carducci said. “We want to continue our winning streak and picking up points. Then, we know we’ll be sitting in a good spot.”