Canadian Premier League Finals 2019 is, perhaps, one of the greatest examples of “win your half” of a two-legged final in world football.
Travel, potentially tough weather conditions and staunch opponents stand between you and a result in the away leg.
Forge FC, set to host the Leg 1 at Tim Hortons Field on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on OneSoccer & CBC), take the first kick at the home can, per se. Cavalry FC takes the final leg next Saturday, November 2 at ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows (3:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. MT, on OneSoccer & CBC).
Both teams have been nothing short of spectacular at home. Cavalry and Forge have only lost three times total across 27 home games. Two defeats came to each other, with Forge’s Fall opening loss to FC Edmonton the only “upset” it suffered – remember that fluke of an own-goal?
Home legs in high value, let’s compare these Inaugural Season home campaigns…
Forge FC – Tim Hortons Field (10-2-2 at home)
2-1-1 against Cavalry at Tim Hortons Field
Only CPL side to score at least once in every home match
The stadium that started it all back on April 27, Tim Hortons Field and Forge open the inaugural Finals with Leg 1 on Oct. 26 (3:30 p.m. ET on OneSoccer & CBC).
As mentioned, the Hamiltonians have had quite the successful run on home turf; just two losses (one of which against Cavalry) in the league and a two-for-two run against CONCACAF League opposition.
Forge has scored in every single home match this season, the most recent coming via David Choinière in front of the Barton St. Battalion. They just get it done, it seems.
Maybe it’s the Hamilton crowd … or maybe it’s the conditions.
Nestled between Lake Ontario and the Niagara Escarpment, the stadium is known for its blistering winds – running from one end of the pitch to the other. Tough to handle for a half, at least. Cavalry coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. ironically referred to the place “a wind tunnel” on Centre Circle LIVE! this week.
ANALYSIS: With a bigger-than-normal crowd expected for Finals 2019 Leg 1, Forge will have more than enough backing to push for a result … with goals. Watch for a 1-1 draw or 2-1 Forge victory.
Cavalry FC – ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows (11-2-1 at home)
2-0-1 against Forge at Spruce Meadows
Last home defeat: 0-1 to Forge FC (June 22, 2019)
Coincidentally, Forge is the only team to beat Cavalry on their home turf in 2019,
Cavalry and Tommy Wheeldon Jr. are undefeated at ATCO Field since an early Kyle Bekker goal snatched victory for Forge in late June
Since then, the Cavs have since been on nine-match unbeaten run, part of an even longer home upswing for Wheeldon Jr. and Cavalry’s core on Calgary Foothills – a side that won or drew every 2018 match at home in the PDL.
It’s nearly impossible to win in Calgary for an away team. Forge wasn’t exactly impressive offensively in that lone win; one shot on target, a paltry 35% possession and a 36% pass completion percentage.
Cavalry’s staunch defence conceded just eight times at home – just over one every two matches. Draws to Pacific FC and FC Edmonton in the Fall are the only points dropped through over a dozen matches.
Overall, Spruce Meadows has been good to them. It has also been horrible … to everyone … weather-wise. More than a handful of matches have featured snow, whether in the air or recently pushed to the sidelines. The pitch hasn’t exactly recovered from that Fall snowfall, either – Cavalry’s Al Classico home win against the Eddies shows that.
ANALYSIS: Forge fans better hope their team gets a result at home because, uh, it doesn’t look good on the road. Expect at least a 1-0 win for the Cavs, potentially more. It’s hard to bet against Cavalry in Calgary.