The Gatorade Team of the Week for the 16th week of the Canadian Premier League action in 2021, brought to you by Kristian Jack and OneSoccer’s Oliver Platt.
Connor James (FC Edmonton)
It hasn’t always sunshine and roses at the back for Edmonton this season – but Connor James has been impressive nonetheless. He was the star of FCE’s massive toppling of Pacific FC at midweek, keeping his team in the game with two saves and three clearances. After the match, Eddies coach Alan Koch labelled James’ performance “top-class,” adding: “He’s one of the best goalkeepers in the league. It’s nice to see him get rewarded and get the victory.”
T-Boy Fayia (FC Edmonton)
It’s okay if you didn’t know T-Boy Fayia’s name before this weekend’s ComeOn! Match of the Week – he’d probably prefer it that way. FC Edmonton’s young wide player was brilliant up their left side in the Al Classico against Cavalry FC on Saturday – most notably when he caught none other than Mo Farsi off guard on the wing only to deliver a brilliant cross that was finished by Marcus Velado-Tsegaye for an opener after 15 minutes. It was a good follow-up after he come off the bench in Edmonton’s 2-1 win over Pacific, providing some good energy in the final stretches.
HFX Wanderers standout defender Schaale was brilliant Monday in his team’s important 1-0 toppling of top-of-the-table Pacific FC. The 25-year-old German defender played to Halifax’s high-press, high-octane style incredibly well, jumping into the midfield often to make tackles and wreak havoc on a hapless PFC group. Schaale collected a team-high six clearances and was good value on an assist, too, sending a lovely through-ball to Sam Salter at the top of the box. He also led his team in clearances in their midweek loss to Forge FC.
Jordan Wilson (York United)
York United’s Friday night hero, Jordan Wilson managed to knock home the equalizing goal in injury time to draw level with Atlético Ottawa and aid their playoff hopes in the process. It was a nice cap to another scrappy performance from the traditional midfielder, who has looked right at home in a strong York defensive unit including on Friday, where he led the team in possession won at nine while stringing together a neat passing game.
Cavalry FC’s sturdy wideplayer has transitioned into a left-back incredibly well and was part of two impressive defensive performances for the Cavs this matchweek. First up was their scoreless draw against Valour FC where he won a good number of duels, leading his team with nine possession recoveries. Against Edmonton, the Honduran led his side in touches (68), duels (14) and won six fouls while delivering nine crosses and combining well with another player on this list…
Ryan Telfer (Atlético Ottawa)
Atlético Ottawa’s talismanic inverted winger arrives after a vintage performance against his old team in York United Friday night. Drawing added attention from York’s defence, Telfer thrived right up to his drawn penalty – a brilliant piece of spinning skill that nearly split two defenders. Charging with the ball, the powerful winger was playing with fire all match while complying with Ottawa’s clear defensive instinct, dropping back in defence to record a team-leading four tackles. Friday’s performance from Telfer tells us two things; Ottawa missed his in-form presence this year in attack and, let’s be honest, if he can play as sharply as he did against his former team, the sky is the limit.
Raphael Ohin (Valour FC)
We’ll get the rest of the Valour gang soon but what a performance in midfield from Winnipeg local Raphael Ohin this week. The half-man, half-machine of a midfielder was sturdy in his team’s scoreless draw to Cavalry FC at midweek before he led his midfield to an onslaught against Forge FC on Monday. Ohin played with purpose in midfield and didn’t give Forge much going forward. He also delivered beautiful passes that led to Valour goals – first a cutting through-ball to Moses Dyer that bypassed four Forge defenders and the other a one-touch over-the-top ball also to Dyer that is just too good to miss.
Jeremy Gagnon-Laparé (HFX Wanderers)
Many words can be used to describe Jérémy Gagnon-Laparé this season – but none as pertinent as “consistency.” Halifax’s utility man led his team in touches both against Forge at midweek and in their 1-0 win over Pacific FC on the weekend… Playing left wingback and midfield. It was that former role against the Tridents that was most impressive, stringing together a match-leading 60 passes in a rough-and-tumble midfield. The towering-yet-techincal talisman was also key to maintaining Halifax’s high-pace play, ensuring the press never wavered across what he called one of their first 90 minute performances in recent memory. It’s Gagnon-Laparé’s second team of the week nomination in a row, by the way.
Ben Fisk (Cavalry FC)
Fisk picked up his team-leading fourth assist of the campaign against Edmonton, making a good run down the left side of the pitch and floating a cross toward the back post – a perfectly-placed ball that Richard Luca relished on a diving header. The former Pacific and Ottawa winger lead by example against both Edmonton and Valour FC at midweek, making a team-leading 26 attempted passes in the opposition half and taking three shots in Winnipeg.
William Akio (Valour FC)
You’ve seen the goal, right? Check it out if you haven’t.
Valour FC’s 23-year-old dynamic winger has been reborn under Phil Dos Santos, often driving at defenders and creating havoc with his speed and touch which, again, if you saw the goal, you’d understand.
Akio’s half-field marathon gave the Winnipeg side a massive one-goal lead going into halftime against back-to-back champions Forge and was the winner in Dos Santos’ first victory as gaffer.
Another player given new life under the new manager in Winnipeg, Moses Dyer has been brilliant as a centre forward, moving back up the field after a spell in midfield. The New Zealand international delivered a beautiful cross on Rocco Romeo’s opener against Forge before adding one of his own after 59 minutes – a smart striker’s goal where he beat the mighty Dom Samuel to the ball on a break before giving fans at IG Field one of the sweetest low-volley hits you’ll see in the CPL for his third goal in four matches.