PREVIEW: Cavalry FC vs. Valour FC — 2024 Match #27

2024 CPL Regular Season — Match #27
Cavalry FC vs. Valour FC
May 26, 2024 at 3 p.m. MT/4 p.m. CT
ATCO Field in Calgary, Alberta
Watch Live: & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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Matchweek seven concludes on Sunday in Calgary, Alta., where Cavalry FC will take on a re-energized Valour FC side flying high after their first win of 2024.

The Winnipeg club beat Halifax Wanderers FC on Victoria Day at the Wanderers Grounds, recording their first points of the season thanks to lovely goals from Diogo Ressurreição and Jordi Swibel. As a result, Valour picked themselves up out of the cellar of the Canadian Premier League, jumping into seventh above Halifax after six weeks of the season.

Valour will now look to build some momentum at ATCO Field, which will be the final stop on their seven-game odyssey of away matches to begin the CPL campaign, before they finally return home the following weekend.

Looking to stop Valour and continue their unbeaten streak are Cavalry, who haven’t lost for five straight matches after falling on opening day in Hamilton. Four of those five have been draws, though, as the Cavs’ only win of the CPL season so far was a 3-1 result at home against Vancouver FC on May 3.

More recently though, Cavalry did pick up a victory — in a way — when they beat MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps 1-0 at BC Place on Tuesday. Of course, they’d lost the first leg 2-1 which meant they were eliminated from the Canadian Championship quarter-final by the away goals rule with the score 2-2 on aggregate.

Still, it was a major result for a Cavs side that has now been to BC Place twice in its history and won both matches.

In league play, Cavalry sit sixth in the table at 1-4-1 and seven points, but with the standings quite close at the moment they could jump back into the playoff places with a win against Valour.

These sides have met 18 times in their history and Cavalry have won 11 of those, including twice last season. Valour have beaten Cavalry just three times, although once was last August when they came back from 2-0 down to win at home. Their most recent meeting was a 2-1 Cavs win at ATCO Field near the end of the 2023 campaign.

On the injury front, Cavalry’s only significant concern is Ali Musse, who reaggravated an ankle injury on the turf in Vancouver, although he does remain a slight possibility to play on Sunday. For Valour meanwhile, Kian Williams and Marcello Polisi are the only players still ruled out as Phil Dos Santos said he felt like he was “in heaven” with his squad the healthiest it’s been all season. Dos Santos suggested there may even be a possibility that Raphael Ohin gets minutes off the bench, which would be an emotional moment for the midfielder after missing all but one game in the last two years.

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  • Cavalry look to carry on from performance vs. Whitecaps: Although they didn’t end up advancing, Cavalry’s performance against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday was one of the best games the club has played, with several particularly outstanding individual performances. Daan Klomp, for instance, was at his absolute best, as the reigning CPL Player of the Year did tireless work to preserve the clean sheet and advance the ball up the field. Now, with the Canadian Championship over for Cavalry, the task will be finding that same level of motivation and energy in league play so the Cavs can climb up the table. “What it showed was we can beat anybody, anywhere, anytime,” Tommy Wheeldon Jr. said Friday. “That was the message as we’ve gone through our review of it as we prepare for our battle against Valour. I don’t think anybody can match our intensity when we play like that, and it doesn’t matter who’s put in front of us. Our club is built on energy, enthusiasm and intelligence; I think that’s what our lads showed in that game, and now we have to recreate it.”


  • Valour feeling looser after first win: The longer Valour’s losing streak continued, the more pressure mounted on the team. They’ve been a frustrated group through most of their season-opening road trip. Now that they’ve got that first win though — and in emphatic fashion, silencing the party at the Wanderers Grounds — a little of that pressure is off, and they can play with more freedom. Valour will be excited to get back on the pitch after finally remembering the feeling of victory, and they’ll have much more self-belief, which will serve them well as they travel to play a Cavalry side that’s typically immovably strong at home. “You want that first win to come, it takes a weight off your shoulders,” Phil Dos Santos said this week. “It’s important for the team to believe and approach things the way they did on the weekend. … For us it was about making sure they wouldn’t fall into an area where they don’t believe in themselves anymore, as individuals or as a team.”


  • Differing threats from wide areas: One way Valour have tried to attack teams this year has been via crosses into the box from out wide, particularly from left-back Themi Antonoglou. There’s reason to believe they’d opt for a similar tactic in Calgary, although what might make that tricky is how good Cavalry’s defenders are at dealing with balls in the air. Daan Klomp and Eryk Kobza are among the CPL’s best in aerial duels, and they’ll be aided by the likes of six-foot-three midfielder Charlie Trafford. Meanwhile, the Cavs have wingers like William Akio and (if healthy) Ali Musse, who present real threats from out wide but prefer to cut inside toward the box rather than whip in crosses. Control of the flanks will be key in this game though, especially if one side can get their wingers in behind the fullbacks and attack in transition.


Cavalry FC: Carducci; Aird, Kobza, Klomp, Kamdem; Gutiérrez, Trafford; Brooks, Camargo, Akio; Shaw

Valour FC: Murasiranwa; Alarcón, Mourdoukoutas, Chantzopoulos, Antonoglou; Campbell, Sánchez; Hundal, Ressurreição, Faria; Swibel


Cavalry FC wins: 11 || Valour FC wins: 3 || Draws: 4

Last meeting:

Sept. 30, 2023 — Cavalry FC 2-1 Valour FC


“The message is, let’s go again. That’s the standard that we’ve set, so we have to live to that standard. We have this standard of excellence around Spruce Meadows, that’s exactly where we need to live. … The boys are in good spirits, we know with Valour it’s a different game, and also an opportunity now to go on a run so it’s down to everything we do.”  — Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.

“If we don’t match or surpass [Cavalry’s] commitment and work ethic, we might as well stay home. We know how they are at home, we know that it’s a team that is extremely ambitious. … We’re going to need to be an intense team, we’re going to need to roll up our sleeves and make sure that we go there and we out-run and out-fight the opposition.” — Valour FC head coach Phillip Dos Santos