PREVIEW: Cavalry FC vs. Valour FC – Match #42

2021 CPL regular season — Match #42
Cavalry FC vs. Valour FC
August 8, 2021 at 2 pm MT/ 4 pm ET
ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows, Calgary, Alberta
Watch Live: // Tickets available here

Cavalry FC and Valour FC, two of CanPL’s top sides through the opening month-or-so of play, will lock horns for the first time in 2021 season Sunday in the ComeOn! Match of the Week.

Valour, led by Coach of the Month Rob Gale, and Cavalry sit second and third in the CanPL standings, separated by a point through the first 10 matchweeks.

It’s an important test for the visitors from Winnipeg who have left their hometown bubble in Winnipeg and have lost back-to-back matches on the road – first to FC Edmonton and Pacific FC on Wednesday.

“Watching back at Pacific, it was a much better performance than initially thought,” Gale said of the bizarre second-half collapse that saw a centre back wonderstrike, a goalkeeping red card, and a late winner on some sloppy defending from Valour. “The mental challenge of only being home for three days before going out on the road again… They responded well in the first half – we were disciplined, organized, and we moved the ball well got ahead on a set piece. Really, the only disappointment was the goals.”

Cavalry, meanwhile, is on a high after posting a dramatic come from behind win over FC Edmonton in the first Al Classico of the season at midweek. Goals from Joe Mason and Daan Klomp set ATCO Field alight and gave Tommy Wheeldon Jr. a solid footing following a loss to Pacific on the long-awaited post-bubble return.

“There’s no surprise for us – Rob is a great coach,” Wheeldon Jr. said. “He always has had quality players [in CanPL] it just hasn’t always clicked. They are a very fast side, very technical going forward. They’ve gone back to back defeats and I’m pretty sure that’s a tough thing for them to swallow and they’re looking to have a rebound against us.”

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  • CanWNT’s gold medal match: Sunday’s match comes days after Canada’s women’s national team captured the gold medal at Tokyo 2020 – Canada’s greatest footballing achievement. Goalkeeper Steph Labbe, arguably Canada’s most valuable player from the six-match Olympic run, has a close connection with the Cavs having trained with the Calgary Foothills, Wheeldon Jr.’s former club, and working closely with the club’s no. one Marco Carducci. “I texted her to say she’s our new superhero,” Wheeldon Jr. said, adding their side is not surprised by her ability. “We’re fortunate to just know her.” Gale spent much of the last decade coaching Canada’s youth men’s team but the admiration for the likes of Christine Sinclair, Stephanie Labbe, and Winnipeg’s Desiree Scott remained. “I’m just so emotional,” Gale said after the match. “For everybody who’s been involved with the program, I’m fortunate to know so many. Canada gets dumped on for so long by those naysayers but this is just such a reward for so many years of hard work when they’ve carried the torch for Canadian soccer. These ladies have taken the nation on a journey since 2012. You hope now this is the catalyst where people put their money into the game.”
  • Loturi and Akio brothers reunite: Sunday’s CanPL matinee will be extra special for Valour FC’s William Akio and Cavalry FC’s Victor Loturi – two brothers set to lock horns for the first time as professionals. Akio, 22, joined Valour from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley where he spent three seasons. Loturi, two years his junior, made his CanPL debut in 2019 after being brought on board by coach Wheeldon Jr. The Calgary natives were coached by Wheeldon Jr. back home at different levels and times. “I’ve coached them at different times but never together or against each other so it’s new for me,” Wheeldon Jr. said, recalling both players’ experiences with the Calgary Foothills program. “Victor’s terrific, William will just kill you with pace, great personality – you feel for the whole family. “There’s two or three other players in that family that are coming through as well that there’s just great footballers. They love the game.”
  • Personnel issues abound for both sides: The fitness and injury merry-go-round continues for both Cavalry and Valour, who will look to pick up the scraps of a difficult run of injuries. Valour’s Keven Aleman, who was hurt ahead of Pacific, is not available for selection alongside the long-term injury listed Jose Galan and Andrew Jean-Baptiste. Brett Levis, who went down and was later taken off aganst Pacific, is available. Wheeldon Jr., meanwhile, cautioned against the use of Joe Di Chiara after the industrious midfielder suffered a minor hamstring strain last time out: “We have to be precautionary with him because it is a long season.” The side does, however, welcome Anthony Novak and Nik Ledgerwood back from suspension as they missed Tuesday’s tilt due to yellow card accumulation. Novak will be a welcome return for the Cavs, who have missed attackers Ali Musse and Ahinga Selemani due to injury.


Cavalry FC wins: 4 || Valour FC wins: 0 || Draws: 1

Previous match:

August 16, 2020 — Cavalry FC 2-0 Valour FC


“No excuse at the end [vs. Pacific] is just a bit of game management and naivety, I think we showed a bit. A bit of our youth and inexperience there – that’ll have to improve Sunday.” – Valour FC coach Rob Gale

“We learned Pacific is a hard place to get points – they found that out too… It’s up to us now to impose our game on our home field against them like they have when they are their home field advantage.” – Cavalry FC coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.