PREVIEW: FC Edmonton vs. Cavalry FC — 2022 Match #97
Benedict Rhodes, CanPL.ca Contributor (@BTFR17)
2022 CPL Regular Season — Match #97 FC Edmonton vs. Cavalry FC September 17, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. MT Clarke Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here
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The final AL Classico of the season will take place in Edmonton, Alberta on Saturday afternoon as FC Edmonton host Cavalry FC at Clarke Stadium.
It’s the first meeting between the two sides in Alberta’s provincial capital since May 6, a 3-0 victory for Cavalry, with the next three meetings at Spruce Meadows — twice in the CPL and once in the Canadian Championship. Cavalry have won all four meetings, and have never lost to FC Edmonton in their entire history thus far. The other meeting occurred in the Canadian Championship preliminary round, just a few days after Cavalry beat the Eddies 3-0. A brace from Myer Bevan propelled the Cavs to a 2-1 victory despite Tobias Warschewski’s second half tally.
Their last CPL encounter was on July 30, a 2-0 win for the Cavs thanks to goals from Joe Mason and Karifa Yao in the first half.
FC Edmonton most recently fell 3-1 to York United last weekend, while Cavalry are coming off a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Forge FC.
In the latter match, at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field, Cavalry had two players — Mikaël Cantave and Joseph Di Chiara — sent off as tempers boiled at the end of the match. Cantave’s sending off was a result of two yellow cards, so he received an automatic one match suspension. Di Chiara was given a straight red for alleged violent conduct, which normally comes with a three-match ban, but Cavalry appealed it and it has been reduced to one match.
FC Edmonton will also be missing a pair of players, Nyal Higgins and Bicou Bissainthe, as they both serve one match suspensions as a result of accumulating four yellow cards this season.
The Eddies are currently the only team officially eliminated from playoff contention with a few weeks left in the regular season, but have the ability to throw a wrench in the playoff race, as they still have to play Pacific FC, Valour FC and Atlético Ottawa after this match — all of whom are among the five teams fighting for four playoff spots.
Cavalry FC are also in that top five, sitting in third place entering the weekend. They also have to play Valour, Ottawa and Pacific so they will be keen on beating their provincial rivals in this match and going into the final few weeks on a high note.
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3 THINGS TO WATCH
Both teams always get up for this fixture: The AL Classico is a match that both Cavalry FC and FC Edmonton have circled on their calendars the moment the schedule gets released, and this is the final meeting between the two sides this season. After four prior meetings in 2022, including a Canadian Championship preliminary round tie, they have seen a lot of each other, most recently meeting in Calgary at the end of July. This meeting at Clarke Stadium in Edmonton is expected to be another exciting contest between the two sides, especially considering the circumstances — Cavalry need to pick up points to hold onto their spot in the CPL playoffs, and FC Edmonton are already eliminated and playing with the freedom that comes when a side has nothing to lose. Bragging rights are also on the line, as The Eddies have never beaten Cavalry, and will be hoping to on Saturday. As is often the case when these sides meet, away fans are expected to be in attendance, which Cavs boss Tommy Wheeldon Jr says he and his side really appreciate. “They know the time and investment dollar that our fans put into this, so it gives us that added incentive,” he said. “If people are going to spend their hard-earned money to travel to support us, we’ve got to show up and I think that will help us on Saturday.”
Suspensions affect both sides: Both teams will be missing players through suspension for this match, and a few others are approaching suspension. Mikael Cantave and Joseph Di Chiara will both miss this match after being sent off against Forge FC last weekend. Cantave picked up a pair of yellow cards — which cannot be appealed — so he will serve the automatic one-match suspension that comes with a red card in this game. Di Chiara, however, was originally supposed to sit on the sideline for three matches after being shown a straight red card for alleged violent conduct, but after a successful appeal has had his suspension reduced to just one match. The Eddies, meanwhile, will have a pair of centre-backs — Nyal Higgins and Bicou Bissainthe out for this match due to yellow card accumulation. Both sides, especially Cavalry, will need to let cool heads prevail in this derby, as several players are on the verge of suspension for yellow cards accumulation as well. Wesley Timoteo is on three yellow cards for the season, one back of a one-game suspension, while Cavalry’s Roberto Alarcon, Elijah Adekugbe and Sergio Camargo are also on three cautions. Picking up eight yellow cards on the season results in a two-match suspension, and defender Daan Klomp and attacker Jose Escalante are both sitting on seven with just a few matches left in the regular season.
Eddies to finish season with three of four matches at home, can play spoiler: After a gruelling stretch in July and August that saw them spend nearly two months away from Clarke Stadium, FC Edmonton have a chance to spend most of the remainder of their season back in their own city. Their first game back, and most recent game at home, was a 3-2 win over HFX Wanderers on August 28 — just their third victory of the season and third in the Alberta capital. Their home form has been significantly better than their away form, and with three of their four remaining matches at Clarke Stadium, they have a chance to play spoiler for the teams ahead of them. It won’t be easy, as their opponents Cavalry, Forge and Atletico Ottawa (they also travel to face Pacific in their final road game of the season) make up the top three teams in the table entering this weekend’s action. Most importantly, however, The Eddies are looking forward to spending a few weeks in front of the fans who have remained loyal throughout this difficult campaign. “It’s massive to be at home, it feels like we haven’t played at home forever, even though we did have that one game,” said head coach Alan Koch. “It’s nice to be home, it’s nice to back to the normal routine for our players and everyone who works around our team. We’re excited to be home. I’ve seen one or two of our supporters this week, and they’re excited to come support their team.”
FC Edmonton wins: 0 || Cavalry FC wins: 11 || Draws: 3
July 30, 2022 —Cavalry FC 2-0 FC Edmonton
“They’re one of the giants of our league, they’re always near the top of this league. It’s a very good club that’s been built to win. We know it’s going to be a big challenge, it’s always a big challenge. We always rise to the occasion in these games, even though we haven’t got the results we’d like to get, I think you can see our players and coaching staff embrace these games, and we’re excited to go represent our club and represent our city.” — FC Edmonton head coach Alan Koch
“They’ve got something to prove. For them, this is an opportunity to get their first win against us. We have to ensure Saturday is not that day, we want to keep it going over four seasons. Alan’s done a great job with the resources he’s had, so we know they’ll be really organized, really tough to beat, and they’ve had decent home form of late — we got to watch them against recently and thought they played quite well, we won’t be underestimating them that’s for sure.” — Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr