2021 CPL regular season — Match #34
Pacific FC vs. Cavalry FC
July 30, 2021 at 6:30 pm PT/9:30 pm ET
Starlight Stadium in Langford, BC
Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca // Tickets available here
Pacific FC: Callum Irving, Kadin Chung, Jordan Haynes, Abdoulaye Samake, Lukas Macnaughton, Victor Blasco, Alejandro Diaz, Marco Bustos, Alessandro Hojabrpour, Jamar Dixon (c), Manuel Aparicio
Cavalry FC: Marco Carducci, Daan Klomp, Nik Ledgerwood (c), Anthony Novak, Jose Escalante, Joseph Di Chiara, Elliot Simmons, Victor Loturi, Mo Farsi, David Norman, Karifa Yao
In the first match at the newly rebranded Starlight Stadium, Pacific FC hosts Cavalry FC to kickstart both side’s post-bubble regular season’s Friday evening in Langford.
Both the Tridents and Cavs finished up their time in Winnipeg with a 4-2-2 record — Pacific sits in second with the superior goal difference — with each club ending off The Kickoff with victories last week as Pacific put away Atlético Ottawa 4-2 last Wednesday night thanks in large part to an Alejandro Díaz hattrick, only the second three goal outing in league history. Cavalry dispatched the champions the following night with a convincing 2-1 win over Forge FC as Anthony Novak scored against his former side and Ali Musse added the insurance marker to ensure a late Mo Babouli strike was simply a formality at the final whistle.
Having been home briefly to enjoy the little things life on the road can’t offer, Wheeldon Jr. and his group are gearing up to switch on for battle once again ahead of Friday: “Of course it was nice to be back to your creature comforts and do the small pleasures like flipping the barbecue or doing a bit yard work,” Wheeldon Jr. told media on Thursday. “When we’re on the training pitch and when we’re on the plane and coming here, we’ll flip the switchand have the Superman spins and we’ll be who we need to be when the competition hits us.”
At the other end of the pitch, this fixture is one Pa-Modou Kah and Pacifc have surely had circled on the calendar since the full season schedule was released last month — Friday marks not only the Tridents return to their own pitch but Kah’s first match in charge at Starlight Stadium, all lining up on his 41st birthday.
“As they say in football, you never forget your first… and for me it’s a different one as it’s on my birthday and for the first time after a year, I get to lead the team out for a home game,” said Kah on Thursday. “I believe the boys are going to enjoy themselves which is the most important thing… we’re looking forward to the game and we’re very happy to have the fans back.”
After not facing one another during The Kickoff, the last tie between these two teams took place in PEI during last year’s Island Games. It was Cavalry who came away 3-1 winners back on September 9, 2020 as Nik Ledgerwood, Mo Farsi and Elijah Adekugbe scored for the Cavs and Dominick Zator (OG) was responsible for the only goal conceded on the night.
In what was been a high-event matchup historically between these two, expect no different Friday night as both Pacific and Cavalry look to take second place for their own with a win on Friday night.
Make your match picks prior to kickoff at canpl.ca/predictor for a chance to win prizes, including the grand prize of a trip to the 2021 CPL Final!
3 THINGS TO WATCH:
- Goals galore? The potential for a congested scoresheet at Starlight Stadium on Friday is considerably high as these two have combined for 23 goals scored in their six previous league meetings. The only match with less than three goals scored came through a 1-1 draw way back in August of 2019, while at least one of the two sides has found the net three or more times in four of the six games. With the likes of Marco Bustos, Alejandro Diaz and Ollie Bassett lining up for Pacific, the visitors will have their work cut out for them defensively, but the Cavs attack counters with an impressive group of their own in Ahinga Selemani, Joe Mason — starting to find his match fitness, and Anthony Novak. For Wheeldon Jr., he’s prepared to embrace any socreline this weekend as long as it ends with Cavalry heading home with a win: “We’ve been able to see out one goal games and they’re usually what championship material is all about, the team that can play the close games and see them out, that’s where it’s at. Look, if it’s one-nil or two one or a five three classic, but we get the three points, I’ll be happy.”
- “Best on best” out West: Apart from the home side in Valour FC who rightfully stole many of the headlines during the Winnipeg bubble, Pacific and Cavalry looked arguably the next two most impressive teams at The Kickoff —a claim the league table would support. With a week off to get players nursing injuries back up to speed or to get newcomers acclimaitzed within the squad, it’s safe to expect near the best version of both clubs on Friday within what’s available to each coach right now: “Right now, like every team we’ve got a bunch on the treatment table and we’ve got a bunch that can suit up on playing,” said Wheeldon Jr. “We’ve just got to pick the best 11 against the opponents and look at their strengths and weaknesses and try to expose them and try to heighten ours.” Dan Field and Oliver Minatel will be unavailable through injury for an extended period for the Cavs, while Pa Modou-Kah suggested everyone was available for selection for Pacific going into the weekend — including both Thomas Meilleur-Giguère and Victor Blasco.
- Building off the bubble: Each of the two teams ensured their time in Winnipeg wasn’t all for not as they accumulated enough points to give themselves a leg up on the competition upon heading home to their own markets. While Kah is content with the way his group showed within the bubble, he insists it’s far from job done as they get set to open their account at home: “We did okay but I think there’s more in this group, they know themselves and there’s more to give. There’s nothing given out from the eight games, it’s after 28 games and plus the playoffs that the medals and accolades are given, so that means we haven’t done anything, that means that we have to continue to be humble, we have to continue to keep working hard.” While Wheeldon Jr. anticipated the up and downs of the beginning of the season given their roster turnover, he was happy with his group’s response to adversity: “When you haven’t scored for four games do the guys shrink or be like wallflowers or do they rise like warriors and I think the way we played in the last couple of games, even with the games that we tied against York, we started to look more like ourself again.” Set to square off six times between now and the end of the regular season, this fixture could have major implications at the top of the table by the end of 2021.
Cavalry FC wins: 3 || Pacific FC wins: 2 || Draws: 1
September 9, 2020 — Cavalry FC 3-1 Pacific FC
“It’s a hard working team and nothing will be given which is the same for us so I anticipate a great game from both sides, with the fans in it should be a wonderful game.” — Pa-Modou Kah, Pacific FC head coach
“I think they’re a terrific side and they’ve got a very good attack and we’ve got to make sure we impose our will on them.” — Tommy Wheeldon Jr., Cavalry FC head coach