PREVIEW: Valour FC vs. Cavalry FC — 2024 Match #51

2024 CPL Regular Season — Match #51
Valour FC vs. Cavalry FC
July 7, 2024 at 3 p.m. MT/4 p.m. CT
Princess Auto Stadium in Winnipeg, Manitoba
Watch Live: & TELUS Ch. 980 // Tickets available here

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Matchweek #13 of the Canadian Premier League rounds off with a key clash out in Winnipeg, as Valour hosts Cavalry at Princess Auto Stadium on Sunday.

Their second meeting of the season, this one promises to be crucial, as just four points separates the two sides heading into this match, meaning that a victory for either side could create key movement in a tight CPL table.

With just eight points separating second and eighth place heading into this matchweek, wins have become a valuable currency worth battling for, and that’s expected to be on full display in this game, one where both teams will have plenty to prove.

For Valour, they’ll be looking to build some momentum after picking up a crucial 1-0 win at home over an in-form York United side in their last match, helping them snap a run of three straight losses.

In particular, they’ll look to build off what they showed defensively on that day, as they picked up just their second clean sheet of the season in that win. Having conceded the most goals in the CPL with 22 in 12 games as of writing, they know that keeping things tight defensively will be crucial moving forward, especially against a Cavalry side that can pour them in when given the chance.

Conversely, Valour will now look to use that win as a chance to build up some home form, as they were coming off back-to-back home losses before they defeated York. At their best, Valour are always a tough side to crack when at Princess Auto Stadium, and will look to keep that up as they continue a home-heavy stretch of games.

“I think that those are the type of wins that when you look down the line, they’re going to be very important,” Valour’s head coach, Phil Dos Santos, said this week. “The way the guys fought, the resilience (they showed), their ability to stick to to their their commitment and their task, and do it together (as they did), that was very important. I think these are the type of wins that make a team grow.”

As for Cavalry, they’ve got one simple mission heading into this game – win. Sitting with just two wins in 12 games this season, that’s pushed them further down the table than they would’ve hoped given their status as defending regular season title winners, as they currently sit in sixth place.

For what it’s worth, they’re not losing games, either, sitting with a whopping eight draws (which would’ve been the third-most in the CPL in 2023), which shows that they’re not far off turning things around.

Yet, after coming off a road loss to the Halifax Wanderers, which snapped their 10-game unbeaten run, they’ll want to start trending in the right direction once again, putting that string of draws behind them.

“We’re getting the halfway point of the season,” Cavalry’s head coach, Tommy Wheeldon Jr., said this week. “I always think that if you’re in the mix at the halfway point, the run-in is where the rubber hits the road, and that’s where the mentally strong come through.”

In terms of player availability, Valour remains without Juan Pablo Sánchez due to injury, but otherwise have no other concerns in their squad.

Meanwhile, Cavalry lost some key pieces this week, as Lucas Días’s loan from Sporting CP came to an end, while William Akio was ruled out for the rest of the season with an ankle injury. Along with the continued absence of Bradley Kamdem and Ali Musse, that’ll put them short a few regulars for this game, although they got a boost as Lleyton Brooks and Diego Gutiérrez are available for selection after missing out in their last game, which is key.

26-05-2024 Cavalry FC vs Valour FC at ATCO Field, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. CFC Media/Tony Lewis

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  • Central areas expected to be tightly contested: Last game marked a key moment for Valour, as they were able to start the pair of Dante Campbell and Raphael Ohin together in midfield for the first time in 2024. With that, they were able to gain some key solidity in the middle of the park, as the pair of Ohin and Campbell gave them some muscle off the ball, while still giving them quality on it. Because of that, they’ll look to build off what they showed in that win, and they’ll need to as they get set for a battle against a Cavalry side that can go toe-to-toe with anyone in the CPL in the middle of the park. In particular, Shamit Shome will look to build off a bright showing against Halifax in Cavalry’s last match, and there is no shortage of players who can step up and look to match that sort of performance alongside him, such as Charlie Trafford, Diego Gutiérrez or Jesse Daley. On Valour’s wider pitch, the middle of the pitch can often be crucial in these games, as getting too stretched centrally can create dangerous pockets for opponents to attack into, something both sides will want to avoid doing. On paper, that shouldn’t be an issue, but if either side can break open the middle of the park, that could be a big factor in the race for a victory.


  • Valour’s attackers starting to find form: For most of this season, Valour’s attack has been headlined by Jordi Swibel, who has had an excellent season to date – he leads Valour with five goals, which places him fourth in the CPL. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s worth noting that when he found his fifth goal with a marker against Pacific earlier in June, that meant he had scored 50% of his team’s 10 goals at the time, giving an idea of how much he’s shouldered the offensive load for his team to start the year. For what it’s worth, however, some of Valour’s other attackers have started to step up in the past few weeks, providing Swibel with some key support. Shaan Hundal and Abdul Binate have opened their 2024 accounts in recent weeks, while Diogo Ressurreição found his second of the season in the York win. That’s key, as those three are all quite important to Valour’s attack, sitting as the top three minutes leaders among Valour attackers after Swibel, who is second on the entire team in minutes. Now, they’ll look to grow from this recent stretch, as Valour’s attack will benefit if they can get all of their attackers firing at once, instead of putting the pressure on one name to score the goals. The best attacks are usually balanced ones, and this recent stretch shows that Valour could be trending towards having a pretty solid attacking unit when they’re all are at their best. “It’s important for teams to find multiple different ways to score,” Dos Santos said. “Not everyone will be hot all the time, so it’s important to have multiple solutions.”


  • Cavalry looking for more chance generation: Goals have been hard to come by in 2024 for Cavalry, who sit tied for second-last in the CPL in terms of goals scored with Valour, but unlike Valour, who have scored four goals in their last three games, Cavalry enters this game having scored just one goal in their last three games, having been shut out in two of those matches. Yet, it shows what Cavalry’s biggest challenge will be as they chase more wins – getting their attack going. They continue to be quite strong defensively, with their 11 goals against the second-fewest in the CPL, and they’ve also allowed the lowest xG per WyScout’s model with 10.71, which helps explain why they’ve been drawing so many games – when you defend well, you rarely lose. Yet, it’s also hard to turn those draws into wins without goals, something that they’ll look to change in this game. They’ve got names who can score goals, headlined by Tobias Warschewski, who is second in the CPL Golden Boot race with six goals, but they’ll want to generate more chances, currently sitting fifth in xG for per WyScout’s model. For what it’s worth, they’ll feel that their attack will also need a jolt to get going, as they’ve only scored two or more goals in a game twice this season, something they’ll want to change if they’re to start racking up the goals. “We’ve hit the woodwork 10 times this season, so it is a game of inches,” Wheeldon Jr. mused. “But what I want from this group is not to think about winning games by one, I want us to be excited to create more risk, and to try and score 2, 3, 4 or more goals, as that’s possible for our group of players, but we’ve just got to now give them the belief that they can go out and do it.”



Valour FC: Viscosi; Alarcón, Mourdoukoutas, Facchineri, Antonoglou; Ohin, Campbell; Binate, Ressurreição, Faria; Swibel

Cavalry FC: Carducci; Aird, Kobza, Klomp, Montgomery; Daley, Trafford; Shome, Camargo, Warschewski; Shaw


Valour FC wins: 3 || Cavalry FC wins: 11 || Draws: 5

Last meeting:

May 26, 2024 — Cavalry FC  1-1 Valour FC


“We’re used to the fact that in the CPL, we’re in that (playoff) mode from the very beginning, it looks like every match is a six point match. You win two and you’re up the (table), but if you lose two, it can look like you’ve come down a lot. So that gap of eight points between where we are now and second place, we’re talking about two games and a half, it shows that everything’s so tight, there’s so much competition, that I think that’s going to (continue) all the way to the end. When you know you’re competing every week, every point is going to be very valuable, every game becomes important.” — Valour FC head coach Phil Dos Santos

“We’re not going to go away from our playing principles, we believe that our positional and possession game suits us, it’s our pressing game that we can improve on, and there’s different ways to score, right? If you’re up against a block defence, it’s your positional play, if you’re up against a transition team, it’s a fast attack, and then you’ve got your set plays, we’ve only scored two from our set plays this season. But yeah, it’s time to start contributing from all areas of the pitch, and we’ve spoke to the players, whether you’re a wide player, central player a midfielder or a defender – everyone can contribute to this.” — Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr.