2021 CPL regular season — Match #64
Valour FC vs. FC Edmonton
September 7, 2021 at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT
IG Field, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Watch Live: OneSoccer.ca // Tickets available here
Two CPL sides looking to bounce back will meet at IG Field on Tuesday, as Valour FC host FC Edmonton in both sides’ 17th game of the 2021 season. These two teams have each lost two in a row, and will therefore be desperate to get back in the win column with a strong post-Labour Day showing.
Hosts Valour played at home on Saturday against Cavalry FC, losing 1-0 in a very heated match that saw 11 yellow cards and one red handed out. Valour had fallen the previous weekend on the road at Pacific FC, as well, so the emotions were running high for the Winnipeg-based club. Still, they’ve maintained their grip on the league’s fourth and final playoff spot, with a 7-1-8 record keeping them in front of York United.
The Eddies, meanwhile, fell 2-1 to Pacific FC on Saturday night, conceding twice in the first half before fighting their way back into the game with Easton Ongaro’s excellent 72nd-minute goal. They had a massive edge — 71% — in possession in the second half as they looked to complete the comeback on the road, and they found a number of very good chances, but they couldn’t find their equalizer at Starlight Stadium. Still, they drew some positives from the effort.
After 16 games, Edmonton sit seventh in the CPL table with 14 points. They’re eight points behind Valour, which is certainly not insurmountable with 12 games left on the schedule, but winning a game like Tuesday’s against the team they’re directly chasing feels like a necessity if they’re to make a late push for that playoff spot.
These sides have met three already this year. FC Edmonton won 3-1 back on July 31 in their first game back at Clarke Stadium, thanks to an outburst from strikers Easton Ongaro and Tobias Warschewski (plus one from Amer Didic). Just over a week later, they met in Edmonton again, but that was a drearier affair that ended 0-0.
More recently, though, Valour claimed the spoils in a dominant 3-0 win at IG Field on August 24, which saw William Akio score twice — one of them just two minutes in — before Rafael Galhardo added the third on a comfortable night for the Winnipeg side.
This will be the fourth in a set of six games Edmonton and Valour will play against each other this year; can either side find the edge this time around?
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:
- Home points key for Valour in playoff race: Rob Gale’s side will be fairly thankful to HFX Wanderers at the moment, after the Nova Scotians came back from two goals down (then needed another equalizer at the death) to claim a draw on Monday afternoon against York United. The Nine Stripes are Valour’s closest competition for fourth place right now, and if they’d held on to win that game, they would’ve been just one point behind. Instead, Valour still have a three-point cushion (and a significantly better goal differential). Still, after this game Valour will have played one more game than York; they can’t afford to spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror, though. With seven of their 12 remaining games (six of the next seven) coming at IG Field, it’s vital that they pick up as many points as possible at home to stay in front.
- Eddies need to start strong: Too often, it seems, FCE have found themselves playing from behind. Last time they saw Valour they were trailing from the second minute onward, but more broadly they’ve conceded in the first half-hour in four consecutive games now. As a team that’s keen on putting some strong performances together in September, the Eddies cannot afford to keep putting themselves in that difficult situation. Their attack has been strong enough, particularly when Easton Ongaro and Tobias Warschewski are firing together, but they won’t be giving themselves a good chance to win if they concede early again. They’ll look to be vigilant at the back against a Valour team who can strike incredibly quickly with first-half opportunities.
- Valour to put emotional Saturday clash behind them: As mentioned earlier, Valour’s loss to Cavalry on Saturday was an extremely heated affair, with both sides at each other’s throats. The game had 28 total fouls and 107 duels, and Valour came out of it with five yellow cards and one red — which came late in stoppage time to defender Rocco Romeo. Rob Gale called it an intense affair that got out of hand, and he was certainly frustrated that it was his side who finished with 10 men. Still, with such a short turnaround, the Winnipeggers need to move on quickly. Unfortunately, that Cavalry game will leave them a little shorthanded for this match with Edmonton; Romeo will be suspended for his red card, as will star striker Austin Ricci, who picked up his fourth yellow card of the year on Saturday. So, Valour will need to test their depth a little, with their leading scorer (who is second on the team in minutes, having appeared in every game so far) missing.
Valour FC wins: 5 || FC Edmonton wins: 2 || Draws: 2
August 24, 2021 — Valour FC 3-0 FC Edmonton