VICTORIA – Confidence is an interesting thing. Some teams have it in spades. If one word might sum up Cavalry FC’s Spring season, it might be this.
Who can ignore the confidence Tommy Wheeldon Jr. has instilled in his club? To insist, as he did, after a 5-0 start, that there was more to come?
The Cavs have earned the right to be confident. A Spring season title affords that. But confidence can be more than a by-product of one’s standing. It might, if the results have yet to come, be something else. An engine, perhaps. A glimmer of potential.
With one match left in their Spring campaign, Pacific FC are confident. Never mind the eight points through nine matches or the -6 goal differential. To hear the club talk of their standing, things have just begun to click. And the Michael Silberbauer-led side is ready for its moment.
“The last few games, we’ve really gotten back to the way we want to play,” said defender Blake Smith. “Especially (against Valour FC), we made it a point to be a possession-based team, keep the ball, and try and build up from the back … Obviously, we didn’t get the result (last weekend), but I think we’re playing a lot prettier football.”
“You can see it on the field,” added forward Victor Blasco. “We play attractive football; we have talented players.”
Blasco is a big reason for Pacific’s confidence of late. The former La Masia product has scored in both of his club’s last two matches. Against FC Edmonton, he led all players in shots (3). Against Valour FC, Blasco was second to Smith in chances created (2).
Smith has been another reason for Pacific’s belief. In the last two matches, no PFC player has created more scoring chances (4). Fielding a 4-3-3 with Matthew Baldisimo dropping back to centre-half, Silberbauer has given his full-backs license to be aggressive on the attack.
“I used to be a winger my whole career,” Smith, on loan from FC Cincinnati, told reporters. “So for me, anytime I get the opportunity to go up into the attack, it’s fun.”
Baldisimo has been key in enabling Smith and partner Kadin Chung to roam. Since Pacific’s trip to Winnipeg, Silberbauer has switched the defensive midfielder to the back line.
“It’s been a while. I’ve played all my life in the (Vancouver Whitecaps) Academy as a centre-half,” the 21-year-old told CanPL.ca. “In the Academy, I was one of the bigger guys, but coming out here, playing against guys that are 6-foot-4, 6-foot-2, it’s tough. But gotta get the job done, right?”
“He’s played two good games,” Silberbauer told reporters of Baldisimo. “We wanted someone down there who was a little bit more composed on the ball.”
The task for Pacific—a win on Canada Day—will surely not come easy. Through nine matches, Cavalry FC have made a clinic of scoring goals (15).
But here again, it comes back to confidence, and which team has it.
“Hopefully, we can be the guys that spoil their Spring season,” Baldisimo told CanPL.ca.