The Fall portion of the 2019 Canadian Premier League season continues on, with three matches taking place over the weekend pitting six teams against each other, while Valour took a much-needed rest before returning to action later this week.
Last Wednesday, three CPL outfits went toe-to-toe with opposition from Major League Soccer and the USL-Championship, prompting a special edition of The Breakdown for Leg 1 of the two-legged tie. But, with a full weekend of action, here’s what we learned from Week 11:
7. Cavalry enjoying Halifax road trips
Another day, another Cavalry victory.
The Spring champions continued their hot run of form, picking up a second win in the Fall courtesy of a 1-0 result over HFX Wanderers FC at Wanderers Grounds, with Oliver Minatel scoring the only goal of the game, assisted by Sergio Camargo. Sure, it was a late winner, but there are a few lessons to draw from it nonetheless.
Firstly? Minatel, the Brazilian striker with a perennial smile, scored his first goal for the club, smashing the roof of the net to take three points out of Halifax – congrats, kid.
Second? It’s HFX’s second loss at home all season, and, once again, it came against Cavalry, who remain the only team to actually get a win over HFX on their home turf.
6. Ryan Telfer – CPL’s biggest star?
When we kicked off the 2019 Canadian Premier League season, the infinite promise of potential remained a mystery; who would emerge from this pool of Canadian talent?
It was a question that, I think, we were all fascinated to see answered over the course of the season. And, while the likes of Camargo, Nico Pasquotti, Nathan Ingham, and many, many more players have become household names in Canadian soccer circles, the emergence of York9’s Ryan Telfer has been among the most interesting to watch.
Telfer kicked off his CPL career with a bang, scoring the first-ever goal in league history just two minutes into the inaugural match.
He then scored the CPL’s first-ever goal against an MLS side, smashing past the Montreal Impact to level the score in Canadian Championship action.
On Saturday, Telfer added yet another to his tally, scoring the game-winner against FC Edmonton in a 2-1 result at York Lions Stadium.
Stars are born on the big occasions, and so far, Telfer has stepped up to each one he’s been presented with … though he’s not alone.
5. Welcome back, Hendrik
Speaking of top talents, Pacific FC is close to welcoming back Hendrik Starostzik, with CPL Editorial’s Martin Bauman reporting that the German centre-back has been taking part in full training, having seemingly recovered from a bruised tendon.
“It’s a great feeling (to be on the training field),” Starostzik said. “I have to work on my stamina a lot, but I’m really satisfied at this point, and I hope I come back very soon.”
The man known as “Staro” could make his playing return as soon as Wednesday, when York9 hosts Pacific FC at York Lions Stadium. Adding to the good news, Lukas MacNaughton and Kadin Chung are looking healthy again, while Marcel De Jong says his injury recovery is ahead of schedule.
4. Valour takes to transfer window
Valour FC is in something of a rebuild mode, having parted ways with striker Stephen Hoyle last week, and announcing Monday the acquisition of Jose Galan out of Saudi second-division outfit Al-Jabalian FC.
Galan, 33, brings a wealth of experience, having played for Atletico Madrid, CD Toledo, Almeria, Cultural Leonesa, and many other clubs in places like Thailand, Indonesia, Austria, Jordan, Romania, Cyprus, Finland, and Hong Kong.
So, calling him well-travelled is … putting it lightly. But is he a replacement for Hoyle?
Not quite. Galan is a holding midfielder, through and through. He’s not a goal-scorer – and never has been – so reinforcements up top might also be on the way for Rob Gale’s side. Galan seems to be a replacement for the injured Josip Golubar in midfield, instead.
3. RIP, Edmonton’s win streak
FC Edmonton’s hot start to the Fall campaign suffered a cool down in the form of a loss to York9 on Sunday, leaving Jeff Paulus’ side stuck at just the three wins in a row, despite the promise of more seeming likelier with each passing week.
Ah, well. Such is life, and soccer, and the Eddies regroup on Wednesday to host Valour, a team who took a much-needed break and now return to action hoping to turn around their own poor run of form – a six-match losing streak stretching back to June 5.
Edmonton will, of course, hope to rebound quickly with another win, and perhaps Valour is the perfect opponent to shake off that Y9 defeat. But, with a well-rested Valour, anything is possible.
2. Can we talk about …
… Forge FC attacker Tristan Borges?
The 20-year-old returned to action on Saturday, scoring twice to help Forge pick up a wild 3-2 win over Pacific FC at Westhills Stadium, including the game-winner.
He also returns to the top of the CPL’s goal-scoring charts, with six to his name for the season.
So, all of this is impressive enough without considering the fact that, apparently, Borges has been battling a nagging injury for the last little while. That’s what Forge head coach Bobby Smyrniotis revealed after the match, telling reporters: “If I tell you today that he’s not at 100%, most people would think that’s not the case – but he’s not.”
If this is Borges at half-capacity, you can be sure he’ll be even more of a threat when he’s fully fit and in fighting shape once again.