As such, Forge and Cavalry are set to meet in Finals 2019 to wrap up the inaugural CPL campaign. But, before we get to that, let’s take a look back on what else we saw from Week 22:
7. Congratulations to the Impact …
While much of the talk of Week 22 will surround Forge and Cavalry, the Montreal Impact made a bit of history of their own, clinching the 2019 Canadian Championship with a victory over Toronto FC on penalties at BMO Field.
In truth, this was one of the most memorable Canadian Championship campaigns, ever – with seven Canadian Premier League teams in the mix, and the tournament’s first-ever “cupset” in Cavalry’s win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, the 2019 affair was one for the history books, too. Here’s hoping the 2020 edition brings even more moments of drama and intrigue.
6. … and congratulations to Masters FA!
The Impact weren’t the only team celebrating silverware this week, as League1 Ontario’s 2019 season came to a conclusion with Masters FA defeating FC London in the finals.
A hat trick by Akeem Priestley did the trick in a 4-1 win over FC London, bringing to a close the campaign and giving Masters FA their first-ever L1O title.
As you’ll notice by the end of this feature, we’re going top to bottom in The Breakdown for a good reason: The rising tide lifts all ships.
Sure, you’re on CanPL.ca, where the Canadian Premier League is, naturally, our priority. But, the beauty of Canadian soccer is that we truly are all in this together; that means we celebrate all our moments, big and small. It’s why you can have MLS giants clash for the Voyageurs Cup, CPL outfits duke it out for a berth in Finals 2019, and a League1 Ontario title up for grabs, all in one week of action.
So, a hearty congratulations to Masters FA, as well as the Impact, as well as Forge FC, for their achievements this week – we are many, we are one.
For fans of these two outfits, Finals 2019 won’t be the first back-and-forth bout they’ll endure, as they’ll meet twice more in regular season play down this final Fall stretch – once at Spruce Meadows (Sunday, Oct. 9 at 9:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. MT, available on OneSoccer) and once at Tim Hortons Field (Oct. 16 at 7:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. MT, available on OneSoccer).
Whether it’s a dress rehearsal for the grand finale, or an opportunity for coaches Bobby Smyrniotis and Tommy Wheeldon Jr. to either experiment or keep their cards close to their chests, the “winner” of the Fall will likely be determined by which team gets the better of the other in these two tilts.
Meanwhile, Jeff Paulus at FC Edmonton figures a third-place finish has meaning of its own in potential Canadian Championship seeding, though no details are yet available as to how that format will play out. Still, finishing as high as possible will be the priority for Paulus, as well as York9, Valour, and Pacific.
4. Tough week to be a referee
Look, we get it – emotions are heightened as we come down this final stretch of the Fall campaign, and with Forge and Cavalry both deeply invested in topping the table, and with the former still seeking their berth in Finals 2019, maybe some of that emotion spills over.
But, this week’s matchups between Forge and Pacific, and Cavalry and York9, produced the most yellow cards of any match day in the CPL’s 2019 season (so far).
Saturday’s first match, HFX vs. Edmonton, was relatively tame by comparison, with the referee producing just one yellow card for each team.
But, in Forge vs. Pacific, the referee booked Forge’s Dominic Samuel, Triston Henry, Anthony Novak, Kwame Awuah, and Tristan Borges, with Pacific’s Blake Smith also landing in the book.
York9 vs. Cavalry? The Nine Stripes’ Joe Di Chiara and Ryan Telfer saw yellow, joined by Cavalry’s Mauro Eustaquio, Nathan Mavila, Nik Ledgerwood, and Nico Pasquotti, with Mavila getting a second yellow, and Jose Escalante getting a straight red card. After the match, Telfer applauded the refereefor taking a stance, while on the flip side, Wheeldon Jr. wasn’t quite as generous.
A total of 15 yellow cards and two red cards were issued over three matches. Let’s hope things calm down in Week 23, now that the dust has somewhat settled.
3. Speaking of yellow cards …
Looks like the referees weren’t the only ones doling out bookings this weekend.
In the video above (courtesy OneSoccer), Forge’s Novak even doles out a yellow card of his own.
It’s a bit cheeky, and yes, Novak was lucky to get away with that one, in this writer’s opinion, as he probably should have earned a second yellow for dissent, but you don’t see that every day, do you?
2. Can we talk about …
… Forge FC midfielder Kyle Bekker? He was the talk of the OneSoccer broadcast in discussions for the league’s inaugural MVP prize, and while other notables such as Tristan Borges, Marco Bustos, Terran Campbell, and Nico Pasquotti come to mind – not to mention Marco Carducci, Dominick Zator, Daniel Krutzen, and Amer Didic, among others – it’s becoming clearer and clearer each week that Bekker is the silent man pulling the strings to one of the league’s most dominant teams. Sure, he’s not all about the spotlight – though he does have a joint-league leading five assists (alongside Borges and Kwame Awuah).
Is Bekker the early candidate for the CPL MVP? It depends on who can shine in a pair of upcoming league tilts between Forge and Cavalry. It would be hard not to give the nod to the leading man of whichever team comes out on top.