The 5,000-or-so Calgary faithful who gathered at Spruce Meadows on Saturday were probably expecting a different ending.
You could hardly fault them; they’ve bore witness to nothing short of perfect from their Cavalry FC team up until the day, as Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s side went 7-0-0 to start the Canadian Premier League season, knocking Pacific FC and Forge FC out of the Canadian Championship along the way.
But, facing the prospect of wrapping up the Spring portion of the 2019 campaign early and with two games to go, Cavalry instead suffered its very first defeat at the hands of a visiting Forge FC by way of a stunning fifth-minute effort by Kyle Bekker, in a 1-0 result.
Bekker, the standout player on the day, had envisioned this sort of result before the match, telling CanPL.ca that his team needs to put in a full 90 minute performance to get the result they need and keep their hopes alive for the Spring.
That’s exactly what he and his teammates delivered on Saturday.
“It was a big effort from the guys. Everyone dug deep,” Bekker said after the match. “It was a little ugly at times, but we got that first big goal and we saw it out; this is huge for our character, and now we’ve got to kick off from that.”
He added: “All we wanted to do was come in here and get the three points. It’s not really in our control. All we can do is get the three points and put a little pressure on them. We all assume they’re probably going to get that one point in their next two games, but it would be nice if they didn’t. Still, his is huge for us as we go into the Fall season.”
Before the match, Cavalry needed just a draw to book their spot in the 2019 CPL Championship. Now? It’s a little more complicated, sure, but the odds still remain in their favour.
Still, we must reset once again, break down the permutations, find out what it will take for Forge to pull off the statistically-improbable, though-still-technically-possible upset to snatch the Spring title away from Cavalry’s grasp.
Should Cavalry suffer another defeat at the hands of York9 FC on Wednesday, the same day Forge wraps up its own 10-match sprint against FC Edmonton, the Spring season will come down to Canada Day, July 1, when the Cavs take on Pacific FC at Westhills Stadium.