One more week of Canadian Premier League play means one more round of Wednesday Wonders.
In case you missed it, last week was the debut of this weekly feature, in which I’ll take a look at the week’s burning questions in the CPL and muse about what answers might be in store.
And though a wise man once said “we must move forward, not backward”, it behooves me to touch on some answers we’ve received in the past seven days before addressing a few new quandaries.
Last week, I wondered about the bona fides of both Cavalry FC and Forge FC, as the Spring season approaches its halfway point. Well, I am now obligated to put some respect on their names (as, I’m being told, the kids would say) after the Cavs picked up two more wins to remain perfect, and Forge made a big statement with a road win over Valour FC.
In exactly one month’s time, the two sides will meet at Spruce Meadows in what could be a decisive battle for the Spring season crown. Before we get too far down the road, though, let’s wonder about what’s right in front of us.
Has York9 turned a corner?
I wondered whether last week’s opening leg against AS Blainville of PLSQ in the Canadian Championship could be a chance for Y9 to really open up and start delivering on the potential they showed against Forge in the CPL’s inaugural match. Instead, the two sides fought to a 0-0 draw in Blainville.
But then, in league play on Saturday, Y9 tenaciously fought back from a two-goal deficit to grab a 2-2 draw against Pacific FC at Westhills Stadium.
That sets the table for a big night tonight—not only is the second leg against Blainville a chance for Y9 to advance to the next round of the Canadian Championship, it’s also their first opportunity to perform in front of their home fans at York Lions Stadium.
Should they finish the job tonight, it’ll bring some momentum ahead of their CPL home opener on Saturday, the second installment of the 905 Derby up against Forge FC—and if their first clash was any indication, it ought to be a barnburner.
What’s cooking out east?
HFX Wanderers got the job done on the road with a 3-2 win in last week’s Canadian Championship match against Vaughan Azzurri, though they’d surely have preferred not to squander a two-goal lead along the way. That has me wondering: how will Stephen Hart approach tonight’s second leg at Wanderers Grounds?
The Halifax side has already been battling injuries thus far, and sitting on a one-goal aggregate advantage (with three away goals, to boot) against a lower-division side would seem like a time to cycle in some fresh legs, especially with an extremely tough road test against Cavalry coming up on Saturday.
Then again, the League1 Ontario champs showed their scrappiness in the first leg, and complacency has spelled the downfall of many a favoured side in the history of cup competitions. Will Hart prioritize advancement towards the Voyageurs Cup, or try to split the difference?
Seriously, who’s going to surge in the Boot race?
In last week’s edition of Wednesday Wonders, I noted that CPLers had, to that point, taken a rather egalitarian approach to goal scoring, as the 23 league goals had come from 22 different players. We’re now up to 30 goals scored, and as it stands, only four men have found the back of the net twice: Jordan Brown of Cavalry, and the Forge trio of Kadell Thomas, Anthony Novak and Tristan Borges.
But I wonder whether, despite a disappointing draw, Saturday’s matchup out west might have opened the floodgates for a pair of PFC attackers. Both Marcus Haber, on his return from a minor injury, and Ben Fisk recorded their first CPL goals.
With Haber in particular standing out as one of the league’s most dangerous big target men, a run of goal-scoring form could be in the cards—and his presence could make a world of difference in tonight’s Canadian Championship matchup in Calgary.
Although since tonight’s Canadian Championship matchups don’t technically contribute to the CPL Golden Boot race, I wonder whether we’ll be back here next week wondering the exact same thing once again.