It may have been a bye week in league play, but there are no bye weeks here at Wednesday Wonders.
Even without any Canadian Premier League matches, there’s still been lots of action in the last seven days. But before we dive in: last week, I wondered where FC Edmonton’s goals were going to come from amidst their troubling goalless streak.
Oumar Diouck ended the drought against York9 FC in Canadian Championship play last Wednesday, and Tomi Ameobi appeared to score a crucial second away goal deep in stoppage time, though the ref’s whistle turned that one into a moot point. They’ll need to find the back of the net at least twice tonight (and have them both count this time) to overturn the 3-1 aggregate lead that Y9 amassed in the first leg.
And though we won’t know until later tonight who’ll advance to the third round of the Canadian Championship between the Eddies, Y9, HFX Wanderers and Valour FC, we do know that Cavalry FC are through after their 3-2 aggregate win over Forge FC. So now the question is …
How close can the Cavs get to the Voyageurs Cup?
With due respect to other clubs still in the competition, the success of both Forge and Cavalry so far this season led many to conclude that whichever team emerged from their showdown would be the likeliest to carry the CPL banner deep into this tournament.
So, having vanquished their league foes, Cavalry now find themselves with a date (well, two dates) against the Vancouver Whitecaps of Major League Soccer, coming up on July 10 and 24. And while much can change in a little under a month, there are a few things we do already know.
For both the Cavs and the ‘Caps, the first leg is a mid-week sandwich, between a pair of league games. Cavalry, however, could very well still be riding the emotional high of claiming the crown as Spring season champions by then (assuming, that is, that they continue their undefeated rhythm).
The Whitecaps, in search of an MLS playoff spot, will be fighting hard for league points against several conference rivals in July. Cavalry, on the other hand—again, assuming they successfully complete their march to the Spring title—can certainly afford to prioritize Canadian Championship play over a few league games very early in the 18-game Fall campaign.
Might the ‘Caps take their eye off the cup-competition ball long enough for Cavalry to take advantage? Or, I wonder, are we all looking in the wrong place? Could some Voyageurs Cup magic actually come courtesy of a different CPL team entirely?
Has Pacific FC’s youth movement been vindicated?
PFC has been the unquestioned leaders so far in terms of doling out playing time to young Canadians—and head coach Michael Silberbauer’s approach was given a solid seal of approval this past weekend from Canada manager John Herdman, who invited 19-year-old midfielder Noah Verhoeven to train with the men’s national team ahead of the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup.
While this isn’t technically a national-team call-up, it’s a sign that Herdman (who, perhaps not coincidentally, was on-site for PFC’s home opener) has his eyes on CPL talent. With CONCACAF Nations League and 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying matches coming up on the horizon, I wonder: Who else might Herdman be hoping to get a closer look at?
Did you see that pass from Ryan Telfer?
Speaking of players putting in work over the bye week, Ryan Telfer — who’s on a season-long loan to York9 from Toronto FC — was recalled on an emergency basis by the Reds for their Friday match against Sporting Kansas City. What did he get up to? Oh, you know, just putting in an inch-perfect cross to fellow Canadian Jordan Hamilton for the dramatic equalizer in stoppage time.
— Toronto FC (@TorontoFC) June 10, 2019
That has me — and lots of other fans of the Canadian game — wondering: Was that a “good” thing?
Forgive me for the wild take, but, generally, it’s good when one Canadian soccer player passes to another Canadian soccer player, who scores a goal for a Canadian team in a Canadian venue. That applies whether it’s a CPL team, an MLS team, a national team or whatever.
Seriously though, there’s the idea out there that this situation wasn’t ideal for Telfer, or for Y9, ahead of a Canadian Championship bout with Edmonton. Personally, I don’t see it.
Everyone knows that TFC and MLS have been around a lot longer than the CPL, and everyone knows (or should know) what the CPL’s long-term vision and priorities are when it comes to Canadian player development. And an emergency recall option is a standard loan clause, anywhere in the world.
That’s why Telfer being thrust back into the TFC spotlight and making an immediate impact is a huge positive for both the player and his CPL club. If anything, it’s a reminder about Telfer’s talents for Toronto-area fans – some of whom may suddenly find themselves more curious about catching Y9 in action, and a ringing endorsement that playing minutes at a professional level makes you sharper, more action-ready, and a better player in general.
Frankly, Telfer looked better in his short time on the field than many of his TFC teammates, who were also deputized from the bench due to the shorthanded nature of Greg Vanney’s side on the day.
So, for what it’s worth, I’d say that’s indisputably a good thing for all parties involved.