If I told you we’ve passed Week 17 of the Canadian Premier League’s debut season, would you believe me?
I mean, since it’s an objectively accurate statement, your belief or non-belief isn’t actually relevant. But my point is — boy, has the time flown. And yet here I am, still wondering about stuff!
Last week, I wondered about Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s juggling abilities, as Cavalry FC stared down a Voyageurs Cup semifinal and the latest iteration of Al Classico, all within a three-day span. The verdict? Decent.
The Cavs fell just short against the Montreal Impact, then held their provincial rivals to a scoreless draw in league play. With their Canadian Championship run over and a spot in the CPL Championship already assured, I now wonder what balls Wheeldon will toss in the air for the remainder of the Fall campaign.
I also wondered about Valour FC’s resurgence in a road win over York9 FC. It turns out that was no anomaly, as they also put up a 3-1 win over FC Edmonton on Monday, just 48 hours after a tough loss to Forge FC. Clearly, coach Rob Gale’s talk of the team’s resiliency is more than just words.
Speaking of words (look, not every segue can be great, okay?), here are mine for this week…
Is Easton Ongaro primed for a Canada call-up?
Let me begin with due apologies to both the FC Edmonton striker and his manager, Jeff Paulus, who noted after Monday’s win over Valour FC that “the media is putting too much pressure on him at the moment.”
Now, time for some media pressure.
If the 21-year-old was looking to get on Canada manager John Herdman’s radar, he probably couldn’t have picked a better time to go on a goal-scoring tear. He’s bagged five goals in the Eddies’ last five games, right as Canada is gearing up for a pair of CONCACAF Nations League matches against Cuba next month.
With the European club season just revving up, Herdman is likely to rely heavily on domestic players. Given the quality of opponent (Canada shellacked Cuba 7-0 at this summer’s Gold Cup), this may also be a good time to test out some newer and less experienced players.
Sure, it’s probably a tad ambitious to think this hot streak will earn the rookie —who has three professional starts to his name — a national-team nod at this juncture. If Herdman’s patrolling for goal scoring in the CPL, he also has Tristan Borges, Terran Campbell and Sergio Camargo at his disposal.
All the same, at this rate, we can probably declare this month to be “The August of Ongaro” (it sounds better when you say it out loud; just go with it).
What are the odds of that?
Having grown up refereeing in a community where the predominant sport was (at the time, anyway) hockey, I’ve endured numerous conversations along these lines in my life:
Coach: Hey ref, are we allowed to pull the goalie?
Me: I mean, you need to have a goalkeeper, but it can be whoever you want, and they can go wherever they want on the field.
Coach: But can they use their hands?
Me: Only in their own penalty area, same as always.
Coach: So, we can pull the goalie?
Me: (in my head) He’s going to yell at you either way; just say “sure”.
Me: (out loud) Sure.
All of this to say that this past weekend was the second week running that Y9FC “pulled” Nathan Ingham, and the second week running that he was burned by a long-range counterstrike that sealed a 2-0 win for the visitors.
Now, I claim no expertise in probabilities —knowing I have a 1 in 36 chance of rolling two straight 4s is about as far as I go — but I’d reckon the odds of a team being victimized by the same unlikely event two straight games is probably astronomical.
Has it happened before anywhere? Ever? (This isn’t rhetorical — I know one of you out there has an answer for me. Go get it.)
Was that the goal reaction of the season?
Louis Beland-Goyette’s 25-yard cannonball blast for Valour against the Eddies on Monday is surely among the top five goals we’ve seen in CPL play so far.
But what set it apart was the irrepressible reaction on the OneSoccer broadcast from Terry Dunfield, who’s certainly no stranger to animated outbursts. I’d attempt to transcribe it, but I’m afraid I’d invoke the ghost of Clippy, who’d forever haunt me by asking “would you like some help spelling that?”
So instead, just listen up:
What I like most is that we’ve all found ourselves in the exact same boat when witnessing a moment of on-field brilliance, utterly incapable of controlling a visceral expression of joy. Heck, I’m pretty sure the yell-laugh was my exact reaction to Dunfield’s golazo for Canada against Ecuador in a national-team friendly back in 2011.
It’s just nice to be occasionally reminded that soccer isn’t just an excuse to argue with strangers on Twitter — it’s also about the magical moments of spontaneity that can only be truly appreciated in the moment.