Anyone claiming they know how Wednesday night is gonna shake down is a liar.
Sure, we can all take our guesses — and don’t worry, I’ll take mine— but based on what we saw in Voyageurs Cup action two weeks ago, there’s really no way to foresee what kind of drama will unfold in tonight’s decisive tripleheader.
Since today is all about uncertainty, let’s jump right into this week’s wonderings.
How many CPL teams will advance?
Similar to a fortnight ago, I turned to my extremely knowledgeable and good-looking Twitter following for some predictions about how Cavalry FC, York9 FC and HFX Wanderers FC will fare in Canadian Championship play:
Ahead of leg one, fans had underestimated the CPL clubs’ odds — though on that occasion, everyone was flying blind, with three first-time matchups on the agenda.
This time, we’ve got more info to work with, and although Y9 and the Wanderers are still in it (against the Montreal Impact and Ottawa Fury, respectively), it’s the Cavs who have the best odds at advancing, courtesy of their scoreless draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps in the first leg.
So when a majority of respondents say one CPL club will advance, it’s reasonable to assume most have pencilled in the club from Calgary; and, if pressed for my own stance, I’d probably put myself in the same camp. With that said, I also wonder…
Are Cavalry FC “Canada’s team”?
Yes, this is a profoundly moronic rhetorical question in reference to a tournament including only Canadian teams, but bear with me.
To this point, Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s side has proven they are the team to beat in the CPL. The Whitecaps, on the other hand, sit bottom of the Western Conference in MLS, and their fan base is so disillusioned at the moment that it’s entirely possible some locals at BC Place will be rooting for the visitors on Wednesday.
In Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto, there are unquestionably fans yearning for the Cinderella story of a CPL club making a deep run in the league’s very first season (though not at their hometown club’s expense, of course).
Heck, as sacrilegious as this sounds, there are even fans in Edmonton right now secretly hoping to see their provincial rivals carry the CPL banner forward.
So no, Cavalry aren’t “Canada’s team”—unless, of course, they manage to win the whole thing and represent the nation in the CONCACAF Champions League. But for now, suffice to say that the national spotlight’s never been brighter on Wheeldon and company. I wonder… how will they hold up?
Will Y9/Wanderers use my dismissal of their chances as motivational fodder?
I hope so. Prove me wrong, boys!
How many Quebec teams will be in next year’s Voyageurs Cup?
This year’s competition had two — the Impact and AS Blainville of PLSQ — but 2020 could have three or even four, based on comments this week from commissioner David Clanachan about the possibility of adding CPL teams in the Montreal area and/or Quebec City.
Clanachan noted there are multiple potential ownership groups at play, and that “you can only bring teams on when they’re ready”.
Even so, I for one am already excitedly wondering what it’ll look like to see Montreal and Quebec City go toe-to-toe in the same professional league for the first time since 1995 — not to mention Voyageurs Cup showdowns with their provincial counterparts, and league play against the likes of HFX Wanderers and York9.
Am I psychic?
Well, I’m not a charlatan trying to defraud vulnerable people so, no, I’m not a “psychic”.
But it was with a widened smile that I watched the incredible solo efforts from Kadell Thomas and Manny Aparicio over the past seven days, not long after I prophetically mused about whether the arrival of the Fall season would bring an uptick in CPL golazos.
Those goals were good enough to find their way onto mainstream highlight reels both at home and in the U.S. So I guess what I’m really wondering here is, what kind of impact might these goals end up having for the league?
Yes, we diehards can talk until we’re blue in the face about player development and professional environments and all that — but for lots of soccer fans, that doesn’t move the needle, and never will. They just want to know: is this league entertaining enough to be worth my time?
With their performances this week, Thomas and Aparicio have supplied more evidence in the affirmative.