Wednesday Wonders: Squizz’s burning questions from CPL, Week 5

What the heck happened last night?

It’s a question many of us have asked ourselves in our darker moments; but on this occasion, I’m referring to the first leg of the second-round Canadian Championship clash between Forge FC and Cavalry FC, which ended in a wild 1-1 draw.

Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Allow me to alert newcomers to the fact that, with today being Wednesday, it’s my time of the week to wonder about what’s going on in and around the league.

Last week, I wondered whether Pacific FC head coach Michael Silberbauer would stick to his (young) guns and keep giving big minutes to his U-21 players. He did, though some late drama on the road in Halifax (a penalty kick and a goal-line save) consigned his team to a 2-1 loss.

I also wondered whether a league giant was about to awake from its slumber in Alberta’s capital—yeah, no. The Eddies stayed fast asleep, putting up a pair of goose eggs, leaving them with just four points from five league games. And we’ll get back to that. But first…

What the heck happened last night?

Cavalry FC and Forge FC players prepare for the CanChamp 1st leg in Hamilton. (Photo: Ryan McCullough).
Cavalry FC and Forge FC players prepare for the CanChamp 1st leg in Hamilton. (Photo: Ryan McCullough).

Everyone suspected it was going to be a spicy matchup when the two league frontrunners locked horns at Tim Hortons Field … though who knew it would be this spicy?

Forge looked set to hand Cavalry their first loss ever when, deep into stoppage time, goalkeeper Quillan Roberts took down Dominique Malonga, and the referee not only pointed to the penalty spot, but also reached into his back pocket for a red card.

On first viewing I wondered: Should it have stayed there?

Now, undoubtedly, the collision deprived Malonga of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity – and until a few years ago, this would be a no-doubt sending-off. However, starting with the 2018/19 FIFA Laws of the Game, there is a such thing as a yellow card for denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity, if the offence occurs inside the penalty area and is an attempt to play the ball.

So then I wondered: Was Roberts really attempting to play the ball?

Only he will ever truly know for sure. But given the clumsy, maladroit nature of the challenge (in fairness, ‘keepers are usually using their hands), the referee may have considered that there was no chance of him actually getting the ball – and in that case, the red card was justified.

The debate is surely still raging on social media, but no matter what side you fall on, it’s likely that you – like me – are wondering: How on Earth can they top this in the second leg next week?

Where are FC Edmonton’s goals going to come from?

May 4, 2019; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; FC Edmonton defender Kareem Moses (12) and FC Edmonton defender Mélé Temguia (8) celebrate their win over the Valour FC during a Canadian Premier League soccer match at Investors Group Field. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports for CPL
FC Edmonton during a match at Investors Group Field. (Photo: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports/CPL).

The Eddies have just two league goals, both of which were scored in their season opener on May 4. They’ll get going in Canadian Championship action tonight against York9 FC, although head coach Jeff Paulus has admitted that playing on the itty-bitty, teeny-tiny pitch at York Lions Stadium could pose problems for any club.

“It’s going to change the way you play,” he told earlier this week.

But then, perhaps a shake-up is exactly what FC Edmonton needs. My colleague Steven Sandor noted that Eddies striker Tomi Ameobi has five career goals in Voyageurs Cup competition, dating back to the Eddies’ days in the North American Soccer League.

Maybe muscle memory will kick in for him tonight?

Oumar Diouck has half of Edmonton’s goals this season (that’s one out of two), while Marcus Velado-Tsegaye could be on the cusp of a breakthrough. Plus, I remain convinced that Randy Edwini-Bonsu is going to go on an attacking tear at some point. I will keep saying it until it comes true.

Whether it’s one of them or a less predictable scoring source, fans of the Rally Rabbit will hope that unorthodox conditions will cure ails their side.

Who’s got eyes on the transfer window?

The 10-game Spring season is a cruel beast, and as it chugs past its halfway mark, it’s safe to assume that some clubs, given their current place in the standings, are already casting their eyes towards the Fall campaign—and, specifically, what kind of retooling they could do to reverse their fortunes.

But then, I’m not just wondering about which CPL clubs are eyeing the transfer window; I’m wondering how many players are out there, somewhere, musing about a potential move to Canada.

As our friends over at Canucks Abroad are want to remind us, there are Canadian footballers plying their trade all over the world. And now that questions about the CPL’s standard of play and level of public interest have been answered (both in the affirmative), I wonder how many Canadian players are suddenly feeling a homeward tug, dreaming of how they could help a CPL team reach new heights in the Fall season.

Now, to be clear, I have no inside info here. This isn’t a cryptic allusion to some set-in-stone deal that’s yet to be made public.

I’m just … y’know … wondering.