The CPL’s Spring season winners kicked off October with a bang on Wednesday as Cavalry FC scored a trio of last-gasp goals to knock off Valour FC at ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows, by a score of 4-1.
Despite the two sides’ relative attacking firepower, the first half went by without event. Cavalry saw the lion’s share of the ball, with a hair under 63 per cent possession, and Valour struggled to string together their attack as they completed less than 60% of their passes in the first 45. Still, nobody hit the scoreboard in the opening frame as 10 Cavalry shots failed to find the twine.
The home side finally managed to break down the Valour block shortly after halftime. Eight minutes removed from the break, Cavalry broke out of their own half with pace, and Dominick Zator spotted a gulf of space between Valour’s two left-sided defenders. Zator sent Dominique Malonga a textbook through ball, and the Cavs’ leading scorer launched a quick shot just over the near shoulder of goalkeeper Tyson Farago.
That goal wasn’t the end of Valour, though, as the Winnipeg-based visitors equalized with just over 10 minutes left to play. Working the ball deep into the Cavs’ penalty area, Michael Petrasso found Marco Bustos for a perfectly-curled shot from close range to beat Cavalry keeper Marco Carducci and make it 1-1.
Just when it seemed like the Cavs would be stifled, they found a trio of breakthroughs in the last few minutes. Oliver Minatel netted in the 85th, as a long Julian Büscher free kick sailed all the way to the Brazilian at the back post for a straightforward header. Just two minutes later, Jordan Brown made himself some space deep on the left side and send a cross right along the goal line, which was bundled into the net (one of Dominique Malonga or Minatel getting the last touch on a messy finish).
Helping spoil a night that had seemed promising for Valour, Büscher added a goal of his own in the first minute of stoppage time, jumping on his own rebounded effort to score from outside the box. Although Valour admirably continued their attacking efforts in the dying moments of the game, they weren’t able to do any more damage as it ended 4-1.
Cavalry saw another very welcome piece of good news on Wednesday, as Sergio Camargo came off the bench in the 70th minute to make his first appearance since August 22nd.
With this contest wrapped up, both sides will return to action this Saturday, October 5. Cavalry will remain at home as HFX Wanderers FC visit ATCO Field (6:00 p.m. ET, 4:00 p.m. MT, on OneSoccer), and Valour will head back to Winnipeg to host FC Edmonton at IG Field (3:30 p.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. CT, on OneSoccer).
One of the CPL’s most reliable midfielders dominated yet again on Wednesday. The Cavs smothered Valour with possession with Büscher at the centre of it all, as the German led the side with 81 touches. He scored a goal of his own and assisted the one that made the difference, putting his fingerprints all over this game.
Dominique Malonga (Cavalry FC)
Credited with a pair of goals, Malonga put his name into the golden boot race by pushing his total to nine (two back of Terran Campbell). He demonstrated his ability as a pure goalscorer, getting himself into the right position and making his shots count. All four of his efforts hit the target, including his cannon of a finish for the first goal.
Oliver Minatel (Cavalry FC)
Completing the trio of key performers from Cavalry, Minatel did well to find acres of space for his first goal. He’ll likely go down as providing the assist for Malonga’s second goal as well, as his slide at the line caught Brown’s cross perfectly. He hit his passes with 88% accuracy, playing in a pocket behind Cavalry’s front three, making his case to be part of Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s Finals 2019 lineup.