Cavalry FC dramatically clawed back from a goal down to grab all three points in the 2021 CanPL season’s first Al Classico Tuesday night, snatching a 2-1 win over FC Edmonton in front of a raucous home-opening crowd at Spruce Meadows.
A cagey opening first quarter of play kickstarted a new-look ATCO Field, including a resodded pitch, but it was the visitors that spoiled the party at first.
Easton Ongaro opened the scoring with the first shot on target in the 19th minute – an angled header at the top of the six-yard box via an immaculate cross from Fraser Aird.
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Ongaro had a decent chance at a second after 27 minutes when the Eddies talisman mistakenly took a heavy touch into Marco Carducci on a short-angle breakaway. He came close again a few moments later when he slashed a left-footed shot off the post.
While it seemed like a solid run against the run of play, it was just the beginning of the Eddies’ attack. Shamit Shome missed a volley while open on a cross, Ongaro saw a powerful shot blocked by a defender while the ensuing scramble caused headaches – completing a promising first half for FCE.
The Eddies rarely showed cracks in the late bits of the first half even after Cavalry stepped their players forward.
Only five subs for Cavalry on the day and one had to come on early when Joe Di Chiara departed the match before halftime, making way for attacker Jose Hernandez. That altered the Cavs’ makeup, shifting to a front three with Hernandez on the left and Sergio Camargo slotted as an attacking midfielder.
Cavalry started the second half strong with Camargo troubling Eddies ‘keeper Connor James twice and setting up high-profile striker Joe Mason with a solid chance he sent over the crossbar, completing an equally tantalizing 10-minute stretch as FCE had in the first frame.
Mason would get his goal soon, though, in the 64th minute. A great cross from Camargo found the former English Championship striker splattering several shots at James and several sprawling defenders before slotting home his first as a Cavalry player.
Something was brewing with this Cavalry group as the momentum firmly swung south with the Calgarians. A lumped ball from Mo Farsi seemed to confuse the Eddies backline and, in a rare miscue, left Mason and defender Daan Klomp alone in front of James. The latter potted his first for the Cavs and let the Spruce Meadows crowd loose.
The conceded lead forced Alan Koch’s side into an attacking gear – a gameplan they never quite looked comfortable in as they failed to create a killer final chance and had to travel back north to Edmonton without anything to show for their efforts.
19′ — Easton Ongaro (FC Edmonton)
64′ — Joe Mason (Cavalry FC)
71′ — Daan Klomp (Cavalry FC)
16′ – Yellow: Karifa Yao (Cavalry FC)
85′ – Yellow: Mélé Temguia (FC Edmonton)