Amid the wind and pouring rain, Cavalry FC claimed victory on Wednesday night over Al Classico rivals FC Edmonton, scoring midway through the second half to get ahead and hold onto what would ultimately be a 1-0 win at Clarke Stadium.
After playing much of last Sunday’s contest between these sides on the front foot, Cavalry brought a few fresh legs into the lineup for this one — Anthony Novak, Richard Luca, and Ahinga Selemani made up a fully rotated front three, while Mason Trafford made his return to the centre of defence. Edmonton, meanwhile, kept fairly close to their setup from the previous game, having come so close to securing the win.
After some back-and-forth play in the opening 25 minutes or so, it was Cavalry who opened the scoring in the 27th minute. After receiving the ball in space on the right side of the box, Richard Luca’s cross made it all the way through traffic — with help from a flick off Selemani — to find Novak, who needed just one touch to beat goalkeeper Connor James at the near post (with, perhaps, some help from the slippery conditions).
RELATED READING: Match Analysis: FC Edmonton 0-1 Cavalry FC | Sights & Sounds: FC Edmonton 0-1 Cavalry FC
For the rest of the first half after conceding the opener, the Eddies took on the role of protagonists, pressing forward with the ball and looking to break down the well-organized Cavalry backline, but a clogged midfield made it difficult for Edmonton to create much in the way of dangerous scoring chances.
Coming out of the break, the home side continued to play on the front foot; Adam Najem very nearly scored just a minute into the second half with a header from Jeannot Esua’s well-placed cross, but Marco Carducci was in place to make the save. Things carried on in similar fashion for pretty much the rest of the match; Edmonton played most of the final 45 minutes in Cavalry’s half, probing the defence quite frequently, but the men in red didn’t allow much through.
Of course, Cavalry ‘keeper Carducci was called upon a litany of times to make difficult saves — seven of them, in fact — and were it not for his good positioning and reflexes they might not have come out with the result. Coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. made a few changes in the second half, bringing on Nik Ledgerwood for a more defensive look in midfield and handing a debut to Nicolas Apostol for the final 15 minutes, and the Cavs held out for a third Al Classico win of 2021 — although the Eddies very nearly scored with the final kick (or header, rather) of the game, which required some Carducci heroics to keep out.
With three more points, Cavalry leapfrogged Forge FC to climb into second place in the league table — level with first-place Pacific on 28 points, but behind on goal differential. FCE, meanwhile, remain sixth, eight points back of the fourth and final playoff spot.
27′ — Anthony Novak (Cavalry FC)
6′ — Yellow: Mason Trafford (Cavalry FC)
45′ — Yellow: Joe Di Chiara (Cavalry FC)
90+2′ — Yellow: Hunter Gorskie (FC Edmonton)