The Island Games Week 2, By The Numbers: Draws and late drama galore in PEI

The Island Games have continued to march onward over the past week, with eight more CPL games in the books and two teams (Cavalry FC and Forge FC) more than halfway through the first round.

We’ve seen standout performances, heartbreaking results, and enough dramatic finishes to get the heart racing night after night. The battle for the top four is wide open, with three points separating third from eighth at time of writing and plenty of soccer left to be played.

So, as we’ll do every week, let’s take a look at some of the stats and figures that have stood out from the CPL’s second week in Prince Edward Island.

12 goals after 85′

Never, under any circumstances, should you change the channel before the final whistle. Twelve times, CPL teams have scored after the 85th minute of a game; it’s happened in nine of the 13 matches at The Island Games so far.

Six of those goals have been equalizers or game winners, from Forge’s last-minute Kyle Bekker heroics to beat Pacific FC, to FC Edmonton’s stoppage-time drive to come back from 2-0 down against Atlético Ottawa.

In fact, every CPL team except York9 FC and Ottawa has scored at least once in the closing stages. With such a short schedule to try and make an impact, every single second counts this year. Plus, the change to allow five substitutions has certainly kept the energy up right to the end in every game.

22 seconds

Francisco Acuña in action for Atlético Ottawa. (Photo: CPL / Chant Photography)
Francisco Acuña in action for Atlético Ottawa. (Photo: CPL / Chant Photography)

One of the standout CPL newcomers so far, Francisco Acuña was certainly ready to go when Atlético Ottawa burst out of the gate on Sunday against FC Edmonton. His teammate Malcolm Shaw picked off a poor pass just 17 seconds into the game, and Acuña cut to the top of the box to score what’s now the fastest goal in league history (and his first in the CPL), at 22 seconds.

Acuña’s early effort steals the crown from Marco Bustos’ long-range effort from last year, which happened 30 seconds into Valour’s visit to Forge FC in June.

Ottawa’s veteran midfielder scored his second CPL marker just 15 minutes later, putting his side up 2-0 with another excellent goal. Alas, though, he would’ve hoped for Atlético to see out the win, as they conceded twice at the death to split points with the Eddies.

7 for 7

Don’t try to beat Roger Thompson in the air.

The York9 centre-back has lost just one aerial duel in three matches at The Island Games, having played every minute for the Nine Stripes so far. Incredibly, Thompson won seven battles in the air in York9’s 0-0 draw with Valour on Saturday, going perfect in that category for the afternoon.

Overall, Thompson is 12 for 13 at The Island Games. His defensive partner, Luca Gasparotto, has been similarly good at fending off high balls, with a 10-for-11 record so far.

35 shots

Forge FC's Dom Samuel battles for possession with Pacific FC's Zachary Verhoven (CPL/Chant Photography).
Forge FC’s Dom Samuel battles for possession with Pacific FC’s Zachary Verhoven (CPL/Chant Photography).

Of all the CPL games played so far, perhaps none was more high-octane than the battle between Forge and Pacific on Saturday. Following up a 0-0 chess match between York9 and Valour, the day’s second game brought the offence.

The two sides, between them, mustered 35 shots — 21 for Pacific and 14 for Forge. The Vancouver Island club managed to take 15 from inside the box (although, somehow, they finished with just four on target). Five different Pacific players took at least three, with Marco Bustos taking four.

The game had some brilliant attacking moves, and it finished with an unstoppable 97th-minute winning goal by Forge skipper Kyle Bekker, which also goes down as the latest goal in club history. Bobby Smyrniotis rightly pointed out that a game this exciting, which was broadcast nationwide on CBC, can only mean good things for the CPL.

11 Big Chances

The Cavalry FC attack has been overwhelming so far in PEI in terms of creating opportunities. According to Centre Circle Data, they’ve had more than twice as many big chances (a chance where a goal is more likely to be scored than not) as any other CPL club, having racked up 11 so far.

The Cavs also had 12 chances from set pieces, which is again almost double any other side. They lead the league in goals scored (6) by just one over Forge FC, but their expected goals number (6.51) dwarfs second-place Pacific (2.88).

Cavalry seems to be generating lots of opportunities; the trick now will be putting a few more of them in the net, to maybe see games out even earlier.

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