The first leg of the Canadian Championship Second Round took place over the last couple of days which saw six Premier League clubs clash in midweek fixtures all vying for the chance to play the big boys of Canadian soccer.
Forge FC and Cavalry FC faced off on Tuesday night in front of a great crowd at Tim Horton’s Field in Hamilton. This fixture was highly anticipated by supporters of the Canadian Premier League as both clubs have gotten off to great starts this season. Cavalry FC are flying high having not lost a match so far, and Forge FC having only suffered defeat on two occasions; one being against this same Cavalry FC.
Both teams traded chances in the first half showing why they are two of the highest scoring teams in the CPL, with unfortunately no breakthrough coming before the whistle.
The second half started like a flash with Emery Welshman putting one away to put Forge FC ahead. Forge continued to pile on the pressure amassing seven shots on target in comparison to Cavalry’s two.
But it seemed the tide of pressure swung Cavalry’s way late in the match with Quillan Roberts being sent off for an ill-advised and clumsy tackle in the box which gifted Cavalry a penalty in the 96th minute. Dominique Malonga stepped up and dispatched the penalty by the stand-in goalkeeper Jonsson who made a valiant effort but couldn’t keep the ball out.
As the final whistle blew, tempers flared as both squads came together in what could be best described as a shoving match. The Forge frustration seemed to be caused by the Malonga celebration towards Forge players and it’s expected that there could be some supplemental discipline on the cards for both squads.
The second match of the second round took place on the East Coast as HFX Wanderers played host to Valour FC. You’d be hard-pressed to find two more evenly matched squads this season in the Canadian Premier League.
The Starting XI Man of the Match, Tomasz Skublak, is really starting to come into his own this season and it bodes well for HFX. He had a hand in both goals for HFX, and led the line very well for the Wanderers. Skublak got on the score sheet in the 39th minute with a header that just crossed the line, and the second HFX goal needed a deft touch by Skublak to put through Kourouma in the 41st minute.
Both HFX goals were in response to the 33rd minute Bustos strike which took a slight deflection to put it in.
The Wanderers walked away with a 2-1 victory, but going to Winnipeg for the second leg is a tall task.
The final match of the second round saw York9 FC and FC Edmonton clash at York Lions stadium. It’s not clear what York9 did to anger Mother Nature, but they have been very unlucky with weather so far this season. The rain didn’t put a dampener on the game, and the supporters were treated to a great set-piece display.
For this match, the Starting XI Man of the Match was Luca Gasparotto. He was stoic in defence making numerous tackles, winning headers over The Eddies attackers, and getting on the score sheet as well. The defence of York9 hasn’t been an issue all season, and a big part of that is the leadership shown by Gasparotto. When a centre back is showing the amount of courage and discipline that Gasparotto does week in and week out, a team can hang their hat on having one of the best defenders in the CPL.
Along with Gasparotto getting on the score sheet, he was joined by Simon Adjei and Rodrigo Gattas. The three goals put up by York9 are the most they have scored in a single game this season and it could signal the start of a good run of form for the Nine Stripes.
Nathan Ingham was immense yet again making an exceptional save in the second half getting a left hand to a Diouck free kick that otherwise would have brought FC Edmonton within one of the York9 lead.
Diouck would finally get his goal in the 66th minute after being the only real spark for The Eddies all match.
FC Edmonton are going to have a tough task to overcome a two goal deficit against a York9 squad who may have gotten a huge confidence boost from this match.