CanPL POWER RANKINGS: WEEK 21 | Presented by tonybet
It was a good weekend for road teams in the Canadian Premier League.
Of the four matches that were played, three of them saw the away team emerge victorious, leaving just one home team, Pacific, to defend their home turf.
Because of that, it has shaken up the table once again, in large part due to Cavalry, Forge and York’s exploits away to Ottawa, Vancouver and Halifax, respectively.
Understandably, that has also had a pretty big effect on the Power Rankings, too, with York making a big jump up to second, while Halifax fell down to fourth. Yet, that remains an accurate reflection of the current playoff race, one that remains as wide-open as ever, showing how fine the margins remain heading into the last six matchdays of action.
With that in mind, however, here are this week’s CanPL Power Rankings, presented by tonybet, as well as a look at what stood out from each team this weekend.
AGR’s Notebook: Quick thoughts from around the CPL
Cavalry are back on top of the Power Rankings, as they managed to keep their four-point lead atop the CPL table in style against Ottawa. They had to sweat for the result - an 88th-minute equalizer from Ottawa seemed likely to sink Cavalry after they spent most of the second half in the lead - but then they managed to find a very late winner thanks to William Akio. Akio’s fifth goal in less than 400 minutes, it continued a strong stretch of play from the former Valour forward, who has been loving a return to the CPL with his hometown team. Otherwise, credit to Sergio Camargo for grabbing another goal, as it was a just reward for his solid play as of late, while Charlie Trafford certainly did a good job of leaning into being public enemy #1 in Ottawa.
🚨GOAL🐎🐎— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 3, 2023
It's a LATE winner from @CPLCavalryFC!
William Akio has his 5th of the #CanPL season, and it's a huge one for the Cavs, as they've secured their first-ever win in Ottawa, and now sit 4 points atop the table
Oh yeah, and Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s best Jose Mourinho impression on Akio’s winner was a good bonus touch, too.
Out of nowhere, York has quietly snuck back up the table, as they climbed up into a tie for fourth, winning back-to-back games after grabbing just one win in their previous seven. Plus, this win against Halifax may have been their best all season, too. It didn’t start out great - they were heavily outplayed in the first half, and should’ve been down multiple goals, but they woke up in the second half. As a result, they were able to turn around a 1-0 deficit, becoming the first road team in the CPL to do so in a game this season. You add in that they also managed to grab over 200 U21 minutes in the process, leapfrogging Halifax in that category, and that’s a bonus.
🚨GOAL🦝🦝@yorkutdfc have grabbed the lead!— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 4, 2023
Perfect ball from Mo Babouli, and a thumping header from veteran centre back Roger Thompson, who scores his 1st #CanPL goal in his 5th season in the league
Also, pretty cool to see two York originals score in this game in Austin Ricci and Roger Thompson, with the latter’s winning goal also being his first CPL marker. And credit to the young goalkeeper, Adisa De Rosario, for stepping up with some big stops, while not looking out of place at 18.
It was a frustrating loss for Atlético Ottawa, who did well to claw back a late equalizer against Cavalry through a goal-of-the-year candidate from Luke Singh, before dropping all three points in the end.
After drawing Forge at home the week prior, it feels like a missed chance for Ottawa, who would’ve liked to gain more than one point from two home clashes against two title rivals. Yet, they just didn’t do enough offensively on the day - 0.59 xG is never going to be enough to win against a team like Cavalry, especially when you concede two goals on 1.08 xG as Ottawa uncharacteristically did.
For 45 minutes, the Halifax Wanderers looked well on track to push up into a tie for second in the table, while potentially putting a big dent in York’s playoff hopes, as they dominated their guests in the first half. Yet, they didn’t take advantage of a few golden opportunities, and in the end, that allowed York to hang around long enough to make that comeback. And the numbers speak for themselves for Halifax - despite generating 2.14 xG, one goal would be all that they could muster up on the day. You add that in with an uncharacteristically sloppy defensive performance, as they conceded two or more goals for just the second time in their last nine games, that was a combination that was too hard to ignore. In particular, their awareness on defending wide balls on both goals will be frustrating to watch back on film this week, something they’ll look to clean up ahead of the next game.
Also, it’s definitely time to start worrying about their ability to pick up U21 minutes - they now need to average 142 of them across the next six games. Given that they’ve got just three U21 players who have played this year, with one of them, Armaan Wilson, not even clearing 100 minutes, that’ll be a tall task to overcome, one that could hurt their playoff hopes.
It was the sort of no-nonsense performance many have gotten used to seeing over the years from Forge, as they ruthlessly dismantled Vancouver in a commanding 3-0 road win. Led by a hat trick from Woobens Pacius, it was a huge win for Forge, who snapped a four-game winless run at the perfect time. You add in strong performances from Aboubacar Sissoko, Kwasi Poku (before his sloppy late red card), and youngster Khadim Kane off the bench, and there were a lot of positives to turn to, as well. Sets Forge up nicely for a crucial clash against Cavalry this weekend, one where they’ll likely need to win to keep their title hopes alive.
For the first time since late June, Pacific finally won a game at home, as they defeated Valour with a late winner. Yet, credit has to be given to Ayman Sellouf, the scorer of that winner, as he continues to deliver off the bench for his team, pushing him up to a CPL co-leading 13 goal contributions on the season.
🚨GOAL🔱🔱@Pacificfccpl have regained their lead over Valour! Tidy finish from Ayman Sellouf to make it 2-1 late, after Easton Ongaro nearly scored a thunderbolt just moments earlier— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 2, 2023
Along with a much-needed goal contribution for both Adonijah Reid (goal) and Manny Aparicio (assist) on the opening goal, that’s a lot to like offensively for Pacific. Defensively, they’ll be frustrated with the goal that they conceded, but overall it was a good showing from the Tridents.
🚨GOAL🔱@Pacificfccpl have opened the scoring in the #CanPL @tonybet Match of the Week, as Adonijah Reid does well to finish a perfect through ball from Manny Aparicio, making it 1-0 vs. Valour— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 2, 2023
Vancouver got a harsh learning lesson of what separates teams like Forge, as despite starting strong, they were never really close to winning on the day. Yet, that shows the importance of being ruthless in both boxes, as they just made it too easy for Forge to score on their first two goals, and missed several chances that could’ve made the game interesting if they scored. Speaking of that latter point, that also leads to another important question to ask - might we see Alejandro Díaz replaced by Shaan Hundal over the next few games to fire the former up? After scoring in his first two games back, Díaz hasn’t scored in six, yet continues to eat heavy minutes up front. Given that Hundal has had his minutes cut lately, while playing more as a winger when featuring, that’s hurt his productivity, too, as he hasn’t scored in nine. Given that he had six in 13 games to start the season mostly as a striker, putting him back into his natural position could make a lot of sense for Vancouver, who have just six goals in their last eight games (three of which came in a surprise outburst against Pacific).
It was the story of the season for Valour against Pacific - they conceded the first goal, can’t get any goals from their forwards, and continue to struggle on the road. On the positive side, however, they did well to recover after conceding first, but in the end, just didn’t generate enough to win on the day. On a positive note, however, former FC Edmonton goalkeeper Darlington Murasiranwa did well to fill in for an ill Rayane Yesli, and didn’t have much of a chance on either goal. Also, Dante Campbell had another strong showing, continuing a good campaign from himself, remaining as a key bright spot on this team.
🚨GOAL🔥@ValourFootball has found an equalizer against Pacific, as Matteo de Brienne managed to get on the end of an inch-perfect Dante Campbell ball to make it 1-1— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 2, 2023