CanPL POWER RANKINGS: WEEK 22 | Presented by tonybet
We are now officially less than a month away from the start of the Canadian Premier League playoffs, yet there isn’t much clarity on what the playoff picture could look like come October 11th.
Well, other than the fact that Cavalry FC will be there, as they officially became the first team to clinch a playoff spot this week, thanks to their win over the Halifax Wanderers in midweek.
Yet, elsewhere, everything remains quite close, as a midweek slate of games that were supposed to provide clarity in the playoff race ended up further murkying the waters, as now just four points is all that separates second from sixth, with each of those teams all on 24 games now, too.
Really, other than Cavalry storming out to a six-point lead, cementing their status as favourites to win the regular season title, all is wide-open right now, making for another crucial weekend of action.
Because of that, there wasn’t too much movement in this week’s Power Rankings, reflecting the nature of a six-game week where three of the matches finished in draws.
Speaking of that, though, 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 continues to hold down the top of the Power Rankings, as they picked up four out of a possible six points on the road in two tough locales in Hamilton and Halifax this week. As a result, they became the first CPL team to book a playoff spot, and remain the runaway favourites to win the regular season title and snatch the Concacaf Champions Cup berth that comes along with it. Plus, as they showed across these two games, they’re comfortable in playing different types of games against different opponents. Against Forge, it was cagier and more defensive, while against Halifax things were more open, yet they responded to each challenge quite nicely. You add in the performances that Daan Klomp has been putting in at the back, and how dangerous Ali Musse looked against Halifax? Things are coming together nicely for Cavalry at the perfect time as they push for the title.
The first team to book their spot in the 2023 CPL Playoffs: @CPLCavalryFC ✅— Canadian Premier League (@CPLsoccer) September 13, 2023
Should the Cavs be considered the frontrunners to win both the regular season title and the North Star Shield? 👀#CanPL pic.twitter.com/vKHjbncRjW
Partly due to the chaos around them with midweek games, Forge ended up climbing the Power Rankings, even if they’ll be a bit frustrated not to get more out of their game with Cavalry over the weekend. They put in a good showing on the day, but just couldn’t break down Cavalry, generating just 0.6 xG on 12 shots. As a result, they had to settle for another draw, their fourth in their last six games, as they just can’t seem to find the difference in games right now. To be fair, the points they’re picking up remain valuable - they still sit in third place, and no longer have to worry about having played a game more than everyone else in the top six, so they do sit pretty. At the same time, if they can’t win, soon, those draws could prove to be costly, so they’ll look to get back to winning ways this weekend, where they travel to a familiar house of horrors - Valour’s IG Field.
It was a mixed week for the Halifax Wanderers, who played two very different games over the past seven days. First, they had a positive performance on the road, as they claimed a crucial road point away to Pacific despite heavy rotation. Even though they rested several key starters, and played three U21 Canadians, they ended up picking up a valuable draw, thanks to a key goal from U21 Canadian Armaan Wilson, who shone on the day. Yet, the joy of that draw quickly turned to frustration in midweek, as they then fell 2-1 to Cavalry at home. They’ll feel unlucky in that one, no doubt - Dan Nimick had a late equalizer ruled out for a phantom shove after scoring a penalty just minutes earlier, but that Cavalry was able to steam out to a 2-0 lead was always going to make it hard for Halifax to get anything out of this one. All of a sudden, with two losses and a draw in their last three, it’s thrown Halifax right into a fight for fifth place, as they sit just one point off York, setting up a crucial next couple of games for Patrice Gheisar’s squad.
GOAL ⚓️@HFXWanderersFC open the scoring vs. @PacificFCCPL at the stroke of HT as Armaan Wilson gets on the end of a free kick perfectly swung in by Aidan Daniels 😎— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 9, 2023
🔴 Watch #CanPL on OneSoccer pic.twitter.com/yOEDZRFFpt
There’s no better way to sum up how the week went for all of the top six teams (with the exception of Cavalry) than Atlético Ottawa’s two games. First, they had a game to forget on the road against Vancouver, falling late to a James Cameron winner after a costly turnover, leaving them with a huge missed opportunity to win. Then, at home, they picked up a draw against Pacific in a game they probably should’ve won, as they just couldn’t capitalize on a rush of second-half chances after Pacific grabbed a first-half lead. Because of that, instead of sitting in second place, they sit in fourth, just one point off York in sixth. Safe to say, their trip to fifth-place Halifax looms large this weekend.
In better news, however, how about this free kick goal from veteran Ottawa defender Maxim Tissot? He continues to be very dangerous in those set-piece situations for his team, adding another one to the highlight reel with this tally.
Pacific narrowly remained in second place in the CPL, as their pair of draws against Halifax and Ottawa were enough to keep them on 37 points, one ahead of third-place Forge. Yet, they’ll be disappointed, as they lost some key ground to Cavalry in the title race, now sitting six points behind the leaders. With one win in their last six games, however, they’ve gone cold at a crucial time, and it appears to have allowed Cavalry to pull away at the top. Because of that, while Pacific will still chase after the leaders until mathematically impossible, finding their form to ensure they don’t miss out on the playoffs altogether will be the big goal. They’re five points clear of sixth place York, so they’ve got some breathing room for now, but that gap can close quickly, especially given that they’re away to York this weekend. Safe to say, that game could dictate what the end of the season looks like for the Tridents. In positive news, however, they’ve cleared the 2000 U21 minutes bar quite easily, and have continued to get solid defensive performances. Just need to start scoring more goals like this one.
GOAL 🔱@PacificFCCPL strike first away from home vs. @AtletiOttawa as Steffen Yeates gets behind the backline with an excellent first touch before hitting a powerful shot into the roof of the net 💪— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 13, 2023
🔴 Watch #CanPL on OneSoccer pic.twitter.com/zw5HTy1AP9
It was a frustrating one for York United this weekend, as they fell 3-1 to Valour at home, picking up two red cards in the process. Luckily, they were helped by results around them, but the cards themselves could be huge - one of them was to their offensive talisman, Mo Babouli, who will miss this weekend’s clash against Pacific. Plus, given that the other one was to Noah Abatneh, that also hurt their quest to grab U21 minutes, although they now *only* need 513 of those across their next four games. With three games still remaining in their homestand, however, all against teams above them in the race, they’ve got a big job to do now, and will look to ensure that they don’t let their promising start to the season go to waste.
RED CARD 2 🟥 🟥@YorkUtdFC go down to 9 as a frustrated Mo Babouli is shown a second yellow just before the final whistle@ValourFootball take this #CanPL clash 3-1 💪— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 9, 2023
Up next? @PacificFCCPL vs. @HFXWanderersFC (10PM ET / 7PM PT) 👀 pic.twitter.com/I1NG5unzKe
There’s nothing sweeter than a late winner, and Vancouver FC got to experience that this weekend, as they claimed a win off a 91st-minute James Cameron winner at home to Ottawa.
GOAL 🦅🦅— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 10, 2023
It's a LATE go-ahead for @VanFootballClub as @AtletiOttawa is stunned on another surging counter, with James Cameron tucking home the effort in the 91st minute 💪
CAN. THEY. HOLD. ON? 🔥
🔴 Watch #CanPL on OneSoccer pic.twitter.com/pnZMPD9NZ6
As a result, they remain mathematically alive in the playoff race, and continue to wreak havoc on the playoff race. Plus, most importantly, they’ve started to find a bit of consistency in their performances, even if the results haven’t matched that yet. For an expansion team, that’s crucial, and will remain their goal across their last five games of the campaign. Plus, you add in more bright performances up front from Mikaël Cantave and Gabriel Bitar, as well as the bright showing from the 18-year-old Cameron, and that was also good to see. And let’s just say that the late winner helped fans forget about Callum Irving’s… gaffe at the back earlier in the game, a rare one for the veteran goalkeeper.
#CANPL. BLOOPERS. ONLY. 😅— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 10, 2023
Callum Irving is going to have nightmares about this one 😬
Ollie Bassett scores the equalizer for @AtletiOttawa vs. @VanFootballClub off a gift gaffe from the 'keeper 🎁 pic.twitter.com/jvp4Zcwnqu
Harshly, Valour remains at the bottom of the Power Rankings, given that they claimed a huge away victory over York, but they’ll now look to build off this to start climbing up both these rankings and the actual table. And seeing that their next two games are Forge and Vancouver at home, two of the three teams they’ve beaten at home this year, they’ve got a good chance to do so now here. Therefore, they’ll look to use this York win as fuel, as they try to keep their season alive. If they’re to do so, however, they’ll need more performances like the one Dante Campbell put in during this York victory, as he was dominant on both sides of the ball. Along with a return to form for Rayane Yesli, and a good showing from their midfield of Diego Gutiérrez, Juan Pablo Sánchez and Marcello Polisi, that all also helped, too.
GOAL 🎖️@ValourFootball strike first!— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) September 8, 2023
Dante Campbell flicks and controls to set up his eventual low cross, which he taps home to open the scoring vs. @YorkUtdFC
🔴 Watch #CanPL on OneSoccer pic.twitter.com/q6P5KXbUyK