CanPL POWER RANKINGS: WEEK 16 | Presented by tonybet
It’s getting busy at the top.
Thanks to another big weekend of results, the race toward the top of the CPL has somehow only gotten tighter this week, as the gap between first and sixth is now just five points after the most recent round of results.
As a result, there continues to be a lot of movement at the top of the power rankings, reflecting the current nature of the table, where everything is still to play for. Arguably one of the most competitive seasons of the league yet, every week seems to further prove that, which should make for a fun end to the year.
On that note, however, here’s a peek at those latest rankings, presented by tonybet, as well as a look at some of what went down across the CPL this weekend, as the race toward the playoffs continues to heat up.
AGR’s Notebook: Quick thoughts from around the CPL
To start, there’s a new leader in the power rankings - the Halifax Wanderers, who nabbed their sixth win in nine games against York. More importantly, they won that game on the road, too - their first such win of the season. Yet, that’s a reflection of what’s going on in Halifax right now - this young team is only getting better with each game and is eager to tick off some milestones. Because of that, keep an eye on them as the year progresses. Also, nice to see João Morelli score his first goal since his injury, while Zachary Fernandez also served up a goal-of-the-year candidate for good measure. All-in-all, not a bad day at the office. (Also, as a bonus, enjoy Doneil Henry being, well, Doneil Henry).
After a blip last week, Atlético Ottawa are back to winning ways once again, as they stayed hot at home with a big win over Cavalry. Not only that, but they did so off the back of a vintage Ottawa performance, too, scoring early before setting up shop to nab a 1-0 result. Otherwise, lots to like with the result, as well - Sam Salter stayed hot, Zach Verhoven chipped in with another goal contribution, Karl Ouimette had one of his best games and Nathan Ingham continued to hold things down in goal. Also, how fun is it to watch Alberto Zapater in possession? Overall, not a bad time to be an Ottawa supporter.
Forge continued to heat up, as they beat Vancouver FC at home this past weekend. It wasn’t easy, as Vancouver pushed them for 70 minutes, but then Forge did well to break away at the end. And while they’ll be happy to win, they’ll be equally as pleased that Aboubacar Sissoko got a much-needed tally, while Woobens Pacius also chipped in with a key goal, as that pair has struggled for form at times this season. Plus, Kyle Bekker continued to be fun to watch, showing why he was named the CPL’s player of the month for July, and is storming up the MVP race. Just look at some of these passes he hit in this game, in which he also nabbed an assist to set a career-high.
Lastly, Forge elected to use Alexander Achinioti-Jönsson in a hybrid midfield and centre back role for a second week in a row, in what is continuing to be a good tactical decision from head coach Bobby Smyrniotis.
Overall, a weekend to forget for Cavalry, who did everything but score against Ottawa, including a wonderful Ethan Beckford attempt that somehow struck the post and the crossbar late on. The good news? Sergio Camargo was excellent, Ali Musse had flashes, and Charlie Trafford had one of his best games. The bad news? They fell asleep at the wrong moment with the goal they conceded, and that ended up being the difference on the day. Sometimes, that’s soccer.
Perhaps a reflection of their recent run of form, Pacific remains fifth in the power rankings, although they’re coming off arguably the best performance of any team in the league this weekend in a 3-0 win against Valour. Lots to like in that one, too, from how good they were on the ball, to their overall defensive work. Along with Ayman Sellouf doing Ayman Sellouf things, more good play from Josh Heard, and another goal from Adonijah Reid, they’ll be pleased with all of that. Also, that might’ve been Kunle Dada-Luke’s best game of the season, which was key as he played a big role in his team’s victory.
Despite their loss to Forge, Vancouver has a lot to be proud of, as they did well to push the Hammers for large parts of the game. Given that they were on the road, against the defending champions, they’ll take that. Unfortunately, they switched off at a key time, however, and that was the story of the game, as you just can’t do that against a team of that calibre. Regardless, there were lots of positives in this one for Vancouver, such as this being one of Gabriel Bitar’s best games in a while, while Shaan Hundal had a bright cameo off the bench.
York continued to slip down both the power rankings and the CPL table this weekend, as they fell 2-0 to Halifax at home, in what was a frustrating performance all around. From a pair of early injuries to a red card at the end, it also didn’t add to one of the team’s biggest issues this season, either - player availability. Other than Austin Ricci having a strong game, and the acquisition of 112 U21 Canadian minutes (which they need a LOT more of), not a lot of positives to take away from this one. (For more on York, and the rest of the main takeaways from this weekend, check out this week's edition of "High Press here).
Lastly, Valour holds down the last spot, as they just couldn’t keep up with Pacific in their loss. Considering they were at home, where they’re usually so dominant, that was a big surprise, yet shows the sort of form that they’re in right now. Unable to get much going up front, allowing some sloppy goals defensively, and struggling to start games, there’s a lot for them to figure out over the next few weeks if they’re to keep their shrinking playoff hopes alive. In better news, however, Rayane Yesli continues to keep games respectable with his performances in goal, while Marcello Polisi remains a key bright spot in midfield.