CanPL POWER RANKINGS: WEEK 18 | Presented by tonybet
You can never truly be comfortable in the CPL standings right now.
Just last week, it felt like Pacific and Cavalry were pulling away from the rest of the pack, creating some separation in a congested playoff race.
A week later, however, they’ve thrown themselves right back into the mix, as Cavalry fell to Valour and Pacific fell to Ottawa, reducing the gap between the top five teams to just four points.
Then, at the other end of the table, thanks to Valour’s win, they now sit six points off sixth and eight points off a playoff spot, which might seem like a lot, but is a manageable gap to tackle.
Unfortunately, we’ve also likely seen the end of Vancouver FC’s playoff hopes - a 14-point difference is all but impossible to make up across nine games. Still, overall, the rest of the table remains as open as ever.
That’s reflected in this week’s power rankings, as everyone except Forge moved up or down, just showcasing how tight it is.
Speaking of, here are those CanPL Power Rankings presented by tonybet, as well as a quick round-up of what went down across the league this weekend.
AGR’s Notebook: Quick thoughts from around the CPL
Are 2022 Atlético Ottawa back? It certainly felt like it this weekend, as they ground out an impressive 1-0 win over Pacific. Their fourth clean sheet in seven games, it came off the back of some impressive defending, too. Tyr Walker was excellent in his professional debut, Karl Ouimette remained solid, Luke Singh did what he needed to and Nathan Ingham had one of his best games of the season in goal. Along with a timely goal from Ollie Bassett, who took advantage of a big Pacific mistake to score his eighth of the season, it was the dream road win for Atléti. Anytime you can escape with three points despite losing the xG battle 1.49-0.24, “smash and grab” is an apt way to describe that, even if that almost does the defending and goalkeeping a disservice.
It was quite the bounceback from the Halifax Wanderers, as they picked up a no-nonsense 3-0 victory over Vancouver, returning to winning ways at home after they saw a five-game home winning streak snapped the week prior. Yet, that’s why they currently have the best home record in the league, as they’ve continued to make Wanderers Grounds a fortress. It might not have been their aesthetic performance, but they were ruthless, making for a commanding victory in the end. Otherwise, nice to see João Morelli score his first goals at Wanderers Grounds since September of 2021, as he scored a classic Morelli brace, headlined by a masterful opening goal and capped off with a penalty (of which he’s now 9/9 for in his CPL career).
GOAL🌊— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) August 12, 2023
Joao Morelli is left alone in the box and he puts it home to give @HFXWanderersFC the 1-0 lead over @vanfootballclub in #CanPL action🔥⚽️#TogetherFromAways | #VancouverFC
TUNE IN | 🔴https://t.co/7JFAUhgjL6 pic.twitter.com/WbX813KbDh
Along with a strong unsung performance from Wesley Timoteo, more defensive dominance from Dan Nimick, and another good game and goal from Massimo Ferrin, it was a tidy victory all around, too.
GOAL🌊🌊🌊— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) August 12, 2023
Massimo Ferrin finishes to add to @HFXWanderersFC's lead, making it 3-0 over @vanfootballclub in #CanPL action🔥⚽️ #TogetherFromAways | #VancouverFC
TUNE IN | 🔴https://t.co/7JFAUhgjL6 pic.twitter.com/f5P82cpLAp
In one of the strangest twists of the season, Pacific FC continues to be absolutely dominant on the road, and quite average at home. To be fair, the former isn’t that surprising - they had the third-most road points in 2022. The latter, however, certainly is - they were tied for the second-most points at home, and only lost twice in fourteen regular season games (and once in the playoffs). So far this year, they’ve lost four times, and have won just four out of 11 home games. Because of that, while they’ll be in tough over the last nine games, with six of their games coming on the road, they’ll be more than alright if they maintain their road dominance. Also, might this all be a sign that their narrow pitch might not actually suit their offensive style as much? Food for thought, given that they’ve got 11 goals in 11 home games, compared to 18 in eight on the road, where they’ve really done a good job of taking advantage of some of the wider pitches around the league.
After it had seemed the early-season Cavalry FC habit of losing control of leads had gone away, it flared up in a tough way on the road against Valour, as they squandered a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2. There, unfortunately, set pieces let them down, as they allowed an easy corner to let Valour back in the game, before they gave up a penalty to tie the game up. From there, it was anyone’s game, and Valour were the ones who seemed more up for it. At the same time, Cavalry did also look quite fatigued, so they’ll be pleased to see their next two games come at home, which will help as they continue to get players back from injuries and other absences.
It was the story of Forge FC’s season against York in the 905 derby, both positive and negative. Positively, it was another stellar game from Kyle Bekker, who had a goal and an assist to get to 10 goal contributions in a CPL season for the first time, as well as from Terran Campbell, who had a brace to become the first CPL player to double digits this season. Along with a good first start from Beni Badibanga, and some good flashes from Tristan Borges, lots to like, especially offensively. Conversely, however, defence remains an issue, as they’ve already conceded as many goals (25) in 20 games as they did in 28 last year, and they’re only averaging 1.4 points per game at home (vs 1.85 last year). Plus, consistency remains a huge issue, something that they’ll look to clean up over these last eight games, especially with how tight this playoff race is.
Huge win for Valour FC over Cavalry, as they snapped a six-game winless run, keeping themselves alive in the playoff race. Not only that, but it was a much-needed home victory, too, as they had lost their last three at IG Field heading into this. You add in that it was their first time scoring three in a game all season, their first win when not scoring the first goal or keeping a clean sheet, and there was a lot to like from them, especially offensively. Diego Gutiérrez continues to be the heartbeat of this team, nabbing a goal and an assist, Klaidi Cela remains a weapon off set pieces, and Walter Ponce is back and scoring goals.
GOAL🎖️🎖️🎖️— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) August 12, 2023
HOW THE TABLES HAVE TURNED🔥
Walter Ponce bangs one home and @ValourFootball take the 3-2 lead over @CPLCavalryFC after being down 0-2 in #CanPL action!🍁⚽️#ForValour | #CavsFC
TUNE IN | 🔴https://t.co/7JFAUhgjL6 pic.twitter.com/v0CjcqRr05
Now, however, the key is to build on this - to have any chance at making the playoffs, Valour needs to win two or three in a row. Safe to say, a big one looms this week, as they get set to host Atlético Ottawa.
Depending on your perspective, there are different ways to look at York United right now. From a glass-half-full perspective, for a second straight week, they picked up a crucial road point, continuing to be very good away from home. Along with a second straight three-goal outburst, another goal for Brian Wright, there was a lot to be optimistic about. From a glass-half-empty perspective, however, they were not able to see a lead over the line, they conceded three goals, and are slowly losing ground in the playoff race. At the very least they’ve started to tackle their U21 minutes, led by a solid performance from Adisa De Rosario, who was actually pretty good in goal despite allowing three in his debut. Still, with eight games to go, they’ve got a big deficit to make up, which will be difficult as they try not to fall too much further out of the playoff race, as they sit two points off fifth, and have played one extra game over everyone except third place Forge.
GOAL🚨— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) August 13, 2023
What an individual effort from Brian Wright🔥
He's gotten @yorkutdfc back into this 905 derby vs Forge, thanks to this great run and chip, making it 2-2 in the 66th minute🦝🦝
Lastly, it was a weekend to forget for Vancouver FC away to Halifax. Ultimately, they just never really got going after allowing an early goal, and looking disjointed in the attack. Because of that, their big goal going forward will be to just find some cohesion and a tactical identity going forward, as they’ve done a good job of bringing in pieces, but haven’t gotten the most out of them as of late, which is why they’ve been outscored 13-2 over their last five games. Safe to say, lots for them to ponder as they get set for a crucial Salish Sea derby with Pacific, one where they’ll look to use it as a momentum boost for what’s to come, both short and long term.