Cavalry FC won its fourth straight Canadian Premier League match with a 1-0 victory over FC Edmonton at Spruce Meadows Saturday. The victory was the Cavs’ fifth in all competitions, including Wednesday’s win over Pacific FC in the Canadian Championship.
Calgary’s club has quickly become the favourite to win the CPL’s spring season and a berth in the CPL championship to be played in October.
Cavs striker Jordan Brown scored the only goal of the game, deftly redirecting a shot by Elijah Adekugbe just before halftime. The result keeps Cavalry FC atop the CPL table, five points clear of its nearest competitor.
Here are four talking points from Cavalry FC’s win over FC Edmonton:
1. Cavalry FC keeps finding ways to win
Saturday’s win over its provincial rivals was another tight game for the hosts. Each of Cavalry FC’s four CPL victories have been settled by a one-goal margin.
But considering his club’s compressed schedule, head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. isn’t as concerned with the manner of victory so long as the Cavs keep picking up points.
“Let’s put it into perspective. These guys have played five games in two weeks,” said Wheeldon Jr. “We’ve just come back from a six-day road trip. We’ve come out with another winning performance. I’d love to play champagne football all the time. But I’d settle for a couple of beers and three points.”
And Wheeldon Jr. credits his players’ character for this string of early wins.
“Like all teams, we’re coming together,” said Wheeldon Jr. “I think the difference with us now is we have character in us. We’ve won three one-goal games, four including this one. We find different ways to win football matches.”
2. Marco Carducci called upon late
Marco Carducci didn’t have much to do in the first 70 minutes at ATCO field Saturday. But when FC Edmonton made a push for an equalizer, the Calgary-born keeper stepped up and made two impressive saves to secure his second clean sheet of the season.
And his manager wasn’t surprised.
“I’m a big fan of Marco Carducci. I’m just glad he plays for us,” smiled Wheeldon Jr. after the game. “He’s exceptional in terms of his presence. You know he’s a good keeper when he can be that quiet for that long and then come to life and make a couple of key saves. It just gives us a calmness.”
For his part, Carducci says it was all in a day’s work.
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“I mean, that’s obviously part of being a goalkeeper. There are times in the game where your team doesn’t need you,” said Carducci. “From my standpoint, it was just about staying in the game and staying focused. From my stand point it was about staying in the game. Staying focused.”
3. Dominique Malonga will be getting hungry for a goal
While striker Jordan Brown notched his second goal of the season, his French-born strike partner Dominique Malonga is yet to tally for the Cavs. It’s not for lack of trying.
He’s come close on a few occasions. And the 30-year-old looked almost certain to open his account with a headed chance in the second half against the Eddies. But unfortunately, he couldn’t adjust himself quickly enough and the chance went begging.
Malonga’s talent and experience is obvious. He has a skilled touch and immaculate control. No doubt, opposing defenders are finding him difficult to handle. As he says himself, he loves playing an attractive brand of football. It’s only a matter of time until he scores.
But he’ll want to get himself on the score sheet sooner rather than later, if only for his own peace-of-mind and confidence.
4. Cavalry FC shifts sights to Canadian Championship
Next up for Cavalry FC is the Canadian Championship second-leg against Pacific FC. The Cavs host the BC club Wednesday night at Spruce Meadows. Cavalry FC took the first match of the two-game series 2-0 and look favourites to advance to the next round of the Voyageurs Cup.
And Wheeldon Jr. believes he has a squad that can handle fighting on two fronts.
“22 players are good enough to play in our lineup at any time,” said Wheeldon Jr. “So the best thing about having these cup games is it gives those players the opportunity. These cup competitions give us that opportunity.
“We’ve got a two-goal lead. It’s a halftime result. We’ve got to protect that.”