José Escalante’s 86th minute free kick strike was enough to give Cavalry FC a 1-0 win over Valour FC at ATCO Field at Spruce Meadows Wednesday night. The victory means Calgary’s new professional soccer club maintains a perfect start to the inaugural Canadian Premier League season, with two wins from two matches.
A goal was the least Escalante deserved after a terrific performance on the left side against the club from Winnipeg. And Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. was quick to praise the Honduran forward for his attacking efforts and for that moment of magic.
“That’s why we brought him in,” said Wheeldon Jr. “He’s an exciting player. He’s one that fans will pay their money to come and watch. He had a good day out there. Credit Valour stopped him as often as they could. He’s got a wand of left foot.”
Cavalry forced to be patient
The score was deadlocked late and the match looked as if it may be the CPL’s first goalless draw, until Escalante stepped up to drive his free kick past Valour FC keeper Tyson Farago.
And for Cavalry FC’s manager, it was matter of being patient in such a tight match.
“We had to pick our moments,” said Wheeldon Jr. “We tried to play through them. Tried to play around them. Nothing came off good. I’m happy with a clean sheet.”
Valour FC head coach Rob Gale agreed it was a closely fought affair and credited Cavalry FC keeper Marco Carducci with snuffing out Valour FC’s best chances.
A first clean sheet for Cavalry FC
“A set piece decided it,” said Gale. “Should have equalized about a minute later. I loved how we responded to the goal. And Marco (Carducci) robbed his old mate Ali (Musse) couple times today as well with some good saves.”
But Carducci shared the praise among his defensive core.
“We want to make Spruce Meadows our fortress,” said Carducci. “Getting two wins from two is a good place to start for us obviously. Defensively, I think, we’ve been solid. It’s what we pride ourselves on. Getting our first clean sheet tonight feels very good. But, now it’s a matter of building off of this.”
- In Pictures: Cavalry FC win 1-0 against Valour FC with late Escalante free kick
- In Pictures: Cavalry FC beat York9 FC 2-1 in its first-ever CPL match
Next Cavalry FC visits Hamilton, Ontario to face Forge FC Sunday, May 12. The match will be aired live on CBC television at 11 a.m. MDT.
Cavalry FC’s next home match is against Alberta rivals FC Edmonton Saturday, May 18, kicking off at 4 p.m. MDT at Spruce Meadows.
Valour FC next faces HFX Wanderers Saturday, May 11.