Cavalry FC made its Canadian Premier League debut with a 2-1 victory over York 9 FC at Spruce Meadows Saturday afternoon. Close to 5,000* fans braved the unseasonably cold weather that eventually saw snowfall.
For Cavalry FC head coach Tommy Wheeldon Jr. it was a perfect start and a terrific belated birthday gift – the Cavs coach turned 40-years-old the day before.
“(It was) like the best birthday party ever,” said Wheeldon Jr. “6,000 (sic) people came, very appreciative. Nice of the guys to pull off the win.
A ‘fairy tale’ start for Cavalry FC
“Today it was a fairy tale, wasn’t it. Because, getting the snow in there, getting the fans chanting, singing. Nobody knew what to expect. To do it with a win was exceptional.”
Cavalry FC’s first-ever goal came from striker Jordan Brown in the 26th minute on a corner kick. And it was the least the Cavs deserved after putting York9 FC under relentless pressure in the opening half.
Brown scores first-ever Cavalry FC goal
York9 FC returned from the locker room motivated in the second half. But, Dominick Zator rose to meet a corner kick in the 78th minute to give the home side a two-goal cushion. York9 FC did pull one back via Simon Adjei in the 84th minute, but it was Tommy Wheeldon Jr.’s charges that left ATCO Field with the three points.
And despite scoring his club’s first-ever goal, English striker Jordan Brown was humble in his post-game remarks.
“It was just a honour, to be honest,” said Brown. “If it wasn’t me, it would be someone else. I’m just glad the we got the win.”
Brennan disappointed with start
For York9 FC Saturday was a second game without a victory – the club drew 1-1 with Forge FC in the CPL’s inaugural match last weekend. And the visitors’ coach Jim Brennan admitted his club was overwhelmed by the hosts in the first half.
“When we came in at halftime, we were disappointed,” said Brennan. “Felt we gave the ball away was too much.
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And Brennan was particularly annoyed his club conceded two goals from corner kicks.
“We conceded on two set plays. For the size of our team, we’re disappointed in ourselves.”
But it was all smiles for Tommy Wheeldon Jr. and his squad Saturday.
“I thought we were exceptional first half,” said Wheeldon Jr. “It was a really good advert for possession football. Second half was a case of Jimmy making changes and putting us on the back foot. We knew at some stage we’d have to weather the storm. We did that. We got the insurance goal that saw us through.”
Cavalry FC next face Valour FC Wednesday evening at Spruce Meadows.
*Note: Official attendance for the match was 3,486. But traffic issues outside the venue delayed many customers from arriving before the official attendance was taken.