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OneSoccer Rewind: Ranking the top 50 CPL players of 2019 (No. 26-50)
Canadian Premier League

People love lists when it comes to sports, right?

There’s something about an unofficial ranking that leads to great debates and discussions among sports fans.

With this in mind, Canadian Premier League is revisiting one of the more high-profile lists that featured on its website last year.

Back in December, our friends over at OneSoccer gave Canadian soccer fans an early Christmas present with their ranking of the top 50 CPL players of the 2019 season.

Below, is OneSoccer’s list of CPL players ranked No. 26-50, with analysis on each player from CanPL.ca.

To check out the top 25 players in OneSoccer’s top 50 list, CLICK HERE


26. Amer Didic (FC Edmonton) – 0 goals, 3 assists, 19 games played, 1650 minutes

Didic was the perfect match of physicality and technical ability for the Eddies. At six-foot-six, he was hard to get around as a centre back. Good in the tackle and some impressive passing range.

27. Luca Gasparotto (York9 FC) – 1 goal, 0 assists, 28 games played, 2520 minutes

Gasparotto played every minute of the 2019 regular season (2,520 minutes in total). The centre back even featured in all six of York9’s Canadian Championship outings, captaining the side on occasion. No wonder, then, that he earned the nickname “ironman.”

28. Connor James (FC Edmonton) – 7 clean sheets, 68 saves, 22 games played, 1980 minutes

The goalkeeper earned a Golden Glove nod after recording seven clean sheets across 22 starts for his hometown club in 2019. James was selected seventh overall in the 2018 CPL-U SPORTS Draft.

29. Ben Fisk (Pacific FC) – 6 goals, 5 assists, 24 games played, 1663 minutes

It seemed that, after years of turbulence, Fisk found a place to flourish on Vancouver Island. He was one of the faces of Pacific FC in 2019, and one of the club’s most vocal leaders, as well as a productive attacker. He wore the captain’s armband a few times for the side, and he was well deserving of the honour.

Pacific's Ben Fisk battles for the battle against Cavalry FC's Sergio Camargo at Westhills Stadium. (Photo: Pacific FC/Reuters).
Pacific’s Ben Fisk battles for the battle against Cavalry FC’s Sergio Camargo at Westhills Stadium. (Photo: Pacific FC/Reuters).

30. Easton Ongaro (FC Edmonton) – 10 goals, 2 assists, 21 games played, 1165 minutes

Ongaro, a native of Edmonton, enjoyed a breakout 2019 campaign with his hometown club by tallying a team-high 10 goals, which was good enough to finish fourth in the league’s overall scoring race. One to watch in 2020.

31. Diyaeddine Abzi (York9 FC) – 1 goal, 4 assists, 24 games played, 1815 minutes

Like his fullback partner Morey Doner, Abzi was impressive in his first year as a professional. He was one of the best one-on-one defenders in the CPL, burning his opposite number with pace and some slick touches on the ball. He was always fast enough to get back defensively, too, contributing more than his fair share of interceptions and tackles.

32. José Escalante (Cavalry FC) – 4 goals, 4 assists, 24 games played, 1613 minutes

A thorn in just about everyone’s backside, Cavalry’s live wire winger “earned” fouls left and right, beat players for speed, and played the odd cheeky ball for teammates. It helped that he backed up that play with a nose for goal: a pair of curling efforts at Spruce Meadows come to mind.

33. Anthony Novak (Forge FC) – 6 goals, 3 assists, 18 games played, 1113 minutes

Novak swooped in and took Forge by storm after Emery Welshman’s transfer in August. He was a standout attacker, whether with his back to goal or charging forward, with a good goals-per-minute rate. Must be those breakfast sausages.

34. Kadin Chung (Pacific FC) – 1 goals, 2 assists, 24 games played, 2032 minutes

Playing over 2,000 minutes as an under-21 is no small feat. Pacific FC’s inaugural signing gave no reason for the coaching staff to doubt his abilities as a quick right fullback. Good on the overlap, and more than capable of snuffing out attacks that drifted to his side.

35. Matthew Arnone (HFX Wanderers) – 2 goals, 0 assists, 24 games played, 2094 minutes

Arnone lead HFX in minutes played last season as a centre back, scoring two goals and winning the supporters’ Player of the Year award.

Matthew Arnone. (Trevor MacMillan/CPL)
Matthew Arnone. (Trevor MacMillan/CPL)

36. Rodrigo Gattas (York9 FC) – 9 goals, 0 assists, 28 games played, 1959 minutes

Where would York9 have been in 2019 without Gattas? The Chilean was the club’s top scorer and most lethal attacking threat, especially during the Fall season when he went on a tear by scoring seven goals.

37. André Rampersad (HFX Wanderers FC) – 1 goal, 1 assist, 25 games played, 2003 minutes

Rampersad was a regular starter as HFX’s go-to box-to-box midfielder last season and was one of the club’s most consistent performers. Largely went unnoticed on a last-place team.

38. Manny Aparicio (York9 FC) – 2 goals, 2 assists, 25 games played, 2162 minutes

The diminutive midfielder was named York’s captain and went on to make 31 appearances in all competitions, scoring two goals and tallying a pair of assists along the way. One of his goals was even mentioned on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays of the Night.

39. Kodai Iida (HFX Wanderers FC) – 1 goal, 2 assists, 20 games played, 1181 minutes

Earning a spot in Halifax via the Got Game Open Trials, Iida was an entertaining player for the Wanderers. He didn’t get into the lineup as much as fans might’ve liked, with injuries setting him back, but whenever the Japanese midfielder saw the field he showed flashes of top-level skill with the ball.

40. Oliver Minatel (Cavalry FC) – 7 goals, 1 assist, 24 games played, 1469 minutes

The versatile Brazilian attacker was so good for Cavalry in the Fall that he unseated Sergio Camargo for a starting role in Leg 1 of Finals 2019. He produced many memorable moments for the Cavs, including a pair of goals in the 8-0 win over Valour. Minatel was an exciting creative player who Cavalry will be happy to have back in 2020.

Cavalry FC's Oliver Minatel. (David Chant/CPL).
Cavalry FC’s Oliver Minatel. (David Chant/CPL).

41. Oumar Diouck (FC Edmonton) – 6 goals, 2 assists, 26 games played, 1976 minutes

FC Edmonton’s raging bull of a forward makes the list after a solid campaign. The Belgian displayed great pace as a direct forward, making him hard to handle early on (his four-goal Spring campaign shows this) as teams tried to combat his speed. He was good for a spectacular goal, too.

42. André Bona (HFX Wanderers FC) – 0 goals, 0 assists, 25 games played, 2053 minutes

Potentially the fastest man in the CPL in Year 1, Bona gave Wanderers fans plenty of chances to see his speed across 25 appearances, mostly at right fullback. Bona was incredibly solid in defence, too, cutting an imposing figure with a knack for winning balls in the air and on the ground.

43. Joel Waterman (Cavalry FC) – 1 goal, 2 assists, 22 games played, 1719 minutes

Cavalry had a wealth of centre backs in 2019, but Waterman turned heads with his consistency. He could move the ball better than his fellow defenders, with more of an attacking instinct that saw him deployed when such a mindset was called for, especially with the likes of Mason Trafford able to cover defensively.

44. Elijah Adekugbe (Cavalry FC) – 1 goal, 4 assists, 19 games played, 1575 minutes

Another member of the CPL Fan Awards team of the year, Adekugbe was the definition of depth for the Cavs. He was a rock-solid defensive presence in midfield, rarely (if ever) beaten one-on-one, and he was extremely composed with the ball at his feet, even under pressure.

45. Giuliano Frano (Forge FC) – 1 goal, 0 assists, 26 games played, 1962 minutes

Versatility was Frano’s strength in Year 1 of the CPL. At right fullback or in several midfield roles, he was always plugging the right hole as a technically gifted and smart defensive player – with a decent delivery off free kicks as well. An underrated talent on the CPL Champions.

Giuliano Frano (L) and Joel Waterman (R) battle at Tim Hortons Field. (Photo: Ryan McCullough).
Giuliano Frano (L) and Joel Waterman (R) battle at Tim Hortons Field. (Photo: Ryan McCullough).

46. Kwame Awuah (Forge FC) – 0 goals, 5 assists, 27 games played, 1975 minutes

Awuah’s 2019 might be best remembered for the way he and Chris Nanco dominated the left flank in Leg 1 of Finals 2019 at Tim Hortons Field, completely overwhelming Dominick Zator and Nico Pasquotti. Awuah was able to slot in at left fullback or in midfield for Forge, making him a very useful, versatile player with a ton of attacking upside.

47. Kyle Porter (York9 FC) – 2 goals, 4 assists, 25 games played, 1917 minutes

York9 FC’s inaugural signing provided much-needed service in Year 1. An experienced winger, Porter led his side in assists (four) while having the fifth-most touches in the opposing box (54) across the season.

48. Jordan Brown (Cavalry FC) – 4 goals, 1 assist, 25 games played, 1397 minutes

Cavalry’s bombarding attacker makes the top 50 as a physical presence that imposed himself 31 times across all competitions. As a winger or out-and-out striker, the Englishman was a handful against many sides – including the Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place.

49. Triston Henry (Forge FC) – 9 clean sheets, 55 saves, 22 games played, 1980 minutes

Henry, from Scarborough, Ont., finished tied with Cavalry’s Marco Carducci for most clean sheets in the league, and he impressively posted shutouts in both legs of Finals 2019, backstopping Forge to the CPL Championship.

50. Zach Verhoven (Pacific FC) – 2 goals, 2 assists, 22 games played, 1284 minutes

A second round pick from the 2018 CPL-U SPORTS Draft, Verhoven (from Burnaby, B.C.) offered Pacific a sturdy presence in midfield in both the CPL and Canadian Championship during his first season as a professional.